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15 Things Highly Authentic People Don’t Do

15 Things Highly Authentic People Don’t Do

What is authenticity?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines authenticity as the quality of being real or genuine. It’s difficult to describe what authenticity looks like in human beings, but you can instantly tell when someone is being authentic and when they are not. Maybe it is how someone speaks or carries themselves (or, rather how they DON’T speak and carry themselves) that lets you know in an instant that they are being real.

Whatever it is, authentic people do many things right that makes them extremely likable and pleasant to be around. I am sure you’d rather connect with people who are real than people who pretend around you. Here are some key things highly authentic people don’t do so that you can learn how to live a more authentic life yourself.

1. They don’t fake their feelings.

Highly authentic people don’t hide their feeling or pretend they are feeling something they are not. If they are upset, they show it. If they like someone, they let them know. They express their feelings honestly and openly without fear or prejudice. Showing your true feelings allows others to know who you are and what you stand for. Authentic people do this all the time and it frees them from the burden of bottled up emotions.

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2. They don’t worry about pleasing everyone.

Highly authentic people strive to show compassion and understanding to everyone, but they don’t strive to live up to others’ expectation or bother to please everyone. They know you cannot please everyone and you shouldn’t even try. Just be confident about who you are and what you do. This way you attract the right people who value you for who you are.

3. They don’t compare their journey to everyone else’s.

We are all unique individuals. We have different gifts, aspirations and access to resources that are necessary for life success and happiness. As such, our paths in life are not always the same. Highly authentic people understand this fact and shun social comparisons to gauge their own progress. They don’t compare themselves to others. Instead, they do their best to remain true to their own dreams and aspirations in life. Do your best without comparing your progress with others. What works for others might not necessarily work for you.

4. They don’t seek or need other people’s validation.

Highly authentic people are comfortable in their own skin and know their own self-worth. They don’t need other people to tell them how special they are. When you are unapologetically yourself and comfortable in your perfect imperfection, you walk with your chin held high and your stride strong and assured. As Israelmore Ayivor says, “A single day in my own shoe that is comfortable for me is better than 365 days in someone else’s shoes that does not fit me at all.”

5. They don’t lie.

People who are not self-aware and self-assured tell lies so easily and readily that it becomes second nature to them. However, highly authentic people tell the truth always because they know lies destroy trust and relationships. Tell the truth even when it is difficult to do so and you will never have to look back on your life with regret for lies told. Being honest is one of the best ways to be at peace with yourself and other people.

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6. They don’t pretend to be someone they’re not.

Many people pretend they are someone they are not to fit in and be accepted. Highly authentic people don’t pretend they are famous, poor or even more talented than they actually are just so others like them. They are their true selves always. What they have they don’t hide; what they don’t have, they don’t pretend they have. Be yourself. It is a truly admirable, inspiring and deeply satisfying thing to live your life as yourself.

7. They don’t dwell on the past.

Highly authentic people live in the moment. They don’t let the past dictate their future. As long as you are worried, you will repeat past mistakes; you won’t be free to create new experiences and new relationships. Make the most of what is, learn from what was and have faith in what will come. That is how to make the journey of life meaningful.

8. They don’t let others make decisions for them.

There is only one YOU in this world and only you should make the important decisions in your life. Highly authentic people are always in the driving seat of their own lives. They make all the important life decisions for themselves. If you allow someone else to make all the decisions for you, then the only person who will fail in the end is you. Moreover, if you don’t have the courage to take responsibility from your own life, then you don’t have the courage to succeed at all.

9. They don’t blame others for their own mistakes.

Highly authentic people don’t shift blame for their own failings. They take responsibility for every decision and action they make in their own life, whether the outcome is positive or negative. When you are the first to admit you were wrong or that you made a mistake somewhere, you open doors for genuine help, support and guidance from others. Everybody makes mistakes sometimes. What really matters is how you get back up after you’ve made a mistake.

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10. They don’t get jealous over other people’s successes.

If anything, highly authentic people support and motivate others to keep moving forward and be the best they can be. They know that if others can do it, then it means that they too can do it. They are, therefore, happy when others succeed—not jealous. View other people’s success as proof that you too can succeed. Don’t try to bring anybody down or lessen their chances of success in any way.

11. They don’t apply given advice without first considering their own gut feeling.

Highly authentic people trust their gut feeling. They don’t rush to act before first understanding the situation at hand and considering how they feel about it. If you ponder over something, you improve the chances of covering all the bases and making the right decision for yourself and everyone else involved. Seek and listen to other people’s counsel, but understand that the buck stops with you. Only act on advice you will be comfortable living with for the rest of your life.

12. They don’t value material possessions over life experiences.

Highly authentic people see beauty in experiences and relationships. They know meaningful experiences and bonds make life worth living. Seek a better life and material goodies, but don’t undervalue the people, relationships and experiences you have in your life. In the end, it is not how much money you have accumulated that counts, but rather, the lives you have touched and the lessons you have learned along the way.

13. They don’t deny love and kindness to others.

Being authentic is being loving. Highly authentic people don’t hate, demoralize or bring others down. Instead, they show love, kindness and appreciation to others indiscriminately. They encourage all to be their true selves around them by shunning all forms of discrimination and judgmental attitudes. Treat everyone justly and kindly. Show love generously without expecting anything in return. This is a true expression of a well-led, pure and enriching existence.

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14. They don’t keep a closed mind.

Highly authentic people are always open to new ideas and life lessons. They know they don’t exist in a vacuum. When you keep a closed mind, chances are you will be rude, intolerant or completely abusive toward other people’s feelings and beliefs. Free yourself from rigidly fixed preconceptions by listening with an open mind to new ideas and arguments. You may not always agree on everything said, but you emerge out of it all a more balanced, knowledgeable and tolerant person.

15. They don’t hang with toxic people.

Highly authentic people know that you are the average of the people you keep around you. If the people you spend the most time with are notorious for jeering and bringing others down, then you most likely also do the same thing. Get rid of all critical and ill-mannered people around you. Find people to “hang” with who build you and others up. That is the easiest way to ensure you remain true to your natural tendencies for kindness and love for the world and everything in it.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via pixabay.com

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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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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