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20 Things Nobody Told You While Growing Up

20 Things Nobody Told You While Growing Up

There are so many things I wish I had known while growing up. No one ever tells you the hard truths of life. Maybe it’s because they can’t stomach it, or maybe it’s because they think it’s just something you have to experience firsthand to understand. Here are twenty things nobody told you while growing up that would’ve been nice to know beforehand:

1. You’re Going to Spend A Lot of Time Figuring Stuff Out

Unless you’re one of the lucky few who already knows what their passion is and what you really enjoy, you will be spending a lot of time trying new things and figuring out what you’re good at and what you like. Don’t be afraid to try new things and fail at them; failing builds character. You have a lot of growing up to do in your 20s, a lot of self-examination and exploration. Use this time wisely to get to know yourself as best as you can–not that you won’t change as you continue to get older, but it’s definitely a time of discovery, getting to know oneself and what you want in this world and what you have to contribute to the world.

2. Don’t Expect Smooth Seas

There will be many challenges, obstacles and curve balls swung your way. Just try to take life as it comes. Don’t fight against the current because you’ll just wear yourself out. If there’s a door that is standing wide open for you and another that you’re trying to get through by knocking it down, sometimes it’s best to take the door that’s already open for you. In other words don’t try to be someone/something you’re not.

3. Learn About Personal Finance Now

Learn how to budget and manage your money, how to open a checking/savings account, and how to use credit wisely and live within your means. Your future self will thank you for it. Buy quality items you can keep around for a long time to come, not cheap crap that breaks that you’ll have to buy again in a year. Invest in yourself, your education, your personal improvement, your health and your relationships to others.

4. Assume Change Will Come

Life is about change; don’t fight it and just go with it. Learn from your mistakes and grow. Let go of things you can’t change. Sometimes change will be so painful you will want to rip your heart out, but you’ll be okay if you just hang on and know that no matter what happens, you will be alright. Win, lose or draw, life will go on and you’ll get another chance to start your life over if things haven’t gone according to plan.

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5. Keep Your Plans Loose

Speaking of plans, keep them loose and flexible. It’s good to have an idea of things you want to accomplish and where you want to be a couple years down the road, but honestly no one knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, let alone 5 years from now. It’s fine to make some plans but be flexible and willing to change them. Remember that people change and things happen that will push you in one direction or another. Don’t waste time beating yourself up because your plans didn’t go the way you wanted. Don’t worry about things you can’t change; focus on making new plans/goals and where you will go from here.

6. Time Is a Limited Resource

Nothing lasts forever. Enjoy every moment that you have. Enjoy life and practice being present in the moment because it goes by extremely fast. There will be both good and bad times. The bad thing about up is there’s always a down. It’s important to really enjoy and savor the good moments in life because you’ll need those memories to reflect back on when the bad times come. The first 10 years after high school go by at a breakneck speed and before you know it you’re 28 and wondering how the time has escaped you.

7. Life is Hard

When you’re a teenager, you’re just at the beginning of your life’s lessons. Life is the toughest teacher you will ever have. “Life is a cruel teacher. She gives the test first, then the lesson.” Life will throw everything that it can at you; it will try to break you and choke you until you can’t breathe, but you can’t let it.

8. You’re Only Young Once

growing up

    Enjoy being young while you are still young! Enjoy being young as much as possible. Enjoy the metabolism and the fun times. Cross stuff off your bucket list while you’re young because no one knows how much time you truly have. Don’t wait until you’re old and can’t or may not be able to do the things you really want to experience. Seriously, you may be broke while you’re young, but that doesn’t matter. You’ve got time to make money and settle down. Travel, explore and do what your heart desires now. You can still get married, have children and a household and career starting in your 20s if you want, but you should try to balance your life with equal amounts of responsibility and fun. The last thing you want to do is look back on missed chances.

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    9. Make Your Health a Priority, Not an Option

    Once you get into your late 20s and early 30s your body is going to start losing metabolism and energy. You’re going to start hurting and going to bed earlier. Start eating better and exercising. Don’t think of it as a choice. Start developing a healthier lifestyle and soon it will become habit. Take care of yourself physically, mentally and spiritually.

