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20 Moments Only Those Who Have A Baby Sister Can Understand

20 Moments Only Those Who Have A Baby Sister Can Understand

Becoming an older sibling to a baby sister is one of the most exciting, terrifying, and overall incredible moments in a person’s life. Throughout your relationship, you’ll want to teach her about the world, but shield her from a lot of it. You’ll love her at times, and you’ll hate her at times, but you’ll eventually realize she is the most important person in your life. You’ll also realize that, through it all, she may have taught you more about life than you could have ever hoped to teach her.

1. You don’t want the change

You’ve gotten used to being an only child, and frankly, you’re quite scared of what gaining a younger sister means. Will your parents stop loving you? Will you not be as special to them as you once were? Will she get all the attention now that she’s the cute little baby of the family? Every older sibling goes through this anxiety, but it quickly fades when you realize that your family is not just gaining a younger child—it’s also gaining an older one.

2. You instantly grow up

You want to do everything you can to help your little sister, from holding her and feeding her, to pacifying her when she cries. Your parental instincts kicked in the moment you meet your baby sister. Throughout your life, you’ll always feel a need to protect her.

3. You understand your parents a bit more

Instantly growing up means you see the parent/child relationship from the other side, if only in snippets at a time. You couldn’t finish your homework because you needed to go with your parents to the doctor. You couldn’t sleep at night because your baby sister was crying for God knows what reason. You also understand that all of this is worth having another member of the family.

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4. You see yourself in her

You realize that you were the reason your parents couldn’t sleep at night, or that they had to decline a party invitation because they couldn’t find a sitter (or didn’t want to). You realize you’re not the center of the universe. You realize that you were once an infant, and you see what you’ve grown into. And you realize your baby sister will soon do the same.

5. You have someone to talk to

Even as children, your little sister is always there to talk to. When you’re bored, she’s there to joke around with. When you’re sad, she’s there for you to unload your emotions on. When you’re ecstatic, she’s there to share your excitement with. Your sister becomes your outlet for all of your emotions, a living, breathing journal for you to tell your story to.

6. You gain a pal

You realize your sister isn’t just your family; she can be a part of your inner circle. It doesn’t matter if she’s one year, five years, or ten years younger than you. Your friends will accept that the two of you are a package deal. They might get annoyed with her, and you, but in the long run they understand how important she is to you, and true friends will become big brothers and sisters to her as well.

7. You gain a nemesis

Having a younger sibling is definitely not all sunshine and rainbows. You’ll argue with each other. You’ll fight—a LOT. You’ll wish you were an only child so much that you can’t believe how unfair your life is. But having a family member to experience these emotions with makes you realize something important about family: they don’t go away, whether you want them to or not.

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8. You gain a scapegoat

You broke a glass playing basketball in the kitchen? Blame your sister. Spilled juice all over the brand new sofa? Blame your sister. Having a younger sister means you can shirk responsibility for just about anything. Not only that, but since she’s younger, your parents will usually go easier on her.

9. You become a scapegoat

That is, until she figures out how to turn the tables on you. Once she realizes that she, too, can blame you for things she’s done, don’t expect her to let up. She might even start trashing the house on purpose with the sole intention of getting you in trouble. And when the time comes, be sure to look behind your scolding mom’s back to see your little sister sticking her tongue out at you. With little sisters, payback’s a snitch.

10. You learn to hate responsibility

Mom has to work late? You need to feed your sister before you feed yourself. Dad has to run to grandpa’s house? You need to come inside and watch Nick Jr for a few hours. When you were looking forward to a baby sister, you never asked for all of this. But here you are, stuck playing tea party while all of your friends are playing manhunt down at the park.

11. You learn to love responsibility

Being responsible for another human being is incredibly empowering. Not in a bullying sense of the word, but in the sense that if you can watch out for another person, you can surely survive the world on your own. While you’re preparing food for your baby sister, you realize you can actually make your own meals whenever you want. When stuck inside with her, you realize you can make the best of a bad situation and end up having silly fun. You realize you don’t always need to be with your chosen friends to be having the time of your life.

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12. You learn to appreciate more

You realize the little things are what make your sacrifices worth it. You didn’t have fun playing dress up, especially when your sister took that incriminating photo of you in a tiara. Years later, you’ll see that picture and instantly feel like a kid again. You might get a serious case of FOMO when your friends tell you all about last Friday’s party, but you would have missed the first moment you hung out with your sister all weekend and saw her as a person rather than a younger sibling. You realize you wouldn’t trade her for anything else in the world.

13. You become a role model

Sure, you “instantly grew up” when you met your little sister, but did you consciously change your behavior? Not until you’re older, and your sister actually looks up to you, do you truly want to be someone worth looking up to. She sees you as a leader, and even if you never felt like one before, you hold yourself to a higher standard because of your little sister.

14. You have more in common than you think

You might be polar opposites on the surface, but your sister shares the worldviews and values your parents have instilled in both of you. If you ever feel alone in life, you can bet your sister will understand exactly where you’re coming from. You might not like the same music, or enjoy the same hobbies, but you’ve experienced the same vacations, family dinners, and other life moments that are much more important than Top 40 radio or the New York Yankees.

15. You need your space

Sometimes, you just want to be left alone. You were an only child for a long time, and you’ve almost forgotten what it was like to experience peace and quiet. There’s nothing wrong with this. But you also must come to the realization that you are not an island, you are not alone, and you will always have a responsibility to your younger sister. Being alone to recharge is one thing, but don’t ever isolate yourself from your closest family member.

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16. You’ll need her to fill that space

When you’re away from your sister, you might not realize it, but you miss her. The peace and quiet can be nice, but after a certain period of time it becomes deafening. You’ll realize that you might not always have her around to create the ambience you’ve gotten used to (and tired of), and you realize how much you’d miss it if it were gone for good. Missing your sister leads to appreciating the times you have with her.

17. You gain someone to trust

You can never trust anyone as much as you can trust your sister. She might have pulled one over on you in your younger days, but you can always count on her to keep secrets, listen to you, and love you for who you are. You both understand the special bond you share, and know how important it is to never break it.

18. You will become friends

You might have just tolerated your younger sister throughout your childhood, but that will change once you become adults. You will actually look forward to spending time together. You’ll actually make plans with each other. Your friends will want to hang out with her, and you’ll want to hang out with her friends. You’ll most likely end up going on more adventures with your sister than you ever did with any of your chosen friends.

19. You will stay friends

Not only will you become friends, but you’ll stay friends with your sister for longer than with anyone else who has come and gone in your life. High school friends almost always go their separate ways. College friends will move away, start their own families, and eventually the magic of your friendships will dissipate. Your sister will grow with you. Through every part of your life, your sister will be with you. And for every part of her life, you’ll be there watching over her proudly.

20. You learn the true value of family

Throughout your life, your sister will teach you the ultimate value of having a family. She’ll become an aunt to your children. She’ll welcome your spouse into your family. You’ll both help your parents as they grow older. You’ll always share the memories of childhood and the dreams of your lives with your younger sister. The best part of having a younger sister is the magic of your relationship will never fade.

Featured photo credit: Baby girl laughing to her brother via shutterstock.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on 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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