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10 Life Truths That Will Set You Free

10 Life Truths That Will Set You Free

Do we really learn about life truths as we grow up? Do we ever grow up? There are lots of things that get in the way. We are conditioned by family, education, religion and social media. They are all telling us what we should do, how we should look and what we should even think!

Here are ten life truths which will help you to keep focused and set you free.

1. You know that perfection is impossible.

Parents, governments, schools and companies set high standards. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Having high ideals to aim for is great; just do not expect perfection, as perfection is just an illusion. Recognize your limits and try to work on correcting defects.

2. You know that you will make mistakes.

Yes, you are going to screw up, make blunders and gaffes. The worst thing you can do is to try to cover them up, blame others or just plow on as if nothing had happened. These are all bad moves.

Instead, say sorry if someone is hurt or damaged in some way. Make a promise to do better the next time. Learning lessons from failure is an essential life skill.

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3. You have to do something.

Lots of people glory in their wonderful human qualities. They pat themselves on the back for being kind, compassionate and honest. But unless they actually do something to demonstrate that they have all these qualities, they come across as losers and fakes. Look at the famous Glengarry Glenn Ross video where Alec Baldwin tells the losing salesmen that they might be great family men, but they suck as salesmen. They have to get up and close the deals; otherwise they will be sacked.

(NSFW: some adult language is present in the following video).

4. You can do much more than you think.

“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.”

—Steve Maraboli

How often do you feel overwhelmed at the sheer height of the mountain that you have to climb? That new project your boss has given you may seem like an impossible task. But just stand back for a moment and repeat to yourself how much experience and skills you have and also reflect on your past successes.

5. You have to be less severe with yourself.

We set some impossible goals for ourselves. We want to be the best, the most intelligent, the most competent and the most successful. This is why we are so self-critical. Being kind and compassionate with others is fine, but sometimes you forget yourself.  A much better approach is to set more realistic goals which match your skills set. If time management is your problem, try to get that right before taking on that enormous challenge.

6. You are aware of your prejudices and bias.

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”

—Marcus Aurelius

One of the most difficult life truths to accept is the fact that you see everything through spectacles which are tinted with bias and prejudices. This colors everything you think, feel and are passionate about. This is your truth. Bias is the default position. You project that on to people you meet. So, you have preconceived ideas about people with weight problems, different race, sexual orientation. If you are not sure about this, why not take the Implicity Association Test (IAT)  (Social Attitudes) organized by the University of Harvard.

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7. You are not prepared to compromise on your values.

You know that certain values are vital to your existence and your social relationships. Your work ethic is sacred and your desire for honesty and transparency in all your dealings is admired and respected. You are the one who shows by example and nobody will ever say that you should practice what you preach. This is a treasure that you must always safeguard because it is the key to self-fulfillment.

8. You know how to deal with fear and stress.

“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.”

—Steve Maraboli

A lot of the stress you feel is related to negative thinking getting out of control and irrational fears about what might happen. Try these tips for taking care of yourself when things get tough. The stress will not disappear, but it will become more manageable.

9. You are in control.

If you are in control of your life, you will be less vulnerable. But it is not always so easy. Do you know that feeling when things start to get out of control and you have the horrible feeling that you are a puppet on a string?

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Here are some ways that you can regain control:

  • Think less about the past failures.
  • Stop asking the question, ‘What if…..?’
  • Try to be less dependent on others for simple decisions.
  • Stop putting things off.
  • Make a daily list of things to do which will make you feel better.
  • Always include one task that you have been putting off for some time.

10. You know how to handle truth.

The desire for truth permeates every level of our lives, from the law courts, government, religion and our own personal relationships. If there is any suspicion of a lack of honesty, we are furious. It leads to mistrust and can be corrosive and toxic. Innocuous questions about your partner’s cooking or their latest outfit may require more kindness than honesty.

But are you prepared to tell and demand the truth when it comes to your own and your partner’s failings and weaknesses? Sometimes, these questions and answers can hurt or be hurtful. If you can deal with that, then you can really be set free.

“Three things cannot be long hidden, the sun, the moon, and the truth.”

—Buddha

Featured photo credit: beautiful young woman opened her hands with delight at the blue sea and sky via shutterstock.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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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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