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The 4 Stages Of Letting Go Of A Past Relationship, And How To Do It In 3 Months

The 4 Stages Of Letting Go Of A Past Relationship, And How To Do It In 3 Months

Why letting go is such a hard thing to learn?

We love hard so we fall hard. We dedicate all our love to someone who was thought to be the one. But it turns out everything just doesn’t happen as we wish.

Since the day you bid farewell to each other, you have been thinking about everything about him/her: the place where you first met, the movie which you watched a thousand times together, the love song he/she used to sing to you, or the way how he/she said he/she loved you.

But everything is gone.

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We can’t let it go. We are insecure. We are afraid. We are losing hope.

We doubt if we are not good enough to make him/her stay. We are afraid of losing the most important person in our life. We fear that we might not ever be able to fall in love and be loved again.

But still, we have to LET IT GO.

Don’t let one single relationship ruin the rest.

Your world is not limited to only one person. You have your friends, family, and perhaps someone who is going to be madly in love with you. They deserve your love. If you still hold on to someone who would never come back to you, your heart would be always occupied with sadness and you can hardly let anyone else touch your heart.

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And the thing about being single is, you should cherish it.

You can only enjoy the time of being alone when you let it go and are not tied up in a relationship with anyone. You have only got one moment to stand on your own. It is the time for you to grow and be independent: to unzip your own dress, to do all the housework on your own, to know more about yourself, and to pursue your dreams.

Letting do is hard. But it doesn’t mean you can’t. Let’s see how we can get through the hard times day by day, bit by bit:

The first 30 days: it is like the end of the world

It is the craziest part. Every morning, what you do the most often is scrolling your Facebook news feed to see how his/her new life is. But every time you see his/her face, your heart aches. And you want to ask him/her why, but there won’t be any reply…

You may think you’re just like a drug addict and he/she is the drug your can never quit. This sense of addiction is supported by researchers at the Yale School of Medicine.[1]

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They found the attempt of letting go, including past relationships, would trigger the brain circuit to generate cravings. That means the feeling of quitting a relationship is highly similar to the feelings of quitting smoking and drugs.

What you can do to stop yourself from indulging in the obsession:

  • Stay away from social media
  • Avoid any contact with your ex
  • Stop wandering in the places you two visited before
  • Spend more time with your family and friends to distract your mind

30-60 days: keep yourself in the spinning wheel

After a month, you tell yourself yourself you can’t be like that anymore. You go into another extreme to force yourself to be strong. You keep convincing yourself life is still fine without him/her. That’s why your schedule is fully packed every day. Work, meeting your friends, helping your family to fix their every issue… When your loved ones ask how you feel, you put on a big smile and tell them your life goes better.

But the truth is you’re telling lies to yourself. You’re afraid if you have time, you can’t help missing him/her. Armouring yourself only makes letting go harder for you. Don’t bury yourself in busy schedule. Just accept you still need some time to mend your broken heart.

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What you can do to be true to your feelings:

  • Write down your feelings in your journal or smartphone
  • Leave some space in your schedule for alone time
  • Do some art to help connect you to your true feelings
  • Allow yourself to cry when you feel sad

60-90 days: have the energy in store to fly again

Another month has gone, you are tired of pretending to be strong. Whenever you think of him/her, you still can’t help bursting into tears. You realize how fragile you are and how much you want him/her back. It is not going to happen. But it is exactly the same time when you begin to learn that you can grow stronger only by accepting what has happened. That’s the stage for you to recharge yourself and move on.

What you can do to gain more positive energy:

  • Read positive self-help books
  • Do more outdoor activities to get healthy from the inside out
  • Appreciate the beauty of every small thing around you
  • Rebuild your regular daily routine

90+ days: some pages turned and there were lessons learned

Three months has passed. Everything is getting better. Although sometimes the old good days still sneak into your mind, you begin to accept what is good about this. You become more thankful for everything he did to you. You become more grateful for everything around you now. A lesson is learned and whatever is going to happen will be exceptionally awesome. All you need to do now is to do things differently.

What you can do to start something new:

  • Learn something new (language or any skills such as cooking and painting)
  • Expand your social circle and make some new friends
  • Challenge yourself to quit a bad habit (waking up late, drinking, or being lazy to do workout)
  • Travel to a place you haven’t visited before

For every relationship, there are some lessons we can learn from it. Those tiny little things will guide us to become better and better. But don’t rush. Take one step at a time. And you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Reference

[1] Crusher: The Brain Science of Clutter: Why We Can’t Let Go

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Sheba Leung

Translator. Sport lover. Traveler.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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