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15 Things People Who Have Mentally Strong Parents Understand

15 Things People Who Have Mentally Strong Parents Understand

Mentally strong parents can be tough for any child to get used to when growing up. These parents often share their tough-love attitudes with their children and it can be a challenge for many adolescents.

I know firsthand. I grew up with mentally strong parents and would sometimes despise the fact that they were harder on me than most of my friends’ parents.

But now I understand why. And I am incredibly thankful for the way I was brought up.

My mentally strong, sometimes tough, and always loving parents passed on their mentally strong attitude in life onto me. And for this, I will be forever grateful!

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If you’ve had mentally strong parents, you’ll know exactly what it was like and you’ll appreciate what they did for you. Here are 15 things that only people with mentally strong parents will truly understand.

1. Life’s Not Easy

From as far back as you can remember, if you’ve had mentally strong parents, I’m sure this is one of the recurring sentiments they’ve told you, “Life’s not easy.” Mentally strong parents are mentally strong because they’ve completely grasped this concept long ago. Sometimes life gets hard. Sometimes it gets tough. Sometimes you don’t think you can go on. But mentally strong parents always told you that you’ll be okay. They prepared you for life’s ups and downs and you were ready for each and every one of them.

2. Never Give Up

Along these same lines, mentally strong parents always told you not to quit. Whether it was a sport that you weren’t too fond of or a class you signed up to take, mentally strong parents always made you stick it out. They didn’t want to raise a “quitter” and so they always made you see things through. You may have hated it at that time, but that drive to never give up stayed with you throughout life!

3. It Takes A While For Good Things To Happen

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.” This phrase was often repeated throughout your childhood and although you may have wanted things right away, you quickly realized that things worth waiting for were things worth having. You now have a great patience when it comes to obtaining things you desire.

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4. Sometimes Your Best Laid Plans Won’t Work Out

“The best laid plans of mice and men oft’ go awry.” This statement was probably uttered quite frequently as a child to you. Even if you think everything is going to go as perfectly as you plan it to, sometimes life throws a wrench at you. You have to take things in stride and shrug off unforeseen complications.

5. You Have To Adapt

Along the lines of taking things in stride, you have to adapt. Adapting is a critical part of succeeding in life. Those who adapt to different situations will always come out on top. Ever since you were little, your parents told you that you have to adapt and grow in order to be successful. They were right.

6. Hard Work Trumps All

Life doesn’t reward people who are lazy. Those who work hard and put the time into doing something are the ones who get what they want. Mentally strong parents made their children do chores, go to sleep on time, wake up for school on time, get good grades in school, and do their homework as soon as they came home. If you have mentally strong parents this happened to you too. And this hard work and preparation carried on throughout your life. There are probably few people you know who have anywhere near the same work ethic as you do now.

7. Life’s Not Always Fair

If your parent rehearsed lines from Mick Jagger before, you probably had a mentally strong parent. “You can’t always get what you want” was a sentiment often uttered by my parents, and one that I learned very early on. But by learning that things weren’t always going to go my way, it made me prepared for all sorts of stumbles I’d encounter later in life. I learned to be tough and ready for anything.

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8. Anything Is Possible

Even though I knew things weren’t always fair in life, I knew that one thing remained true, anything is possible in life. Even things that seem unbelievably challenging or long-shots that seem like they would never happen, can happen. “You can do anything in life” my parents often told me . . . and I always believed them.

9. Don’t Be A Sheep, Be The Sheep Herder

“Most people walk around like sheep, always doing what they are told. Don’t be like them. Be the guy who herds the sheep.” These phrases were told me as a young boy and I knew I never wanted to be a sheep. I knew I always wanted to do what I wanted to, and I wanted to have my own mind and my own heart. My mentally strong parents wouldn’t allow me to be a follower, they demanded that I be a leader. And I am.

10. Stand Up For Yourself

My mentally strong parents never took any crap from other people. They always demanded respect and they always got it. If they felt they were not being heard, appreciated, or respected, even in the slightest way, they demanded a change. I watched them stand up for their beliefs countless times over the years, and they led by example. They always told me to do the same and I always did.

11. Fight For What You Believe In

“Even if everyone else does something, do what you really believe in. Do what is right.” If you have strong-minded parents this belief is deeply engrained in you. You always fight for what you believe in and stand by your convictions. Mentally strong parents teach you this as soon as you start to talk. Because of this, you always do what you know is right in life.

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12. Everyone Has Problems, Not Just You

Your parents taught you to get over your problems early on by telling you that “Everyone has problems, it’s not just you.” In other words, they made you believe that you weren’t being unfairly singled out in the issues department. And that rather than complaining about your issues, you have to get over them! If you have mentally strong parents, you don’t dwell on your problems; you quickly move past and get over them!

13. You Can’t Please Everyone

Mentally strong parents are mentally strong because they know who matters. They also know who doesn’t matter, and they know not to waste their energy on these people. Your mentally strong parents told you early on that “You can’t please everyone” and you listened. You now know this to be true and you don’t waste your time on people who don’t matter. Instead, you focus your energy on more productive things.

14. Sometimes You Have To Take Risks

All mentally strong parents knew that in order to succeed in life, you sometimes have to take risks. Even though it may be scary or nerve-racking, risks are essential to getting ahead. The weak-minded settle for less and never go for things they truly want in life. The strong-minded, however, do. If your parents were mentally strong, you’ve grown accustomed to taking the necessary risks in life that reap the best rewards. You’ve been watching your parents do it for years.

15. Don’t Feel Entitled To Anything

“You work for what you want in life. You are not entitled to anything.” This motto was definitely prevalent in your life growing up. Mentally strong parents would never allow you to feel entitled to anything. The mentally strong are self-reliant, independent, and hard-working, and the feeling of entitlement of certain things is an insult to them. They instilled the core beliefs of self-sufficiency in you early on, and you never forgot them. You are now self-reliant, independent, and hard-working, just like them!

Although it may have been tough growing up with mentally strong parents, by now, you should realize just how lucky you were. Your peers and friends may have had it easier back then, but your mentally strong parents were shaping your future. They were giving you the tools needed to not only prosper and succeed in life, but to also be happy. You can now thank them for everything they’ve given you!

Featured photo credit: Stephan Hochhaus via flickr.com

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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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