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Don’t Go Into Marriage If You Haven’t Done These Things

Don’t Go Into Marriage If You Haven’t Done These Things

Congrats, you two are happily engaged!

It most likely was a long path to get to where you are, wasn’t it? Behind every successful marriage, are two people who have done some tremendous things before deciding they’re ready to take the next step. Have you considered a “must-do” list before putting the ring on your finger? Maybe you should, as there are things everyone needs to do before getting married.

1. Get your heart broken.

Sounds cliche, but true. Dealing with a breakup teaches you about what went wrong in your relationship and how you can prevent them from happening again.

2. Experiment With Online Dating.

You need to learn to take credit for all your strengths and general awesomeness right?

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3. Learn From Your Relationship Mistakes.

Look back at your past? What part did you play in the destruction of that relationship? Did you take them for granted? Were you neglectful? Critical? These are all very important things to ask yourself before moving on to a new relationship so you can be a better version of you and not make the same mistake.

4. Fall in Love, More Than Once.

You need to find out what kind of relationship or partner you want for the rest of your life, so get out there and figure it out.

5. Come Up With a Definitive List of What You Won’t Compromise On in a Relationship.

These are normally called deal breakers. You have values that your partner shouldn’t make you compromise just like they have values that you shouldn’t ask them to compromise either. Talk it out and see where each of you stand.

6. Learn to Trust Others.

Trust is one of the most important (if not THE most important) thing to have in a relationship. If you don’t trust your future partner, how will you create a solid marriage?

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7. Learn Not to Make Being Married Your Sole Identity.

You need to be your own person and not to rely on someone else solely to define you.

8. Spend Time Alone.

The more comfortable you are with yourself, the more likely you are to attract someone who will be comfortable with you.

9. Get to Know All the Facts.

You need to talk about all the boring stuff, like financial matters and health before taking the leap into marriage. Would you rather find out your partner is $30,000 in debt before you got married, or after?

10. Live with someone that is not a member of your family.

Think of it as testing the waters before getting married. You want to know if you can live with your future spouse!

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11. Spend some time on your career.

Again, cliche but true. You need to work on yourself before being able to fully commit in a relationship.

12. Spend time around kids.

This will help you decide whether or not you want them and to let your partner know where you stand regarding children before you tie the knot.

13. Figure out why you want to get married.

Do you genuinely love your partner? Or do you just like the idea of getting married? Do you really want to spend the rest of your life with them? Do you just want to wear a wedding gown and have a big fancy party? Or do you think it’s just something you now have to do because you’re getting older? Find out your true intentions before making the leap.

14. Learn to fight fairly.

Disagreements will inevitably happen with your future spouse. Learn to fight fairly now before you say something you’ll regret after you’re married.

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15. Learn to love people as they are.

Don’t expect people to change for you. Marrying your partner means you’ll accept for their strengths AND weaknesses.

16. Learn to DIY.

How can you nurture a marriage if you cannot learn to take care of yourself first? Consider learning how to cook or become the handyman around the house.

17. Meet your future spouse’s friends.

You might be able to pick up on red flags that could hint at why you might not want to marry this person. Or to confirm that your decision is completely spot on.

18. Meet your future spouse’s family.

You’re not just marrying your spouse, you’re marrying into the family. Figure out if you can deal with their family drama beforehand.

19. Get to know yourself.

A no-brainer here. If you don’t know who you are and aren’t comfortable in your own skin, how could you possibly know what type of person you want to spend the rest of your life with?

20. Learn to apologize sincerely.

We screw up from time to time. Admitting it shows your partner that you’re mature and you’re willing to do what it takes to make things right.

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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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