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10 Signs That You’re Leading A Life That Is True To Yourself

10 Signs That You’re Leading A Life That Is True To Yourself

Growing up, many of our parents told us what they wanted us to become in life. Maybe it was a doctor, a lawyer, or a politician. Whatever the expectations, at some point in life we need to realize that we are in control of our own destiny. So it’s important to get to a place where we can honestly say that we are leading a life that is true to ourselves – and no one else. Here are 10 signs that you are leading that kind of life:

1. You are not afraid to make mistakes.

Mistakes are inevitable. But I don’t even like the word ‘mistake.’ I like the term ‘learning opportunity‘ much better because it implies that no life experience is ever wasted. Every single, solitary thing that happens to us can be viewed as a way to improve ourselves – or at the very least, a chance to figure out what we do want as a result of having what we don’t want.

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2. You follow your intuition.

When you make a decision, you pay attention to the feeling in your stomach. Does it feel good? Great. Then go do it. But if you suddenly feel like you are being suffocated or that you want to vomit, then that is your intuition telling you that it’s wrong. When you lead a life that is true to yourself, you pay attention to those feelings on a regular basis.

3. You don’t care what other people think.

When you are a ‘people pleaser,’ you can never make yourself happy. Now, I’m not suggesting that we stop making other people happy. We should absolutely do that. However, when you are living a life that is true to yourself, you put yourself as a priority. Not in a selfish way, but in a way that honors your self-love. When you do that, what other people think about your life doesn’t matter anymore.

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4. You follow your passion.

People who dread going to work on Mondays are not living a life that is true to themselves. Of course, we all need to make a living, but it is possible to turn your passion into your life’s work. Many people have done it. It may not always be easy, but it can be done. And when you’re true to yourself, you try to find a way to make that happen.

5. You don’t waste time.

People who are living in alignment with their true selves don’t waste time doing things that aren’t productive or enjoyable. If you find yourself indulging too often in things like television or social media, maybe you’re not living a life true to yourself. However, if that is what you truly enjoy doing, then go head and keep doing it.

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6. You always dream big.

You don’t settle. You know that there are big things out there for you and you go after them. You don’t sit on the sidelines of life. You know that you have a purpose on this earth and you continually seek to fulfill it.

7. You know that little things matter.

Sure, making millions of dollars a year sounds awesome. But money, fame, and power are not the only things that matter. In fact, the ‘little things’ like spending more time with your friends and family are what really matters the most – not only today, but at the end of your life.

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8. You know what you want in life.

You have goals. You have a plan. You take steps every day to make those things happen. You don’t just sit around and wait for life to happen to you. Instead, you make life happen.

9. You are not afraid to make decisions.

Decisions can be scary, but without them, you can’t really get anywhere in life. Instead, you become stagnant, and there is no growth or truth in being stagnant. In order to move forward in life, we need to continually make good decisions – sometimes even tough ones. But you don’t shy away from doing that.

10. You don’t remember the last time you got bored.

You love life! You think life is good! You think life is fun! You think there is always something to do – always something to accomplish. You don’t lay around complaining that there is nothing to do because you know that there is always something you can do to keep moving forward in life.

Being true to yourself is vital to happiness. If we deny who we are, then we become suffocated by life, and that’s no way to live. So break the chains that are holding you back and make sure you always keep these 10 things in mind.

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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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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