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10 Ways to Let Go of Past Relationships

10 Ways to Let Go of Past Relationships

“I beg of you, don’t say goodbye; Can’t we give our love another try; Come on baby, let’s start anew; ‘Cause breaking up is hard to do” – Neil Sedaka

They say that breaking up is hard to do, but it gets easier when you know how. The trick is to let go of the past. This is easier said than done, but it is achievable. Follow the ten steps below to let go of past relationships, and move on to the next chapter of your life.

1. Practice

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    Everything takes practice, and controlling your thoughts and emotions is no different. Stop taking a back seat in your life while expecting things to be handed to you. Instead, roll up your sleeves and put in the effort. Over time, you’ll develop the ability to pull your thoughts consistently away from dwelling on what could’ve been, and maintain focus on what is.

    2. Forgive Thyself

    Nobody’s perfect. If you think you did no wrong in your last relationship, you’re insane. The relationship ended for a reason. Something didn’t click, and it wasn’t what you both were looking for. No matter how amicable the split is, there are natural feelings of loss, abandonment, and failure. Forgive yourself and move on.

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    3. Find Comfort in the Good Times

    No relationship is completely devoid of good times, so focus on the great times you had. Don’t linger on what you could’ve done to make them better, or think of how to get them back. Those times are gone, and even if you get back with that person, things will never be exactly as they were. You don’t get mulligans in real life. Allow those good times to provide you with a smile. They happened to you, and they were happy. Don’t let negative thoughts of your ex keep you from reminiscing about your own happiness.

    4. Learn from Your Mistakes

    If your mind does wander into blame game territory, don’t beat yourself up for beating yourself up. This eye-for-an-eye situation involves only you, so you lose. You can’t always make it right with the same person, but you can atone for your mistakes by avoiding them in the future. No time is wasted if you learn something from the experience.

    5 . Focus on You

    Don’t worry about what your ex thinks, how they feel, what they’re doing, or who they’re talking to. There’s no point having lengthy, imaginary conversations, because it’s not the other person in your head–it’s you. You’re repeating their words or imagining responses. Stop worrying about what they’re doing. It’s out of your control. Focus on what you’re doing, before you hit a tree.

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    6. Eyes to the Front

    It sounds obvious, but the best way to let go of the past is to look to the future. That past relationship isn’t so bad when you have experiences and goals to look forward to. It’s ok to reminisce here and there, but don’t let thoughts of the past envelope you and impede on your present.

    7. Don’t Try to Forget

    Trying to forget someone is a bad idea. Simply by focusing on trying to forget, you’re going to drive yourself to do things you shouldn’t. The time you spent with someone is a part of your life. Why would you want to voluntarily give up on a part of yourself? Don’t block out memories on purpose; you lose enough of them naturally to force the situation.

    8. Embrace Life’s Impermanence

    Everything in life is temporary, even life itself. Even if immortality were possible, life wouldn’t stay like it is forever. We’d have to expand, connect, disconnect, and move. Part of growing up is accepting that nothing in life is permanent. No matter how hard you work, some things just aren’t in your control. Do what you can with what you have, or you’ll soon find yourself with nothing.

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    9. Tear Down the Berlin Wall

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      When Chuck Norris pees on a wall, it ends communism…

      There’s a void where that past relationship once was. You need to fill that void with human contact. Whether you connect with new people or reconnect with friends and family, ease your defenses and let people in. If you’re guarded, you’ll just drag out the inevitable, making yourself miserable in the process.

      10. Give Good…

      A great way to feel better is to give to others. Katie McCarthy has a great podcast called Give Good, in which she profiles people who make positive contributions to society. It’s entertaining to learn of all the ways you can contribute. You don’t have to change the world–just make people around you happier. They’ll return the favor by cheering you up when you’re down.

      Breaking up is difficult, but we all lose important relationships. Letting go of past relationship is difficult, but necessary to move forward with your life. If you don’t, you’ll end up missing out on a lot of time and regretting it later, creating a viscous cycle. With focus, discipline, and practice, you can drop that past relationship from your mind and move on toward a newer, happier you.

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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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