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Last Updated on December 14, 2020

17 Ways to Learn to Love Yourself and Be Happy

17 Ways to Learn to Love Yourself and Be Happy

Self love and happiness aren’t found, they are created. It isn’t a switch that is flicked one day and you are in love with yourself and your life; it is discovered, learned and practiced daily.

Loving yourself is the most productive thing you can do for you life because all that doubt, self hate and underestimating is holding you back from reaching your full potential and of course, true happiness.

You can’t truly be happy if you don’t love yourself because no matter how happy everything else in your life is, you will always feel unworthy, like you don’t deserve happiness. To love yourself isn’t arrogant or grandiose, from a young age we have been taught that to love yourself is to be selfish, wrong, arrogant, patronizing, unattractive and unproductive.

Self hate has been a motivator for self improvement for so long and we have been shaming ourselves for showing ourselves even a little bit of love. We shame our peers for being confident and happy by calling them arrogant, conceited, delusional and wrong because they have what we want.

To love yourself is to experience happiness and security on a whole new level. We search for love outwardly because that is how as children, we found love and security. It was rewarded to us when we did good things. But we didn’t grow out of this, we continue to look for love in other people but the truth of it is, the love you are looking for can only come from within. That is why someone else’s love is never enough for you to be truly happy and you can never feel safe if you are not comfortable with your own capabilities.

But how to be more confident and love yourself?

Well, learning to love yourself is a journey, these are short fire lessons you have to learn, activities you should to improve your self love and increase genuine happiness in your life.

Here’re 17 ways to learn to love yourself and be happy:

1. Cast out of the Idea That You Have to Be Perfect

Perfect body, life, IQ… All of it. Perfection doesn’t exist and when you think it does on social media, it is often masking crippling mental health issues.

You are never going to be perfect. But the good news is, you already are perfect, in your imperfection.

2. Understand That Societies’ Expectations of You Are an Unrealistic Standard That Can Never Be Met

It is our human nature to always be hungry for more, even if you hit that unrealistic standard, you will always be unhappy because you want more.

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Don’t compare yourself or your life to that unrealistic standard, it only leads to self hate and depression: The More We Compare, the More We Lose Ourselves

3. Live in the Moment, Just for a Moment Every Day

Take a moment to stop the endless pursuit and just look into yourself. See where you have come from and appreciate the beauty of the moment that YOU ARE ALIVE — Living, breathing, functioning human being and how much of a luxury that is.

4. Daily Gratitude

That is the key to happiness.

Start a gratitude journal, an Instagram channel, a blog or just spend 3 minutes each day, thinking of all the things you are grateful for — Your body, your life, your friends, your country, M&Ms, how great that old pan has lasted you, how that person on the bus let you off first…

When we get comfortable, we get ungrateful. Change that, show gratitude everyday.

5. Embrace the Fact That You Can’t Control Everything

The only thing you can control are things within your control and your reactions. Understand that you can’t control other people, their choices, their behavior just like you can’t control the weather.

Life isn’t about trying to control everything, it is about how you react to it. Instead of trying to control everything and everyone, do the best you can do and then put your hands up and say ” it is in the hands of the God’s now” and leave it to work itself out. Everything works itself out eventually.

6. Self-Care

Society has taught us that self care is selfish and god forbid, our greatest fear is being called selfish. In response, we work ourselves to death so everyone knows how Good we are.

But there is a cost to be “Good” in the eyes of society and that cost is your happiness. Get over trying to be “Good” and take care of yourself. Self care = Happiness.

Start to take up these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.

7. Check in with Yourself Emotionally

Find a chair, grab a coffee and ask what is going on with you today. How are you feeling? Feel that feeling.

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Learning to actually feel your feelings instead of brushing them under the rug is the best way forward.

8. Face Your Negative Thoughts

Ask them: Are they true? Are they helpful? Are they kind? Before you say anything negative, ask yourself, does this thought benefit me in any way? Does this thought make me better in some way? Or is it just rude, belittling and cruel.

