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10 Ways To Let Go Of The Lies You’ve Been Telling Yourself

10 Ways To Let Go Of The Lies You’ve Been Telling Yourself

We all lie to ourselves. Every day. President Obama, Billy Graham, Harrison Ford, Oprah, me, you. Yes, even you.

We all lie to ourselves. Let me show you:

  • Your boss asks you to change the way you do something at work. Your first instinct is to conclude you aren’t good at your job.
  • Your daughter cries because you are not able to take her to her friend’s house and she has to stay home. Something whispers to you that you really are a bad parent.
  • Your sweetheart is withdrawn and distant lately and you are wondering what you did to make them angry with you. You just know it’s your fault.

As famed life coach Tony Robbins claims, “It’s not the situation, it’s the meaning we give it that makes all the difference.” And that meaning, if more negative than positive, can destroy your self-confidence, your courage and your relationships. This is big-time, life-changing stuff I’m talking about here.

Let’s narrow it down into the simplest of pictures. Did you know that every lie we hold within our hearts about ourselves fits underneath the umbrella of these two statements: “I am not enough. And if I am not enough, I will not be loved.”

So how do you reveal and then let go of the lies you’ve been telling yourself? (And – good news – change your life forever with the truth!) Here are 10 ways:

1. Let go by listening to what your body and your head are telling you.

When the lies are talking, you will know because you will feel a tension growing somewhere in the region of your stomach. Your jaw will tighten and you will find yourself becoming defensive in the middle of whatever is happening at the moment.

This is when you must back up and ask the major question, “Why am I reacting like this?”

You will hear statements such as, “I am an idiot,” or “This is just like the last time,” or “I may as well give up!”

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2. Let go by confronting what you hear head on – don’t hide.

When the lies raise their ugly heads, you automatically respond.

Most of us run from them by giving ourselves a treat. It may be your favorite drink, a festival of sugar, a few too many hours of escape into movies or a book. Oprah’s favorite, as we have all heard her talk about, was eating everything and anything and calling it comfort food.

The secret here is to observe yourself. What is happening? Where do I hide so I will feel better when I feel guilty or inadequate?

Confronting means to figure out the secret plan your heart is using to avoid things. So face it – bravely.

3. Let go by honestly asking yourself the tough questions.

They are called tough questions because that’s what they are. Tough. To face them requires courage.

Don’t mess around. Cut right to the root. Ask yourself, “Do I believe I am enough? Do I have what it takes?” Secondly, ask, “Am I afraid I won’t be loved (or applauded/appreciated/valued)?” If you don’t like the answers to these questions, then don’t stop there.

Freedom is wrapped up in the ‘why’ you would come to that conclusion. There will be two or three incidents in your past, maybe as far back as preschool or early elementary school. These left you with the conclusion that you were not enough and so you are most likely unlovable.

Every hurtful obstacle after that reinforced this by driving this idea in deeper and deeper. It’s like a furrow was being dug in your mind.

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However, there’s hope! It lies in the destruction of the root and in shushing the lies. It means digging a new furrow.

4. Let go by becoming your own greatest ally, best friend and confidante.

Deep in your heart you want someone to affirm that you are enough, that you are lovable and are loved. But, even if you find 10 people who tell you these things over and over and mean it, you won’t believe them because you don’t believe for yourself. Ironic, isn’t it? They offer what you need and you reject it.

So, you must make friends with ‘you.’ Become your own partner and cheerleader. You must be the first to be consistently there for yourself through thick and thin. You must be the one to promise to do everything possible to care for and to guard your vulnerable, soft underbelly. After all, who would understand who you are better than you?

5. Let go by enjoying a hot air balloon ride up above the road map of your life.

Seeing only what is in front of you can make the moment seem as if it’s going to last forever. I like the imaginative picture of climbing into a hot air balloon and letting yourself gently lift up high above the spot on the path where you are. It’s so quiet up there.

Look around. You can see forever!

Imagine the bird’s eye view of the path before and the path to come. And all sorts of beautiful areas around it not seen from the ground.

While you are up there, mark a giant X on the places where those incidents happened that left you with your false conclusions. This will remind you from here on in of why you believe what you do about yourself.

Now look to the road ahead. From way up here, you can set the course for the future. Feel excited about that!

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6. Let go by determining to focus on building your strengths not your weaknesses.

Counteract the lies by recognizing all that you are instead of focusing on all that you are not.

I am not a great cook or seamstress, but once I learned to tell myself, “That’s OK. I have strengths in other areas,” I began to grow those other places instead. It no longer mattered that I couldn’t do everything well. You can become great at what you love to do. Simply put, those are your strengths.

7. Let go by standing tall, shoulders back, eyes straight ahead.

As silly as it may seem, how you hold your body matters. Remember the tension that comes when the lies are talking? Zoom in right now on your shoulders. Are they slumped just a little as you are reading this?

Try this: Pull yourself up tall, shoulders back. Lift your chin a bit as if you had the confidence of a warrior or strong leader or a princess. Now say, “I am enough and I will figure this out.”

Something feels different right away. You have just experienced an easy but important first step in resisting the lies you tell yourself.

8. Let go by looking those lies right in the eye and telling them to go sit in the corner and eat a cookie.

You will hear the lies every time you perceive you are being criticized or rejected. I am truly sorry to tell you this but they are part of life and they will never go away completely.

That being said, the upside is that you can learn to tell them who’s boss. I have begun to picture them as little, blue, hairy cartoon characters who are prattling on at the most inconvenient times. I just say to them, “Yes, I hear you but I am too busy to listen right now. Go over there in the corner and eat a cookie. I’ll deal with you later.”

Then I go on with my day being the strong person I am and doing what I know I need to do.

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9. Let go by diminishing the need for significance and shifting your focus to growing and giving.

It’s all about focus. Is it most important to you that you are praised for what you do or that you are serving others around you out of the strength your difficulties have built into you?

Instead of worrying about what your boss is thinking, concentrate on how you can help them build their business to be the best.

Instead of stressing over whether or not you are a bad parent, reassure your child that you love them as high as the moon and you want to see them happy. Help them to understand that sometimes life disappoints us and how they can deal with that.

Instead of wondering if you have blown it again with the one you love, take a good look at your partner and ask yourself how you could bring a smile to their face today. Talk to them and listen to what’s truly going on.

Shift from it being all about you and let it be about serving others around you. The lies can actually build a rich compassion into you when you realize that everyone you meet is going through the same thing inside.

10. Let go by keeping your eyes and your feet moving forward – leave your past behind.

Your past does not define you no matter who left you or what someone did to you. What truly defines you is what you do from this moment on and how much you are willing to fall down and get back up again, wiser and deeper each time. Greatness comes from learning not from perfection.

Diminish the past to the size of a rear-view mirror in a vehicle. It’s there and you can see it, even check it for information, but to drive forward with your eyes riveted there would be disaster. Looking out the wide windshield, instead, will take you to the wild adventures of the fulfilled life. Not to mention the beautiful scenery and interesting surprises that are waiting to be discovered along the way.

Forgive, let go and be thankful for all that the past has taught you. Quiet down the lies to white noise in the background and replace them with the beautiful music of living focused on love and compassion instead.

How have you triumphed over those lies trying to hold you back from all you have to live? Please share in the comments below.

Featured photo credit: Image credit: zavulonya / 123RF Stock Photo via submit.123rf.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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