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10 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do in Relationships

10 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do in Relationships

Most of us remember a crazy relationship we were in, or a time we acted crazy toward someone we love. Looking back, it’s often difficult to remember what our mindset was in that moment. We ask ourselves, “Did I really act like that?” I wish I knew more then than I know now about how to be a better partner, son, and friend.

The sad reality is that we just aren’t taught how to be mentally strong when faced with adversity. The good news is that it’s never too late to start. Here are 10 things mentally strong people DON’T do when it comes to relationships.

1. They don’t analyze everything

Mentally strong people don’t analyze the meaning behind everything someone else does. As an introvert, I pride myself on my ability to find the deeper meaning in life. But I caution you not to get to caught up in analyzing everything! Sometimes a head scratch is just a head scratch. (It doesn’t mean they are bored with you and would rather be with someone else.)

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2. They don’t believe the other person will “complete” them

Mentally strong people complete themselves before they look for someone else to enhance their lives. You have to enjoy your own company first and nobody else can replace that part of you. Many people live their lives as if they were a character in a romantic comedy, and believe that they must eat, sleep, and breath their partner. Mentally strong people remind themselves they are complete just the way they are.

3. They don’t bring up the past to justify the present

Mentally strong people don’t bring up the past to win an argument or use it as relationship collateral. They try to work toward improving the relationship in that moment, instead of bringing up past events to justify their actions. Mentally strong people seek to live in the moment by understanding that the past has its place but will never solve today’s problems.

4. They don’t look outside the relationship to improve the relationship

Mentally strong people devote their full attention to themselves and their partner, when it comes to fixing problems in the relationship.  They don’t seek another person to fulfill their needs. They don’t become distant and justify their behavior by looking outside of the relationship to feel better about themselves. They don’t engage in destructive behavior to avoid the inevitable.

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5. They don’t put the other person down to feel better about themselves

Mentally strong people understand that you don’t treat other people this way. It’s a lot easier to blame someone else for the way you act or feel, instead of looking at why you react the way you do. Mentally strong people know that the only way to have a successful relationship is to lift the other person up, not put them down in order to temporarily feel better about themselves.

6. They don’t stop communicating

Mentally strong people communicate with others in the good times and in the bad. They don’t avoid conversations that need to be had. They seek to better understand their partner, instead of avoiding topics that are uncomfortable or awkward. The mentally strong don’t avoid things because they are uncomfortable, but rather look at these situations as welcome opportunities to improve the relationship.

7. They don’t stop loving themselves

Mentally strong people love themselves first, so they can love other people, not the other way around. Mentally strong people spend time improving their lives first, before they try and help anyone else. They know that by radiating love, it will only help the relationship succeed. Mentally strong people put themselves first.

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8. They don’t believe they can fix the other person

Mentally strong people help their partners in any way they can, but they understand that they cannot change the other person. Only an individual can change themself. Mentally strong people don’t live in the future and convince themselves that if only they put enough effort or time into someone, then that person will change. Moreover, mentally strong people seek to understand the other person’s perspective, before they try and offer them advice.

9. They don’t try to make relationships progress faster

Mentally strong people accept that the relationship will develop in the right way. Of course, there are ways to improve the relationship and develop a deeper understanding of one another. However, mentally strong people know deep down that they can’t force something that will take time to develop. They give up control and surrender to the natural progression of the relationship.

10. They don’t stay in unhealthy relationships

Mentally strong people know when a relationship of any kind is no longer working. Not only do they look out for themselves, but they look out for the other person by communicating clearly. They understand that they’ve put in as much time and effort as they could, but would rather spend that time on someone who is right for them. The mentally strong know that everything will work out just fine.

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It’s a lot easier to find fault in someone else, especially when we become vulnerable and trust someone we love. I encourage you to be mentally strong first, then ro seek someone who complements who you already are. Only through self discovery can we better understand the types of people who will enhance our lives.

To successfully improve any relationship, you no longer seek to change the other person, but you will instead seek to continually enhance a long and prosperous life together.

Featured photo credit: Up-Free via pixabay.com

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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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