We are often most abusive towards ourselves mentally, which means one of the most important keys to happiness is to stop with the internal torture. The endless insults, belittling, the “you’re so this and you’re such a that”. Only use supportive and positive language in your head.

Try these 7 Powerful Ways to Stop Negative Thinking.

9. Tighten Your Circle

Your social circle affects your whole life. Learn about The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You.

You are an accumulation of the 5 people you hang out with, so have a look at who that is. Who are they? Are they positive? Loving? Supportive? Or are they negative, rude and abusive?

You don’t owe anyone anything so if someone is dragging you down like a really negative friend, an insulting boyfriend or a rather opinionated overbearing Aunt. You don’t owe them your time. Ditch, Avoid, Move On. It is your life.

10. Eat Healthier

What you put in your body affects your mental health. Not just biologically but if you eat something you consider bad,  you sit and shame yourself.

Don’t shame yourself, life is too short to shame yourself for eating food. Take off the restriction on eating, stop dieting and eat like a human. Eat foods you like and eat natural foods. Your body will thank you.

11. Get to Moving!

Don’t just sign up to a gym and never go. Try out a new form of physical activity, find one you enjoy, that makes you laugh and you have fun. Then do that!

Dancerize, Zumba, spin, mermaid swimming… There is almost unlimited types of sports out there. Go try them and watch your happiness bloom!

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12. Remember Who You Are

You have been through a lot and you have come through it, getting stronger and stronger every time.

I ask you to remember who you are. Adversity is your friend, it challenges you to make life interesting so you can get to the place you really want to go!

13. Give Yourself Permission to Love Your Body

Your body is a beautiful and wonderful tool for adventure. Your body isn’t designed to just be an aesthetic to please other people and society. It isn’t a fancy Vase. It is a tool so that you can do all the things you want to do in this life.

Climb, eat, travel, work, knit… Treat your body as if it was your child. With nothing but love and the understanding that it is perfect as it is.

14. Stop Finding Happiness in a Body Type

We are taught that we will be happy if we conform to the Ideal Body. You know that type, it changes every decade, an impossible beauty standard that is often airbrushed over.

No matter how much weight you lose, plastic surgery you get and many products you buy. Happiness cannot be found in a body because there isn’t where happiness live.

Happiness comes from self acceptance. From realizing that the reason you want a body is to feel safe, accepted and successful, so that you feel like you can do all the things you want to do.

Well, you can do anything you want no matter what your body looks like, so stop wasting time trying to conform to a diet type and actually Go Get Happiness. It is found within.

15. Try Minimalism

True happiness and love isn’t found in stuff, it is found in appreciating what you have and experiences. At the end of your life, you want someone to say how great your life was, how you did everything you ever wanted!

Not that you had a huge collection of stuff and you were a hoarder. Shopping for happiness is like having a McDonalds, appreciating what you have is a homemade wholesome meal.

Here’s an inspiring read recommended for you: If Money Can’t Buy Happiness, What Can?

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16. Learn Continuously

Learn, read, experiment… Find what works for you.

Try. Don’t just read this and go, well I guess that is interesting and walk off. Pick one of these things and practice them.

Happiness isn’t a switch, it is a daily practice.

17. Clear up Your Environment

Clear out all those negative people on social media. All of those relatable memes about underachieving alcoholics.

What you put in your mind becomes your life, therefore it is only logical that you fill your mind with positive information, and you will have a positive life.

Try these tips: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

Final Thoughts

These are the quick fire lessons you need to learn to be happy. As I said, these are for daily practice, it is quite a few so start at the one you find most drawn too and practice that everyday for a month. Once incorporated into habit, your life will improve and happiness has the opportunity to flourish.

Happiness is right in front of you, if only you choose to find it and practice it.

More Tips About Self-Love

Featured photo credit: Giulia Bertelli via unsplash.com

More by this author

Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

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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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