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3 Steps to Take Back Your Power!

3 Steps to Take Back Your Power!

Have you ever felt powerless or immobilized? Have you ever felt that life kicked out your teeth?

Don’t despair. You are not alone. The universal answer to that question is YES and by universal I mean that everyone answering that question will say yes. The reason for this is simple. When life throws one of her curveballs you want to be with helmet and all.

What do you need in order to prepare for the curveballs? Does this mean I should hide away in my closet just in case I get kicked?

Let us discuss three ways you can use to take back your power and still enjoy a happy fulfilled life.

1. Let go

Almost every self-help guru has talked about letting go. You can let go in different scenarios. For example you can let go of an abusive relationship or aThe way of letting go that I am talking about is more brutal. This letting go will dump you in all sorts of personal conflict. However, if you can let go successfully it will mean that you feel truly free.

How can you achieve being free and springboard you to take back you’re power?

You can do this by letting go of your past. Humans tend to worry a lot about their past. What if I decided to take that job? What if I did not sell that house? What if I just asked that girl’s number? What if I made peace with my father before he died?

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These and other questions plague us day and night. The truth is that we have absolutely no control over our past actions and decisions.

So how do I let go of my past? Simply by deciding that from today onwards I am not bound by the decisions I made in the past. It can be difficult because our minds enjoy reflecting on the past and making judgements. Realize that your mind exist to serve you. Not the other way around. So make that decision now.

What helped some people let go of the past is to have a little ceremony to signify the act of letting go. List down some of the things in your past that stole your power. Make a fire. Throw the paper in the fire and see how the fire burns it into oblivion. You can also say out loud as the paper is burning: “today I am letting go of my past and it will no longer have a hold on me!” truly believe what you are saying. Say it straight from the heart. Say it with conviction. You can also create your own ceremony.

After making the decision to let go it is important to be aware of thoughts and feelings as it manifests in your mind. Don’t judge the thought and do not judge yourself. Just be aware of it and decide that you will not enter into any engagements with this thought. To create this new habit you will need repetition and time. Do it anyway because it will give you a feeling of freedom and it will help you to take your power back.

2. Create a compelling future

Now that you are free from your past it is time to create a compelling future. According to the dictionary the word compelling means:” evoke interest, attention, or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way“.

You need to create a future that you will excite you.

How do we create this irresistible future?

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First, we need to know what gets us excited. What makes our blood curl? So take some time now and write a couple of things down that really gets you going and that turns you on. Example: being able to help and influence young people.

Then ask the question: “What opportunities exist that I can do more of these things?”

Example: Give career speeches at local schools.

The next thing is to decide what it is that you must do to create more opportunities to do the thing that makes you excited.

Example: I need more time. I need to become self-employed.

Now write in full what a day will be like doing the thing that excites you. Take time and really flesh it out. What sights do you see? What smells do you hear? What textures can you feel under your fingertips? Got it?

Good. Now you need to put actions in place. What actions can I put into place in order to reach my compelling future? Example: Buy that book about how to become an entrepreneur. Remember that your actions should be specific, measurable, realistic and time-bound.

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Work continuously on this action plan and feel the excitement burning day by day.

3. How do you see yourself?

Another method to stand up and demand more power is to have a look at how you see yourself.

This can be a touchy subject. We are usually very quick to judge other people. I do it too, however it is awkward to turn those laser eyes on ourselves. In many cases the reason we feel powerless is because we have low self-esteem. How can we rebuild our self-esteem?

First, we need to take stock. Ask the following questions and list the answers. Be sure to respond as honestly and truthfully as possible.

  • What do like about me? This can also be physical things. Example: I am crazy about my legs.
  • What do others like about me? Here you might need to ask your friends or colleagues.
  • What is one thing that I think will make my self-esteem grow? Example: I need to stand up for myself.

 

Then pick someone that you think have good self-esteem (example: Oprah, or anyone that you can think of) and ask the following questions:

  • What in my mind constitutes a person with BIG self-esteem?
  • Is it because they share their opinions without fear?
  • What qualities can I see that makes me think this person has a lot of self-esteem?
  • Make a list of those qualities.

Take a look at the list you created about yourself. What areas do you lack in? What are the qualities that will grow your self-esteem? You now have a couple of qualities that you have identified as problem areas. Work on those problem areas by tackling one area at a time. Also share this with your friends. They will be able to tell you if it is working or not.

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Having self-esteem does not mean that you have the right to be vain and self-centered. Self-esteem will focus you on your path and you will be able to be yourself in every sense of the word.  If you consistently build your self-esteem it will ensure that you take your power back.

 

We should never be fearful of life and hide away in the closet.

You now have some tools to help you take your power back. The onus is on you. The only thing that will hold you back is if you don’t do something to change your situation.

You need to take steps to apply this in your life. Start today. Don’t let anything stop you.

 

Take action and reclaim your power!

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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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