Advertising
Advertising

13 Simple Relationship Truths You Need To Know

13 Simple Relationship Truths You Need To Know

We all seek relationship advice at one point or another. Whether we are entering a new relationship or trying to salvage an old one, it’s a safe bet that we basically have no idea what we’re doing. Love is not something that is planned, so most of the time, we just have to go along with it and figure things out for ourselves. Every relationship is different, and every problem calls for a different solution. That being said, there are a bunch of relationship truths that are universal.

1. Relationships aren’t simple.

They take work, time, and effort. They involve a heavy amount of compromise. You need to be like a doctor and have patience.

That was a joke. You also need to have a sense of humor.

2. There is no use “fixing” what isn’t broken.

Just because something isn’t simple doesn’t mean it’s not good. In order to succeed in life and in the business world, you must work hard and persevere. You aren’t going to quit your job just because you actually need to try. Similarly, you shouldn’t quit on a relationship just because it’s not all flowers and rainbows.

Advertising

Also, there is nothing wrong with being content. Allow yourself to be happy and don’t be afraid of being comfortable. If there isn’t a problem with the relationship, then don’t go looking for problems.

3. You have to love yourself before you can love another person.

How can you expect to genuinely love another person’s qualities if you have trouble accepting your own? Once you are confident in yourself, others will notice you more. When you accept yourself for who you are, you will be able to fully appreciate and understand the best qualities of other people.

4. You can’t love somebody if you like nobody.

Keep an open mind when meeting new people. Don’t shut everybody out right away. The world has so much to offer, and you’ll never experience any of it if you refuse to venture outside of your comfort zone. Feeling uncomfortable is good sometimes. Like love, people will surprise you.

5. There needs to be a balance of intimacy and space.

Show interest in your significant other’s hobbies and work, but don’t intrude. Also, invite him/her into your own world. Spend time together, but don’t make it seem like you always need to be together in order to be happy. Share information about yourself that you wouldn’t normally share: your stories, your aspirations, your fears. Make yourself vulnerable. Encourage your partner to do the same. Listen.

Advertising

Support your significant other and give honest feedback. Let your partner know that you might not be there during the climb but that you’ll be right behind, ready to catch him/her if he/she falls.

6. Communication is paramount.

Be on the same page as your partner, or at least be on the same chapter. I was in a relationship in which my girlfriend and I were in completely different books. As corny as it sounds, honesty actually is the best policy. Be honest with yourself and be honest with your partner.

7. Arguing is healthy.

You and your partner are not going to agree about everything, and that’s perfectly normal. The essence of healthy arguing is that you both know how to discuss these topics and understand each other’s opinions. Be mature and admit when you’re wrong, and accept the fact that not everybody shares your opinions.

8. People change.

This is something you cannot control. It is important to accept these types of things and worry instead about what you can control, which is the progress you make.

Advertising

9. Relationships are not projects.

People might change, but you shouldn’t go into a relationship wanting to change somebody. It never works out the way you plan, and it means that you don’t truly love your partner for who he/she is.

10. Once a cheater, always a cheater.

If he cheated on his ex-girlfriend with you, what makes you think he won’t cheat on you with somebody else? Sure, people change, but morals don’t just appear out of thin air. When you embark on a relationship with somebody, you should have an idea of what you are getting yourself into.

11. You shouldn’t “stay friends.”

This is a mistake many couples make when a relationship ends. Everybody knows what it means: one person doesn’t want to cut the other out of his/her life completely, and the other person is thinking: “Awesome. We’ll be friendly for a while and then be back together within a month.” This is usually a bad idea for everyone, and it often leads to hatred. A way to avoid this is communication.

12. Hate leaves bruises, but love leaves scars.

Feelings of hatred and scorn are usually temporary. However, the damage that love can do to a person is often much more permanent. Lost love becomes a part of us; a mark we wear every day that reminds us of our past and all of the lessons we have learned. On the flip side, that “damage” can be a positive type of permanent. My parents have been in a loving marriage for over thirty years, and they certainly have the scars to prove it.

Advertising

13. Relationships are like shoes.

Some look stylish on the outside, but only the person wearing them knows the pain they bear inside. Walking in a new pair is like being with a new person—unfamiliar at first, but as you break them in, you develop a sense of security. You reach that comfort zone in which you rarely need to untie the laces.

Some shoes, you outgrow. Some get worn out. Some cause you pain or leave you exposed. Some shoes you wear anywhere. Some shoes get dirty, and when you wear them, you can’t forget where they’ve been. Some shoes you hesitate to throw away. Some people wear shoes until they’re soulless.

Learn from these relationship truths

Of course, we all wish there was just one simple truth about relationships. Well, there isn’t one. Every relationship we participate in will teach us something new about ourselves, as well as other people. It is this experience that will ultimately lead us in the right direction—hopefully to someone who understands, accepts, and supports us.

More by this author

13 Simple Relationship Truths You Need To Know 9 Things That You Need To Know To Make A Lasting Relationship 8 Lessons You Can Learn From A Job Interview Rejection 25 Blogging Tips for Fresh Bloggers 5 Characteristics of Weak Leaders

Trending in Communication

1 5 Real Relationship Goals You Should Actually Strive Toward 2 When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 3 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 4 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 5 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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

Read Next