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15 Things Not To Say About Yourself

15 Things Not To Say About Yourself

How you view yourself can make or break you. If you want success, watch out for these 15 things not to say about yourself.

1. “I wish I didn’t have such bad luck.”

The more opportunities you pursue, the better your “luck” will get. If you want something, go get it. Success comes from hustle (not chance).

2. “It’s too late for me, so why bother?”

It is never too late to change your life. Even the most damaged of us can rise from the ashes to take control of our life. See your age as an asset (not a liability). With years comes experience, and with experience comes knowledge.

3. “But what will they think about me?”

Getting caught up in what everybody else thinks about you is a sure-fire way to multiply your stress levels. Never sacrifice your true personality in an attempt to impress others. If a friend is worth having, they will appreciate you for who you are, not who they think you should be.

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4. “I’m so stupid.”

No one has all the answers, so ease up on yourself. We all have our own unique skill sets. Being bad at one thing doesn’t make you stupid. Instead of agonizing over your weaknesses, focus on developing your strengths and then use them as much as possible! The more you can do what you’re good at, the more confident you will become in yourself.

5. “No one will ever love me.”

How could you possibly know that? Answer: you couldn’t. And if you’re staying at home thinking about how no one loves you (instead of putting yourself out there so you could meet a potential new partner), you’re just making a bad situation worse. Mr. or Ms. Right won’t find you if you’re holed-up in your PJs. If you want to be found, act like it.

6. “I can’t do it.”

Don’t admit defeat before the race even starts. If it helps, think about the three biggest things you’ve achieved in your life. That could be graduating college, getting a promotion, starting a blog, landing a date, or whatever.

Got your three things? Now ask yourself, “What strengths did I use to achieve this specific thing?” for each item. Write down your answers.

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Notice any trends? If so, the road to success is right in front of you.

7. “I don’t think ______ likes me because they didn’t answer my text/call/e-mail.”

Jumping to conclusions like this displays a self-centered worldview. And besides, wouldn’t it be more likely that your friend/partner got tied up with class/work/(insert thing here)? People have things to do, so don’t assume it’s all about you.

8. “Life isn’t fair. If only things were better…”

No, life isn’t fair (and I hate to break it to you, but it never will be). There will always be good and bad things happening in your life at any given moment. This is beyond your control, so let it go. But whether you focus on the good or bad part is entirely up to you. You’re welcome to stress out about negative things you can’t control, but do know that won’t make you feel any better (quite the opposite). Keep your eye on the positive, because no matter how it looks right now, you’re doing better than you think.

9. “I hate my body.”

Please don’t say that. Whether you’re curvy, skinny, or muscular is irrelevant. Your body is a glorious vessel that carries you everywhere you go in this world. Take care of your body and it will take care of you. Getting caught up in what you see as imperfections is a waste of your precious time and energy. Don’t look for physical traits you dislike, but focus on the things about yourself that you find cute, handsome, or attractive. If you want to feel better about your (incredibly good-looking) body today, check out these 10 reasons why you are attractive.

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10. “I’m so embarrassed I wish I could disappear.”

I’m bet everybody reading this has spilled food on their shirt, dropped (and broke) a dish, tripped over a random object, and/or walked face-first into a wall (I can’t be the only one). If you have a goof in public and feel your cheeks flush, take a deep breath and tell yourself, “This isn’t a big deal.” For bonus points, make a quick lighthearted joke at your own expense to show you don’t take things too seriously.

11. “I’m out of his/her league.”

There isn’t such a thing as a “league” for you to be in or out of, so stop it with the negative self-talk. If you’re attracted to a person, say so.

12. “I can’t believe _____ got picked over me.”

Jealousy is a destructive emotion that does lots of harm and no good. If a co-worker got a promotion you hoped for, be a good sport about it. They probably deserve the position just as much as you do (and even if they don’t, it’s no reason to be hostile — it’s certainly not their fault you didn’t get picked). When rejected, your best bet is to transfer your negative feelings into positive action. Think you should have got the gig? Don’t gossip about it — prove it.

13. “It’s too hard.”

You know what’s really hard?

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Yeah…you don’t get to say anything is “too hard.”

If you can believe it, you can achieve it.

14. “I can’t trust anyone, I’ve been hurt too much.”

Funny thing about trust: the less you trust other people, the less they tend to trust you. Are all people worthy of your trust? Certainly not, but that’s no reason to be paranoid. Just because a past partner or two (or several) proved untrustworthy doesn’t mean everyone is out to get you, it just means you haven’t found the right person yet.

15. “I might as well give up.”

Life is like a video-game. No matter how many times you lose, you can push “Continue” as many times as you need to. You don’t lose until you quit, so don’t quit.

If you have any other things not to say about yourself that would be a great addition to this list, please leave it in the comments below.

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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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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