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How and Why You Should Stop Changing Others

How and Why You Should Stop Changing Others

By trying or wanting to change others, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You were put into this world to make a mark for yourself, not for others. The key to resist the urge to change others is simply to focus upon yourself.

Here are some ways to do that:

1. You are the only one who can change.

You are here in this life to be the best you can be. Develop the mental strength to improve your own weaknesses and change your own self-sabotaging habits. You can only change yourself because you’re the only one who knows your heart, your thoughts, your past, your struggles and your fears. Working on these things are what promotes change. Therefore, when you try and change someone else, you set yourself up for failure because you don’t know the true thoughts and feelings of others as well as you know yourself. For this reason, it is impossible to change another person.

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2. You need to identify at least one thing that you love about you.

Start by identifying one thing about you that is an absolute strength. Cling to this every single day. Find ways in work and personal life to improve this quality. Use it to your advantage by finding ways to use it to improve your life situation. Some examples include being a good salesperson, a good writer, a good marketer, or whatever. Play to this one strength more than your other strengths and find ways to coordinate your business and personal life to fit this strength in.

3. You need to write down your dreams and passions.

What is your passion? When you wake up in the morning, what are some of the things that you want to accomplish? Write these down. As you go about your days, keep these things in the back of your mind and find little baby steps to take that will pave the way toward some of these things. Think about them every single morning and make a commitment to look for at least one tiny thing you can do each day to move you in the direction of these passions. Don’t think about others or what they’re doing wrong. Just focus on you and what you can do to improve your life.

4. You must accept people for who and where they are in life right now.

One of the worst things you can do to yourself is wish that the people in your life were different, or had made different choices. You cannot control the destiny of others. Whether you condone the choices of others or not, accept them exactly for who they are and where they’re at today.

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5. You should connect with the feeling of relief.

Instead of looking for ways to manipulate others to change, look at them with gratitude. Find their strengths and praise them. Be grateful that you don’t possess the weaknesses they do, and if you do possess them, find solace in the fact that you have the power to overcome those weaknesses…in your life, but not their lives.

6. You must accept your situation and circumstances as they are.

Acceptance brings peace. Peace suffocates resistance and resentment. When you’re finally able to accept your life circumstances, you’ll be able to dig deep and take the steps necessary to change those circumstances. Go easy on yourself. Come to terms with past mistakes and choices that weren’t very wise and use them to catapult you forward.

7. You must deflect drama.

The best way to deflect drama is to mind your own business. Don’t gossip about other people, or repeat their personal struggles. Using your energy in this manner drains you so that you’re not as apt to work on your own goals. In addition, never allow others to drag you into their problems or fight their battles for them. Most of all, avoid negative confrontation. All three of the aforementioned circumstances suck your energy and take the focus off of you.

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8. You should revise your goals often to stay on track.

Every so often go back and look at the list you made of your passions. Take stock. Are you actively taking baby steps to work toward these? If not, realign your focus so that each day you’re taking at least one tiny step in the direction of one or more of these.

9. You need to have patience with others.

Part of accepting others as they are, as well as accepting your own life situation is to have patience and empathy for others. Don’t waste energy getting angry or intolerant of others’ mistakes. At the same time, give yourself some approval and encouragement and be patient with yourself.

10. You must forgive.

In order to preserve your energy and keep a positive attitude, always remember to forgive as many times as you’re offended. If you can’t do this for the other person, do it for yourself. When you find it difficult to forgive, try and look at the admirable qualities in those that offend you. Compliment and encourage these qualities in them and you’ll fine that in time, it’s easier to forgive and all you will see are the positive attributes. By doing this, you’re deflecting negative thoughts and feelings. This leaves your subconscious with positive energy that you can then focus on yourself with.

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As you can see, the trick to stop changing others is to focus on you and you only. Take baby steps each day and gradually incorporate each one of these steps into your routine. Pretty soon, not only will your frustration and intolerance of others disintegrate, but you will find it much easier and more productive to just focus on your dreams and your passion. These are mental skills that you can easily develop over time and drastically change your path in life.

Featured photo credit: http://www.morguefile.com/creative/ecerroni via morguefile.com

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Lynn Silva

Lynn Silva helps solo and entrepreneurs develop mental skills for business.

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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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