    10. Attitude Determines Your Altitude

    Attitude is everything and that’s not something they teach you in school. Having a good attitude can make all the difference in your life. It makes life easier and happier when you have a positive outlook and are able to keep your attitude light and flexible when dealing with other people and with life’s challenges.

    11. How You Treat People Matters

    Treating people with respect and decency can get you a long way in the world. Remember that “honey attracts more flies than vinegar.” Being nice to people really does actually matter to people. You won’t get anywhere tearing other people down or blaming others for anything. Take responsibility for yourself, your actions and your feelings.

    12. Relationships Don’t Come Easy

    Choosing a life partner/spouse is hard. Relationships in general are hard, not just romantic ones but friendships and family relations as well. Stay in touch with people who you really care about and who really care about you. Make an effort to stay an active person in their life if you really care. You will not have as many close friends as you get older and you will probably lose some friends as well. Remember that it is okay, not everyone who comes into your life is meant to stay forever; let them go and cherish the people who are still in your life.

    13. Be Prepared To Deal With Changes in Relationships

    Look at your time with exes and be thankful; even though it didn’t work out, at least you got to experience it and learn from it. You rolled the dice and lost, but at least you took a chance! Don’t think that just because something wasn’t meant to be for your entire life doesn’t mean it didn’t add value and was right where you needed to be at the time.

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    In your 20s, especially if you have a family, it gets harder and harder to spend time with friends because of so many different time demands. You will be pulled in every direction and it’s up to you to decide what your priorities are. Having a couple of close friends you can rely on can make a difference in your life. As they say “shared joy is doubled, shared sorrow is halved.”

    14. Take Every Chance You Get

    Life is about taking chances, grabbing opportunities and taking risks. Don’t be afraid to try something new, move somewhere new, work somewhere new, meet new people and learn something new.

    15. Let Go of Expectations

    Expectations ruin everything and most of the time our expectations are too high for those around us and for ourselves. No one is perfect and nothing is ever going to be perfect. The faster you can learn this and let go of too high or false expectations, the easier life will come to you. Expectations bring heartache and only cause harm. Expect nothing and appreciate everything.

    16. Life Is Complex. Try Not to Worry

    Don’t worry because everyone has ups and downs. It’s just how life is. Life is extremely messy and complicated, but don’t despair because things will work out in the end. Keep living and keep on doing what you enjoy. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

    17. You Get What You Put In

    Happiness, love and confidence come from within. Life is what you make of it and what you put into it. You can create whatever life you want, and if you create that life and it doesn’t work for you anymore, guess what? You can create a whole new life that does work. You may not have a choice in things that happen to you but you have a choice in how you react to them. Try to stay positive no matter what life throws at you and get through the tough times by talking to friends, family and a counselor if you need to.

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    18. You Will Face Rejection

    You will be rejected at some point in your life. Rejection hurts at the very core of your being, but try not to take it too personally. Oftentimes, when you’re rejected it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the person rejecting you. Take it in stride, let it slide off your back and move on. I know this is easier said than done, but it will go a long way in making you feel better and happier.

    19. You Will Not Have Everything Figured Out Anytime Soon

    If you don’t have everything figured out by the time you’re 30, you’re not alone. If you’re not where you want to be in your life or career, don’t sweat it, you still have time. Some people never figure out what they really want to do with their lives, but they get a lot of great experience, learn new things and can transfer their skills to many types of jobs. If you know what you want to do in life, start doing it immediately, practice it as much as possible and you will get better at it.

    20. Love More and Keep Your Heart Open

    Love is all that really matters in the end. Give of yourself more than anything. Try to be patient, empathetic, understanding, caring and gentle with other people. Get to know people better by asking questions and listening attentively. People usually like to talk about themselves and questions are a great way to get conversations going. Love people for who they are, just as they are, and realize that everyone is a work in progress! Life is a continual work in progress. We’re all just trying to find our way, and we’re all confused and looking for contentment. Life is a journey, and happiness is not a destination to arrive at, but a way of living.

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    Amanda Bradbury

    Amanda is a passionate writer who shares lifestyle 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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