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10 Things You Need To Commit Yourself To If You Have Low Self-Esteem

10 Things You Need To Commit Yourself To If You Have Low Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is perhaps one of the most misunderstood elements that people fail to recognize. It often gets mistaken for self-confidence, and yet is one of the most important things to focus on to live a fulfilled life. Self-esteem is different, because it involves your core values and the inner workings of your mind that essentially define who you are. Self-confidence, on the other hand, is the belief you have in yourself that typically involves things you aren’t familiar with.

Improving your self-esteem is hard, as it’s never constant. However, there are a number of fundamental principles you can follow that will give you a good foundation to help improve it.

1. Don’t compromise on your happiness just to please others.

You have to be willing to stay true to yourself at all times. This includes not being afraid to speak your mind without fear of losing someone’s approval.

You begin to realize that there is really no reason for you to change yourself, since you are who you are. As long as you’re a nice person at heart and socially congruent, then there’s really no reason for someone to want you to change.

2. Become responsible for everything that happens in your life.

Looking at this in perspective, if there is anything in your life that you personally aren’t happy with, would you say it’s due to the things external to you or because of the decisions you made?

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This is the first step to becoming conscious as you start looking at things in a more objective manner. Do you place blame on others or do you take responsibility?

Taking responsibility means one thing — you’re in complete control of the results you create in your outside world.

3. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.

Making mistakes is what we all have to go through if we’re to become better. Andrea Walz bases her book Go for No on this key principle. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.

Be willing to embrace failure and to fail as fast as you can and as often as you can. The key difference between a success and a failure is due to this key point: a successful person isn’t afraid to try and fail.

4. Learn to say “no” more often.

Don’t be a “yes” person all the time. There may be times where you feel pressured by friends to do certain things that you don’t want to do. This is usually the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your discipline and personal boundaries, which is essential for building your self-esteem. Say “no” and be willing to stand your ground.

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Your friends or family may not like it, but they certainly will respect you for it.

5. Don’t worry about the choices you’ve made.

Whatever choices you’ve made in your life is all due to your personal values and boundaries. This is further solidified if you better understand what your values and boundaries actually are.

The more about yourself you learn to understand, the less worry and anxiety you’ll experience in the long term. Learn to accept and trust in the choices you make and to push forward regardless of the outcome.

6. Learn to accept the way things are.

Be willing to accept your successes and failures before moving on to change and improve them. As long as you live consciously as stated in point #2, you will always have the ability and the opportunity to change course.

It’s also a very effective way to develop a humble character.

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7. Write down things you’re grateful for.

It is quite common to overlook the nice things around us and to take things for granted. In most cases, we are more fortunate than we believe we are. Are you able to walk, talk and move normally? Are you a hard worker? Do you have friends who like and respect you? Are you a good person?

However bad your current situation may be, there will always be someone who is worse off than you who may well look at you and see you as the type of person they’re striving to be in the future.

8. Accept your flaws and understand that you’re not perfect.

The reality is, nobody is perfect. Sure, you could work very hard toward perfection, but realize that no matter how hard you work, you will always fall short. It’s simply the nature of the beast. As humans, we’re designed to be imperfect, to make mistakes, to fail countless times and to strive.

There is no real growth without self-acceptance.

9. Be willing to embrace rejection.

Rejection comes with the territory and happens on a daily basis. The key thing to understand is that rejection only becomes significant the minute we place value on it. Was it a big deal to you if the burger you wanted at McDonald’s was unavailable?

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Learn to detach yourself from the outcome and to see rejection for what it is.

10. Learn to tackle the good times and the bad.

Regardless of what happens to you in your life, you will face good times and bad. This is a given and the reality of life. But the key to good self-esteem is in recognizing the situation for what it is and to simply learn to deal with it in the best way you can.

Because just like the good times, the bad times will also pass.

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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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