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3 Easy Steps to Becoming Your Authentic Self

3 Easy Steps to Becoming Your Authentic Self

“Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else.” – Judy Garland

Our roles in life don’t make us who we are. We tend to base our idea of who we are on everyday roles such as parents and spouse or even what we do in our jobs or what qualifications we have. We even go to the extent of changing our personas in different social situations & acting out of character because we think we have to. Realize that by acting in this way you are not being you at your deepest level. When you begin to use the following steps to become your authentic self you will begin to experience the benefits of a happier life.

Benefits of becoming your authentic self Include:

  • Being happier
  • Feeling of fulfilment
  • Decision making becomes easier
  • Awareness increases
  • Truthful to self & others
  • Doing things on your own terms
  • Doing what you really want
  • Doing what you love
  • Satisfying your needs
  • A sense of purpose
  • Helping you prioritize how you live
  • Being in alignment with goals & dreams

Research suggests that authentic people are well-liked, and they benefit from social support and the many other positive outcomes associated with enjoying close relationships with others.

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Your Authentic Self in 3 Easy Steps

Step 1

Choosing your values are what is important to you in life.

Knowing your values helps you understand what drives you—what you enjoy, what inspires you, and what you’d like more of. By building a life and lifestyle around our values we create a life that is more satisfying and meaningful to us.

Values change over time, and deepen as you understand yourself better.

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Finally, the values list below is only to give you some ideas of  values. We are each unique, so there will undoubtedly be words that are missing from this list, and different words that sum up your value better. If so, feel free to add those words to the list below. There are hundreds of

Sample Values List

  • Accomplishment
  • Authenticity
  • Balance
  • Beauty
  • Boldness
  • Calm
  • Community
  • Compassion
  • Confidence
  • Contribution
  • Courage
  • Creativity
  • Determination
  • Excellence
  • Freedom
  • Friendship
  • Family
  • Fun
  • Growth
  • Happiness
  • Harmony
  • Health
  • Honesty
  • Independence
  • Integrity
  • Intuition
  • Joy
  • Kindness
  • Learning
  • Listening
  • Love
  • Loyalty
  • Optimism
  • Orderliness
  • Passion
  • Patience
  • Peace
  • Productivity
  • Respect
  • Self-Esteem
  • Service
  • Simplicity
  • Spirituality
  • Strength
  • Thankfulness
  • Tradition
  • Trust
  • Understanding
  • Wisdom

Step 2

Choose up to 10 words that resonate with you and make you feel good. These are the values you want to live in your everyday life. Write them down or create a poster so you can see them every day.

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So as an example, one of my values is family: I have children, I have always spent time with and meet regularly with my extended family too, and I am also close with my cousins.

Action Plan: Ensure my children’s needs are met and that they are getting my attention by having fun time, activities together, showing my love & being there for them. As for other family members I stay in contact on a regular basis.

For me I feel this is necessary because this is who I am. I would otherwise feel frustrated and guilty if I didn’t do this. However, things may be different for you.

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Step 3

Make a list of 5 to 10 activities you love to do and 5 goals you want to achieve. Look at the work you do & look at the relationships you have. Do your values you have chosen currently align with what you want to do? If not make the necessary changes. Make a plan for how you will include your activities into your life & make steps for achieving your goals. Look out for values that are sabotaging your time and energy & live for the ones that bring out your authenticity making you happy and likely to achieve your goals. Values are not set in stone so change they may change over time.

That’s it! You will find you no longer have to fill many versions of yourself only the best one. Because by following your values you live with integrity, truth and being a happier you. Don’t let your role in life define who you are, take action to become your authentic self.

More by this author

Diana Reid

CEO - Moxie House Ltd

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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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