Advertising
Advertising

10 Harsh Truths That Will Help You Grow

10 Harsh Truths That Will Help You Grow

In the game of life, if it often seems like you’re on the losing end of things, you’re not alone. Life can be one giant conundrum filled with ups and downs. When you feel like you’re experiencing more downs than ups, sometimes it helps to get a little tough love once in a while. That’s why we put together this list of 10 harsh truths that will help you grow.

1. Life isn’t fair.

Life will hand you lemons, often when you least expect it. The sooner you embrace this harsh truth, the better prepared you’ll be to handle tough situations that are sure to arise.

Advertising

2. The first step is always the hardest.

Let’s face it: changing bad habits is tough. Research proves it. Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So if you want to change something, start with baby steps. Take a small action–any action–and grow from there.

3. Good things usually don’t come quickly.

Great accomplishments in our lives normally don’t come easy. And if you think about it, would you have it any other way? There’s a basic psychological principle called instant gratification, which means that we expect to get rewards instantly. But sometimes you need to fight the impulses your brain throws at you and trust that the journey you’re on is the right one.

Advertising

4. Not everyone will support you along the way.

In life, there’s no shortage of doubters, haters, and pessimists. Overcoming this harsh truth is simple: don’t listen. Choose to stick with your guns, trust your instincts, and forget about people who don’t support your goals and passions.

5. You can’t always be in control of everything.

Listen, letting go is hard, especially if you’re a go-getter. But if you want to continue to grow, there are times when you need to relinquish your control on everything and let things unfold how they’re meant to be. This doesn’t mean your mentality for everything should be “wait and hope.” You can still strive for greatness, but put the work in and then let go with complete faith that the universe will make things right for you. You’ll be amazed at how well it works.

Advertising

6. You can’t accomplish great things without taking great risks.

Here’s another harsh truth many people have trouble grasping: if you don’t take risks you will have a lot harder time accomplishing what you want in life. People who truly change the world are the biggest risk takers. They’re the ones who are willing to put everything on the line and fail for something they believe in. And they treat each failure as an opportunity to grow and get better.

7. You may be better off without some of the people you currently care about.

This one is tough to hear, I know. But chances are, there’s someone in your life you care about deeply who is holding you back. That’s not to say you should give up on the people you love. However, there comes a time when you need to make the tough decision to say no to people who aren’t helping you grow.

Advertising

8. Death is a part of life.

Nothing can prepare us for the earth-shattering pain of losing a loved one. The harsh truth of life is that it’s a viscous cycle. However, there’s something you can do to make losing someone you love a lot less painful: make them a part of your life right now. Don’t put off making that phone call or paying a random visit to a friend or family member you haven’t seen in a while. Treat every moment with your loved ones as if it’s your last, and you won’t have any regrets.

9. You are the only thing holding yourself back from greatness.

Often we get so caught up hoping for the next great thing that we don’t realize what’s unfolding right in front of our faces. Don’t hold yourself back with negative thoughts. Instead, focus on the positive things you have going in your life. Choose to be happy right now.

10. Sometimes bad things happen to good people.

Suffering is part of life. But here’s the cool thing: it makes us stronger. There’s a randomness to how the world works that’s really hard to understand. We see evidence of this every day, and it can really make you question the future of mankind. How you choose to view the world is up to you. Just remember, the truth, however harsh, will set you free.

More by this author

Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

17 Things People With Emotional Strength Don’t Do 10 Ways to Improve Your Mood When You Are Feeling Down 10 Simple Ways To Live a Longer and Happier Life 9 Simple Ways to Stop Overeating 8 Simple and Effective Ways to Start Reaching Goals Today

Trending in Communication

1 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 2 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake 3 7 Science-Backed Books About Spirituality That Will Change Your Life 4 20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About 5 How to Find Inner Peace and Lasting Happiness

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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

Read Next