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11 Promises You Should Make to Yourself

11 Promises You Should Make to Yourself

Which promises to yourself are worth it?

The mantra of “live your life to the fullest” is often repeated. You see this in books, in movies, in songs, in poems and even in speeches. In the course of living your life, you’re often instructed to live wisely, live freely and live happily. Sometimes, though, this mantra is already viewed as a cliche. People take its meaning for granted because the mantra feels empty—sure, you want to live life to the fullest; you want to go out there and make the most of your life; and you want to help others to the same.

You want to do all these things, but the question is how can you do this?

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You can do this by making—and keeping—the following promises to yourself:

1. “I promise to myself that I will accept my strengths as well as my flaws.”

Remember that you are here in this world to serve a purpose. You are worthy of existing, of believing and of living. For you to feel sincerely worthy, though, you should get rid of all your low self-esteem and instead adapt a self-loving and self-approving attitude. You can only do this if you display an unconditional acceptance of yourself.

2. “I will speak lovingly to myself.”

A lot of people in this world take joy in bringing you down and destroying your sense of self-worth: don’t be one of them. Be your biggest fan, not your number one critic. Speak encouragingly to yourself. Help yourself get up each time you’re struck down; when worse comes to worst, you are going to be your own life coach.

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3. “I will always keep in mind that I cannot control everything.”

The idea that you can control everyone and everything in your life is utterly wrong. You can never live a happy life unless you accept this fact. People always have their own battles, businesses always have their own agendas and everyone has his own priorities.

Don’t despair too much, though. The reality is that you don’t really need to control your external surroundings in order to live your life to the fullest. You just need to control your own way of thinking.

4. “I will choose my battles wisely.”

Most of the time, you’ll get invited to a lot of battles. Keep in mind that you don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Really, you don’t. Choose wisely as you don’t need to go to every battle you’re invited to.

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5. “I will forget the pains of the past but remember their lessons.”

There’s no use in re-living the pains, frustrations and anxieties of the past. You’ll only make yourself feel worthless if you do this constantly. Instead of moping around and stressing about your mistakes, look at your past objectively and find out what you could have done better. Yes, you can’t go back, but you can always move forward.

6. “I promise to myself that I’ll maintain a stable peace of mind.”

Believe in inner happiness: no-one can break you down without your consent. Choose to be proactive rather than reactive, and grow from your challenges. You can never bloom with only water, right? You need the glare of the sunlight as well.

7. “I won’t compromise my values for anything.”

You’re the best person who can identify your biggest values. Number them and stick with doing them up to the best of your ability. Don’t let the temptation of money, fame, fortune or success turn you into someone you’re really not.

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8. “I’ll learn to live in the moment.”

Savor that bite and let the flavors melt in your mouth. Aim to listen and really understand what your best friend is talking about. Lend your presence to the people you love. Don’t rush things and don’t take them for granted either. Life isn’t a competition—it’s a wonderful adventure best taken at your own pace.

9. “I promise to let go of the things that are holding me back.”

Life is too short to stay holding on to people and things which corrupt your mind and leave you hanging. Don’t settle. You know you’re better than that.

10. “I will stay motivated to pursue my innermost dreams and strong passion.”

Don’t be afraid to pursue your passion, equip yourself with knowledge and continue doing what you love. Your passion gives you the greatest purpose to continue living! Nourish it, develop it and consistently find ways to help it grow.

11. “I promise to myself to always see the fun and fulfillment in every activity I partake in.”

Taking yourself too seriously can burn you out and frustrate you to no end. You’re not supposed to end up tired, stressed and mad, are you? No way. Seek balance by combining discipline and fun. In the long run, though, working for the sake of happiness is infinitely better than working for the sake of preconceived success.

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Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya

Lianne is a licensed financial advisor, Registered Financial Planner, entrepreneur and book 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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