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7 Things That Make A Woman Beautiful That Makeup Can’t Do

7 Things That Make A Woman Beautiful That Makeup Can’t Do

Many women think that the key to beauty lies in the bottom of their makeup bag. There are a million and one reasons why women believe this: they’re judged on their appearance, pop culture and mass media support those judgements, and big business makes its money off shamelessly promoting the before and after effects of their miraculous products. The truth is, being beautiful doesn’t come from a lipstick tube, mascara wand, or blush brush. The following seven factors create a more lasting impression than any amount of makeup ever could:

1. Her passions

A woman who is without passion is one dull woman. At times life can feel like a Mack truck, ready to roll over us all at a moment’s notice. It’s hard for a woman to slow down and take time to do the things that truly bring her joy, but when she neglects the part of herself that ignites her, then she is living a passionless existence. A woman who takes the time to follow her passions, whatever they may be, understands that life is too precious to speed along without enjoying the ride. A woman who enjoys all that life has to offer, not just her partner or her relationships, is a woman who others admire. Why? Because passion is contagious. Watching someone pursue her dreams is just about the most beautiful experience human beings can have.

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2. Her compassion

A cold-hearted woman may love herself, but who loves her back? Think about this. If a woman is incapable of feeling for others, who will feel for her? Compassion, whether one is a mother, lover, colleague, mentor, or friend, is the adhesive glue that holds relationships together. Though self-absorbed celebrities are splayed over the front covers of the magazine rack, most men don’t find narcissists all that appealing. The reality is, if a woman loves herself more than she is capable of loving another, the only beauty she can boast of having is skin deep. A woman who understands how to give and receive love is much more desirable than a woman who has none to spare.

3. Her mind

There is a popular myth in our culture that a beautiful woman isn’t smart. In fact, this stereotype condemns women in two ways because the implication is that smart women aren’t beautiful. This is a lose-lose scenario. If a woman looks too appealing then she can’t have anything going on upstairs, and if she “has her nose in a book” then she can’t be a looker. A woman who doesn’t take time to cultivate her mind is like a writer who never reads books. Neglecting one’s intellect is similar to shouting, “I don’t need to understand the world — the world needs to understand me!” Life doesn’t work like this. The pursuit of knowledge and truth is not only attractive, but essential to our existence. Knowledge is empowerment and empowerment is sexy.

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4. Her fun-loving spirit

Ever tried to have fun with Debbie Downer? It’s really hard to share the same space with a Negative Nancy and here’s why: No one loves a mope. This is not to say that a woman must be Positive Peggie all the time. A woman can and will taste disappointment in her life just like everyone else. The point is, a sense of adventure and appreciation for all that life has to offer is more attractive than relentlessly sticking to routine and taking life’s opportunities for granted. If a woman can’t relax enough to take a spontaneous walk with her child or sing her favorite song in the shower, who wants to join her? Her child doesn’t dare ask her, and her husband doesn’t dare climb in the back of the tub — capiche?

5. Her resilience

Nothing is more beautiful than a woman who refuses to give up. Tenacity, whether in one’s career, marriage, or physical health, is inspiring. The world loves a fighter. Please don’t misunderstand. This isn’t a call to arms or some sort of ultra-feminist mantra. Fighting over what to have for dinner or which movie to see afterwards, that’s just not pretty. Give in a little, girl. Resilience isn’t about a woman’s control or refusal to cede control over to another. It’s about believing that life can never defeat her unless she allows herself to become defeated. Accepting the worst or the best in equal stride, acting in such a way that either outcome will not control her, that’s beautiful.

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6. Her confidence

Speaking of beauty, let’s talk about boasting. There’s a fine line between bragging and being confident. Bragging is when a woman deliberately describes herself in a self-congratulatory manner so that others will do just that: congratulate her. Seeking out praise for the sake of one’s ego isn’t just selfish — it’s ugly. Confidence isn’t about wanting others to notice us and wanting them to tell us how good we look, speak, think, or act. Confidence is about a woman feeling proud of how she looks, speaks, thinks, or acts. A woman who doesn’t need other people’s reassurance to help her feel this pride in herself is infinitely more appealing than a woman who incessantly seeks others’ approval.

7. Her energy

Finally, the most beautiful quality about a beautiful woman can be summed up by the total effect of all of the above. It’s her energy. A woman who has an unmatchable vitality for life is and should be idolized. Set her in stone or marble, if she will stay still long enough. Cast her in bronze, something timeless. When a woman follows her passion, shows compassion, pursues her intellect, keeps a sense of adventure, refuses to give up, and believes herself to be worthy, then her energy will be the spark that lights up everyone and everything around her.

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Featured photo credit: young girl among dandelions summer day via shutterstock.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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