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Published on December 24, 2020

11 Simple Ways to Value Yourself More

11 Simple Ways to Value Yourself More

Self-worth and self-value play integral roles in how you see and treat yourself in your everyday life. Learn how to utilize both to value yourself through your words and actions.

What Is Self Worth?

The idea of self-worth comes down to feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect. If you value yourself, you inherently feel that you are kind, compassionate, and respectful, and are worthy of those same things in return.

Aligning ourselves to our own self-worth allows us to move into more actionable steps that grow and nurture that worth. This is done through self-value.

What Is Self-Value?

While self-worth is more emotional, self-value is more behavioral. This is where we take the foundation of how we feel about ourselves and put it to work. Self-value is the driving vehicle that allows us to walk the walk and act in ways that align with what we value.

This shows up in the way we talk to people or in steps we take to speak our truth. Both self-worth and self-value feed off of one another, but it’s helpful to point out the subtle differences.

How Do They Differ?

Self-worth is at the core of our being. It’s how we step into our life and our purpose, and how we develop our worthiness as human beings. We can also argue that a healthy sense of self-worth is highly responsible for the decisions we make, relationships we foster, and life paths we choose.

On the other hand, if you don’t value yourself, it can lead to boughs of aggressive self-criticism and deprecating self-image.[1]

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Self-value is the action that keeps us aligned to that self-worth. We can also think of self-value as another feeding element of the bigger umbrella term of self-worth. Valuing ourselves is represented in actionable ways, many of which are highlighted below. When we learn how to value ourselves, not only do we nurture our self-worth, but we also extend that energy out to our communities and the people in them.

How to Value Yourself

1. Acknowledge the Inner Critic

We all have that loud inner voice that isn’t always kind. It interjects when we have ideas and projects at hand, and it often persuades us from taking that leap of faith or believing in ourselves. When left unchecked, the inner critic can have devastating effects on our self-esteem.[2]

This is no place for our self-worth to grow. Wresting with this critic is often a lifelong journey, but a first good step is to acknowledge it. So many people live the length of their life with this voice on autopilot, never realizing how much of a dictator it has become. When you can pause and acknowledge that it is calling the shots, you can learn to take back your power and value.

2. Receive a Compliment

The next time someone compliments you, notice if you’re quick to send that compliment back or wave your hand dismissively so as not to attract attention. We’re so afraid of coming off as needy, that we hardly ever receive the good words someone sends our way. Really, the true culprit here is that we don’t often believe we’re worthy of the compliment!

The beautiful truth here is that we don’t often see ourselves in the same way others see us. So, the next time someone says something nice about you, believe them and receive their words fully.

3. Be Grateful for Effort

It’s not always easy to show up to life. We don’t always stop to examine just how much effort we put forth in everyday living. One way to value yourself more is to be grateful for everything you do.

It’s easy to be critical and wish you’d done better, but you’re always doing the best that you can. Keep that up and celebrate small progress. Your entire being will thank you, tenfold.

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Forgive Yourself Often

When things don’t go as planned, practice forgiveness. When people hurt you, practice forgiveness. Holding on to grudges, whether from others or yourself, is like intentionally plaguing yourself with burdens that you don’t need to carry.

Forgiveness is the free remedy that can alleviate so much of our suffering when we hold onto bitterness.[3] It’s worthy of implementing it into our everyday life.

5. Practice Affirmations in the Mirror

Words carry a potent amount of power, and positive words are like little miracles waiting to sprout! Because the eyes are the mirror to that soul, practicing speaking affirmations in the mirror is even more potent.

When we can catch our own gaze and fill our space with positive words, we send that energy deep into our own psyche. Affirmations may be something like, “I am loved and loving” or “Today, I embrace myself as I am.”

6. Give Attention to Your Dreams

Whether you’d like to write them out in your journal or make a vision board, giving attention to your dreams is a never-ending cycle of self-value and worth. Your dreams are your deepest desires and wishes.

When you shine a light on them, you’re feeding your soul and heart in a way that is spiritually and emotionally fulfilling. You’re also teaching and empowering yourself to believe that you are worthy of those dreams.

7. Let Go of Comparison

You are as unique as a snowflake. There is no one else out there quite like you. We all know that “comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s easy to compare ourselves to others and think that we’re behind or lacking in some way.

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That’s simply not true.

You are exactly where you need to be in the timeframe of your life. Trust and believe that everyone walks their path in due and divine timing. Instead of focusing on what others have over you, focus on your own unique journey and get excited at the opportunities to come.

8. Find Ways to Serve Others

When we come into the practice of selfless service (or seva, in Sanskirt [4]), we simultaneously feed our own self-worth and value. Giving to others is more than just volunteering; it’s offering something of ourselves that is uniquely precious and our own.

Whether you have a certain skill you’d like to share, or even just your time, your community benefits from you sharing your own personal contribution to the world.

9. Accept Yourself as You Are

There is no use in re-living the past; it’s done. There is no use in wondering about the future; it has not come yet. In the present moment, your greatest gift to yourself is accepting yourself as you are right now.

The world is more complete when you show up as authentically as you can. It gives others the courage to do so, as well. No doubt you will change and evolve as your life progresses, but right now, how can you show up as yourself?

10. Don’t Settle for Less

If you’re unhappy, notice that you are and start to ask yourself what would make you happier. You don’t have to tolerate anything or anyone who doesn’t bring you joy and contentedness.

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We often think that we have to sacrifice our own happiness for some bottom line, but that’s untrue. There are always choices in life. It’s up to you to believe that you are worthy of the best ones.

11. When in Doubt, Remember Your Perseverance

Life has a funny way of throwing curveballs. If there is anything that can dampen your self-worth, it’s thinking that you’re not enough or have somehow failed. When this happens, think about your end-goal or dream. Remember that perseverance is the limitless supply of fuel that is always at your disposal to keep reaching further.

Final Thoughts

Self-worth is the umbrella term that represents our core being and who we are at the center of our humanness. The steps we take to actionably align ourselves to that worth is the definition and purpose of self-value.

One might think that such steps are complex and time-consuming. Thankfully, they’re anything but. Learning to value yourself requires a gentle shift in perspective to how you show up in your life. Such small yet potent changes can make all the difference for yourself and the greater good.

More on Learning to Value Yourself

Featured photo credit: Hean Prinsloo via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] PsychAlive: The Importance of Self-Worth
[2] GoodTherapy: Inner Critic
[3] Mayo Clinic: Forgiveness: Letting Go of Grudges and Bitterness
[4] Yogapedia: Seva

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Aleksandra Slijepcevic

Accredited and Certified Vinyasa Yoga Teacher writing for Health & Fitness

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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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