Advertising
Advertising

14 Harsh Life Truths You Need To Know To Be Stronger

14 Harsh Life Truths You Need To Know To Be Stronger

Life is no picnic. All too often, we have to overcome obstacles in order to survive. Study these 14 harsh truths of life to help you get stronger and be more self-confident.

“We spend much of our lives going about completely blind to reality, and yet we still have the gall to act victimized when it invariably catches up to us.” – Nenia Campbell

1. You cannot always rely on friends.

You will need certain life skills when nobody else is around. In this way you can rely on yourself to get out of trouble. It is a sad fact of life that we cannot count on other people most of the time. Make sure you have the following skills:

  • You can cook
  • You can drive
  • You know about the power switches in your home
  • You have a spare set of keys in a secret place for when you get locked out
  • You can manage your time
  • You learn something new about information technology every day to become computerate.

2. Make time for your passion.

Whatever you love doing, make sure you do it at a set time. This is important because you find that friends, family, your boss, and your pet will be constantly yapping at your heels trying to steal your time. You have to build in the following defense mechanisms to stop people making unreasonable demands at the wrong moment:

  • Switch off your phone
  • Turn off the computer
  • Go out and do it or lock yourself in
  • Leave Post-its to remind these intruders. (Yes, I know your pet can’t read but the others can!)

3. You accept challenges.

In order to grow in being sociable, stronger both physically and mentally, you have to accept challenges on a regular basis. You are pushing yourself to get better and stronger.

Advertising

4. You like being alone but you are not a loner.

“If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

It is impossible to exist without social contact. You can be as strong and self-sufficient as you like, but at the end of the day you need to interact in a real, personal and meaningful way, which is neither Facebook nor Twitter. You need to be in contact with real people for this.

At the same time, you can enjoy quiet time alone and you are comfortable with that. The health benefits range from increased creativity, less depression and improved memory.

5. Lower your expectations.

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” – Bruce Lee

Don’t think that people will always be there when you fall or fail. The phone will go silent. Many friends will suddenly be very busy with their own problems. When I was recovering from a fall, not one person in my condo offered to help me with carrying the shopping!

Advertising

6. Prepare for bad times.

Stuff happens and it can get nasty! You will have to learn to be stronger and not give up. But the good news is that adversity and suffering will make you appreciate life afterwards. Those who endured hardships, like being homeless, divorced or ill, found that they been able to develop better coping strategies and were more socially active.

“Hope for the best and cope with the rest.” – Anon

7. You cannot be popular with everybody.

It’s just chemistry. There are people who will rub you up the wrong way, will be bitchy, and will be downright unhelpful in the workplace. You can adopt a few avoidance strategies to reduce the fallout. Get over it and enjoy the company of the real friends you have.

8. You learn from failure.

Everybody screws up. You know that perfection is impossible. Every time you have a disaster, do not beat yourself up. Just ask yourself how you could have avoided the trap or planned it better. In this way you can learn a few life lessons from failure.

9. Nobody else will praise you.

Time to give yourself a pat on the back for all your achievements. Don’t be afraid to list them in your head when you get discouraged. Give yourself a score for each finished task. This keeps you strong when facing life’s harsh realities.

Advertising

10. Toxic company is bad for you.

You know the people I mean. These are the whiners, the pessimists, the miserable ones, the cheap ones, the nasty types, and the prejudiced. They make a lousy team. Try to gravitate towards the optimistic and passionate people who will help you see the brighter side of life.

11. Money is tight.

Nobody wants to be stalked by debt or creditors. You have to work out how best to stay within your budget. Think of ways to save, like having packed lunches. Never go shopping without a list. Avoid impulsive buys. Use cash as much as you can. Leave the credit cards at home as they tend to lull you into a fantasy world.

12. Invest in kindness.

Doing acts of kindness every day to people at work or those in difficulty will pay handsome dividends. People will return the kindness. Investing in kindness is like having savings in the bank. They will always earn a little interest. What goes around comes around. There is also an added bonus in that it makes you feel good for a while.

13. Be accountable for your behavior.

If you behave badly, rudely or take unnecessary risks, then you have to be totally accountable for what you have done. You have to take the responsibility for your behavior. Another harsh lesson from the life arena! Taking the consequences, not blaming others and apologizing for harm done have to be on your to do list.

14. Look forward.

There is no escape. Life is wonderful but it is really hard work. Now is the time to start afresh.

Advertising

“All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.” – Helen Keller

“Yesterday ended last night.” – John Maxwell

How have you coped with life’s harsh truths? Let us know in the comments below.

Featured photo credit: Hard Life/ farm9 via farm9.static.flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

10 Reasons Why People Are Unmotivated (And How to Be Motivated) 7 Things You Can Do to Deal with Low-Energy Days 40 Powerful Productivity Quotes From Highly Successful People 10 Simple Morning Exercises to Make You Feel Great All Day 10 Morning Habits Of Happy People

Trending in Communication

1 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 2 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake 3 7 Science-Backed Books About Spirituality That Will Change Your Life 4 20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About 5 How to Find Inner Peace and Lasting Happiness

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