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10 Relationship Myths Worth Sharing

10 Relationship Myths Worth Sharing

Being in a relationship seems amazing from the outside. Holding hands, going on dates, sharing food, being in love and having that one special person with whom to share your life. Relationships can be amazing and fulfilling, but they are not always so picture-perfect. Those images and stories you see on your television do not show you the whole picture. You might want to hear about some relationship myths before diving too deep or setting your expectations on a fantasy relationship.

1. “The romance will never fade if we are truly in love.”

Falling in love is new and exciting. Chemicals associated with pleasure (like dopamine) are running rampant in our brains. As time goes on however, these chemicals fade. We become more comfortable with our partner and the newness wears off. Does this mean you should call it quits? Not necessarily. There comes a time in every long-term relationship when it can no longer run on the new “in love” head-over-heels feelings. To rekindle the romance, studies suggest trying something new together.

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2. “If he really loves me, he would know why I am upset.”

I read this line to my boyfriend of five years and he let out a hearty chuckle. Just because two people are close does not turn either party into a mind reader. This is why communication is so important.

3. “All you need is love.”

As I discussed in the first point, after a while, the “in love” feelings fade. A relationship needs more substance, such as common interests and life goals to survive.

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4. “I know exactly what I want in a woman. Here is the list of qualities she should have and I am making no exceptions.”

Hello there, dreamer! No one is perfect and we cannot custom order our partner from God above. The funny thing is that what we are usually attracted to in a person is the differences. I like the outgoing guy who can make me laugh since I tend to be more of a listener, but some things about that personality type bother me. The very thing that I fell in love with can actually drive me quite bonkers. That tends to happen. We all have our good and bad qualities, so try to be a little more open-minded and forgiving.

5. “If he loves me, he would want to spend all of his time with me.”

Yes, at first you might be love-struck and not able to stand one minute apart. But after that initial love spell fades, you need to remember to take time for yourselves. While you are a couple, you are also individuals with your own friends, families and interests.

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6. “I am only jealous because I love her.”

Yes and no. Sure, if you did not care about the person, you would not be jealous. But beware; jealousies can be brought about from other issues such as relationship problems, not trusting your partner or even a self-confidence issue. Take a step back and evaluate why you are really jealous before doing anything rash, but also realize that if you are always jealous you might need to make some changes.

7. “What she does not know does not hurt her.”

Now, I am not talking about little white lies that make people feel better. The response to, “do I look fat?” is always and forever, “no.” Keeping true secrets on the other hand is never a good idea. A good rule of thumb to go by: it will come out eventually, so better now than later.

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8. “We must be doomed since we fight all the time.”

This really depends on what you call a “fight.” Disagreements or small arguments are simply part of a relationship. Remember how I said that opposites usually attract? This very fact means that each individual thinks differently. Communicating these feelings in a calm manner is completely healthy. Disagreements are okay. When fighting gets out of hand and you are feeling upset all the time, you might want to seek counseling or another way to resolve problems. Of course, if the fighting is physical, get out immediately.

9. “If we are really in love, it should be no work at all.”

Can I just call BS on that? Everything in life worth having takes work. For example, each person likely has hobbies that do not interest the other in the least, but try to care a little bit and encourage your partner. Go to his soft ball game; cheer her on in the crowd as she runs her half marathon. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it.

10. “He just needs to change (fill in the blank) and then I will be happy.”

People do make changes and compromises in a relationship and this is normal and healthy. Forcing someone to change, though, is never a good thing. It does not typically work. A person has to want to change himself before he will put any real work into self-improvement. Also you should never depend on any one person for your happiness. A romantic relationship should bring you a certain amount of joy, but true happiness comes from within.

After reading through these common relationship myths, hopefully you realize those lovey-dovey relationships from the movies are fairy tales. It can be truly amazing to be with the one you love, but it also takes a good dose of work and a pinch of understanding for it to endure the test of time.

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Amanda DeWitt

Writer. Photographer. Instagrammer. Future Educator.

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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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