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12 Assumptions People Often Wrongly Made About Their Life

12 Assumptions People Often Wrongly Made About Their Life

So you think you know how the world works, huh? Sure, we all do. We all like to think that we have it figured out. But do you really? Many times, people make assumptions about life that simply aren’t true. Here are 12 of them.

1. People are watching your every move and judging you.

We live in a world that is highly judgmental. Every time you open up a celebrity magazine, you read about how the latest beautiful actress has suddenly gotten “fat.” And if you’re not a superstar in your chosen field or your kids aren’t getting straight As, then you’re a loser. At least that’s probably what goes through your head. And you also think that’s what other people think. They don’t. Most people are so busy judging themselves that they don’t even give you much thought at all.

2. You have “failed,” when in fact you just haven’t succeeded yet.

Anyone who has ever achieved greatness has “failed” more times than they have succeeded. Donald Trump lost all his money many times, only to make it back again. George Lucas got Star Wars turned down by countless movie studios. And Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team. If any of them had given up because they thought they had “failed,” then where would they be now? Nowhere.

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3. If you ignore a problem, it will go away.

Ahhhhh. The ostrich. Keeping your head in the sand and hoping the problem will go away. Well, here’s a newsflash for you: It won’t. I don’t care what the problem is—it can be problems with your marriage, at your job, your kids—it won’t go away unless you take action to fix it.

4. You need to be perfect.

You don’t. Perfection is just an illusion. It doesn’t really exist! The problem is that we all think it exists. What is “perfect” for one person is not perfect to another. It’s all subjective. So instead of chasing perfection, how about chasing happiness instead? Do things you love. Spend time with people who make you happy. That’s a much better goal than non-attainable perfection.

5. Everything that goes wrong is other people’s fault, not yours.

Personal responsibility—it’s a lost art in our culture. We see this every time we hear crazy law suits where someone is suing a restaurant because they spilled their own hot coffee on themselves. Sure, other people contribute to problems. But it’s up to us to adjust our attitude and reactions to that. All you can control is your perception of the problem, and then take action toward personal responsibility.

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6. You just can’t do it.

You can. You can do anything that you set your mind to. So stop making excuses. I don’t care what your goal is, if you want it badly enough, you will find a way. If you don’t want it enough, you will find excuses. Spend some time really examining what you want. Then go after it.

7. All of your expectations of other people are reasonable.

Expectations are deadly. If people don’t live up to your expectations, then you are disappointed and it creates problems. Think about this: how do you feel when other people place expectations on you? It feels suffocating, doesn’t it? So let people be who they are. If you don’t like it, then stop hanging around them.

8. You think “this” is permanent. It’s not.

I don’t care what “it” is: an unsatisfying job, unemployment, being single, or being in debt. It can all be changed. All you need to do is believe it. Then take action. The only thing that is permanent is death. All other things change. One of the sayings I love is, “And this too shall pass.” It’s true. Really, it is!

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9. You’re not important.

Everyone is important. You don’t need to be a CEO of a company or Oprah to be important. We all have our own little niche in the world. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you are hugely important to your kids. If you’re a cashier at a fast food restaurant, you’re important to the people who are trying to buy food. Reframe “important” and believe that you are valuable in your own way.

10. You think you’re always right.

Perception is reality. That’s a motto I live by. And you should too. Just because you don’t agree with someone else’s point of view, well, that doesn’t make them wrong. And just because they don’t agree with you doesn’t make you wrong either. Everyone is “right” because it is their perception of a situation that matters. And that’s it. So agree to disagree.

11. Something is holding you back.

The only thing holding you back is yourself. Examine your beliefs. Do you think you’re smart? Capable? Worthy? That you can add value to the world? If you don’t, then you need to figure out why because those thoughts are like a cage that keep you stuck. Being stagnant isn’t healthy. So learn to get out of your own way and believe you can do it!

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12. You can’t be happy.

You can. It doesn’t take money. It doesn’t take beauty. It doesn’t take fame. It doesn’t take any of that to be happy. But you know what it does take? A decision. A decision to be happy. Yep. That’s it! Another motto I have is, “It’s only a problem if you think it’s a problem.” It’s all about viewpoint and attitude. You are in control of both of those. So changing your thinking will change your life and ultimately make you happy!

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Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and 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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