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10 Extremely Useless Things You Need To Let Go of in Your Life

10 Extremely Useless Things You Need To Let Go of in Your Life

Sometimes in life, you feel like you don’t have the ultimate control. You feel like a puppet on a string that wants to break free, but doesn’t know how.  It’s really quite simple.

A serenity prayer sums it up pretty nicely: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

In order to gain control over your life you need to let go of your bad patterns, especially these ten.

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1. Toxic people

In my opinion, this is probably the most important one. Why? Because toxic people can cause all the things bellow: worries, violence, revenge, guilt, judging—and the list go on. There is a good book by Dr Lillian Glass called Toxic People. I suggest that you read it. It gives you countless example on how people can affect you, how to deal with different levels of toxicity and who the toxic people are: a friend who back-stabbed you in order to get your job, a boss that destroys your self esteem, or a mother that always puts you down.  There are 40 types of toxic people that can destroy you. Do yourself a favor: unplug.

2. Worry

Worrying is useless. Being cautious is not. There is a fine line, so make sure you do not cross it. When going on a trip, it is smart to prepare for all eventualities, but worrying will only make you miss out on things. You can’t prevent accidents from happening by worrying. Sometimes you may even cause them. So our advice is: don’t worry; be prudent.

3. Violence

Violence tears you up inside. It is a backlash of being unhappy and it is really difficult to let go of. But you must. There is no recipe on giving up violence, but by letting go of the things that make you unhappy you will also get rid of the need to cause violence. Here I’m just going to quote Dr Martin Luther King Jr: “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

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4. Revenge

Revenge may be good, but not the “an eye for an eye” type. As Frank Sinatra said: “Success is the best revenge.” All the other actions will make you the same as your attacker.  Sure, it’s good to give people a taste of their own medicine, but by doing so, you may become like them. 

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    5. Guilt

    What is guilt? It’s an imposed feeling that comes as a consequence of your wrong actions—or the actions that you think are wrong. Think about it, and you’ll see that there are two things you can do: correct your actions, or acknowledge that you can’t and let go.

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    6. High expectations

    When I say high expectations, I don’t mean that you should drop out of school and work in a bar, I mean high expectations in general. Don’t expect a concert to be great. Just go and have fun. Don’t expect your son to be a great football player just because you were. Let him choose his own path. Have expectations, but don’t blind yourself with them.

    7. Jealousy

    Jealousy eats you up inside. It will not make you a better person, and the person you’re jealous of may not even know you exist. The best way to get rid of it is to use it like a catalyst. Rather than being jealous of people, make them a role model. Distill what it is you’re jealous of and try to achieve it.

    8. Pleasing others

    Here I’m just going to quote the wonderful Paolo Coelho and his book The Alchemist: “If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” Forget about pleasing others, they do not live your life, they do not know you, they won’t bat an eye if you’re unhappy. Forget about being the person they want you to be, but rather, be the best person you can be.

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    9. Judging people

    Pleasing others is tightly connected with both judging people and having false morals. We judge people because they do not fit in our vision of what they should look, speak, behave and think like. If you don’t want to be judged, you have to stop judging.

    10. False morals

    This one is my favorite. False morals are pure hypocrisy. Oscar Wilde said about false morals, “Morality is simply an attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike.”  The purpose of morality is to teach you how to live and enjoy yourself. Complying with false morals is wrong. It will not touch you, it will not heal you—it will make you miserable. When you dig deep behind it, you will only find that they are the consequences of judging people. Unplug.

    Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.

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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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