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5 Foundations Every Successful Relationship Needs

5 Foundations Every Successful Relationship Needs

Having a happy and successful relationship can be a struggle.

It seems that all too often, our relationships go downhill over time, and we are left to wonder “why can’t things just be the way they used to be?”.

Foundations are the key to maintaining all the goodness in your relationship. They will determine the quality and success of your relationships years down the track.

“A house must be built on solid foundations if it is to last. The same principle applies to man” – Sai Baba

If you use the following foundations in your relationship, you will have an incredibly long-lasting, happy and successful relationship.

1.   Laugh together

Laughter is a very powerful thing!

Did you know that laughter is even used as a form of therapy? This is because it has such a positive effect on us.

When you laugh with your partner, it shows that you enjoy each others company, feel positive towards one another and actually “like” each other.

“It is impossible for you to be angry and laugh at the same time. Anger and laughter are mutually exclusive and you have the power to choose either”. – Wayne Dyer

That’s right, laughter is a choice! And it involves choosing to feel happy towards each other, and not angry or negative.

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All too often you see couples who are never happy when they are together. They have become frustrated and are used to each other. And sadly, they lose the excitement and the appreciation they once shared for each other.

If you can relate to this, and would like to bring life and joy back into your relationship, then chose laughter.

Choose to make your partner laugh at least once a day.

If you want to, you can even think of it as relationship therapy, since laughing is a real form of therapy!

2.   Know each others love language

Did you know that we all have different love languages?

Love languages are the different ways that we all communicate and understand love.

Your love language and that of your partner can be as different as Chinese and English!

So it is absolutely essential that you learn your partners love language.

“We must be willing to learn our spouses love language if we are to be effective communicators of love” – Dr Gary Chapman

Here are the 5 different love languages:

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  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Receiving gifts
  • Acts of service
  • Physical touch

We all have one or two major love languages.

Here is an example of the importance of understanding your partners love language:

  • If your love language is physical touch, a kiss will speak louder than 1000 words – but,
  • If your love language is words of affirmation, one kind or affirming word will speak louder than 1000 kisses

You might be showing love to your partner in every way that you know how and still, they might be telling you that you don’t love them enough. Well, it’s no secret anymore! You need to learn their love language.

3.   Understand love as an action

As you can probably tell from the above point, love is an action.

Love is understanding how your partner feels loved, and then doing it.

People often think that love is a feeling, and that once the feeling disappears – there is little hope for their relationship.

Well it’s absolutely not true!

“Love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is a fruit of love, the verb” – Stephen Covey

This quote shows us that “feeling in love” is just as much of a choice as “Loving as an action”.

When you choose to love your partner (even if they didn’t do anything to deserve it), you are showing them real love. Love, that is unconditional and that does not rely on them loving you first.

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If you view “love as a feeling”, you will both be waiting and waiting – and you still won’t “feel it”.

So understand love as an action and a choice, and then do it! You will have an incredibly happy and fulfilling relationship because of it.

4.    Don’t cross the line

This is one of the most important things to remember for a happy and successful relationship.

There are certain things that we never want to say or do to our partner. These are things that you would consider “crossing the line”.

Maybe for you “crossing the line” means:

  • Losing your temper
  • Yelling or screaming at your partner
  • Saying I hate you
  • Saying something unkind to your partner
  • Using manipulation to get what you want
  • Going to sleep while being angry at your partner
  • Not saying sorry when you know you should have
  • Getting aggressive towards your partner
  • Bringing your partner down because you were angry

These are all damaging things for a relationship, but if you ask any child “Do your parents do any of these things” most of them would probably say yes to a number of them.

My theory is – that once you “cross the line”, it becomes easier and easier to do it again and again.

You might not like to do those things but in the heat of an argument – if you have already said “I hate you” once before, it becomes a LOT easier to say it again.

If you want a happy and successful relationship, try really hard to not “cross the line”.

Your relationship will be so much better off for it and you will stand a better chance at actually “liking each other” years down the track.

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5.   Apologize often

We all make mistakes. We all say and do damaging things to our relationship.

We are simply human.

Successful relationships rely on us admitting when we are wrong and then moving past it.

Apologizing makes the process of moving on 1000% times faster and easier.

When we don’t apologize when we know we should, we are being proud.

Love is not prideful.

“In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes”  John Ruskin

To have a successful relationship, apologize often – so that you don’t make the mistake of being proud.

Well, that’s it for the 5 foundations every relationship needs to have. If you use these foundations, the chances of having an incredibly happy, long-lasting and successful relationship will increase astronomically. Good luck!

Featured photo credit: @Depositphotos.com/gpointstudio via depositphotos.com

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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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