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How to Effectively Tend to the Relationships in Your Life

How to Effectively Tend to the Relationships in Your Life

We all have relationships with a number of people, including wives, husbands, parents, children, brothers and sisters. When you interact with so many different people and personalities, clashes are bound to occur. Every person has different ideologies, values, and beliefs. Maintaining healthy relationships takes work. Here are some helpful tips on how to tend to the various relationships in your life.

Give time.

The people with whom you are related to need your company very often. They might not show it, but they do crave time with you. Start today. Take some time to sit and talk with the people in your life. They will appreciate the time you take to nurture the relationship you have.

Listen patiently and speak less.

Many of us do not realize that one who listens well can speak well. Listen patiently to what those you care about are saying, rather than breaking in before they finish talking. Listening carefully helps you grasp their point of view more effectively and also gives the other person a sense that they are important to you. Listen without thinking about your response and you’ll truly hear what they are trying to tell you.

Consider other points of view.

One-sided thinking is extremely harmful in any relationship. It is essential to consider the other person’s point of view in any conversation or situation. Many times thinking from your perspective alone is not sufficient to yield the desired results. There could be other aspects associated with a situation. Always take into consideration the point of view of everyone involved.

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Learn when to let go.

There will be times where it will be beneficial for everyone involved to let go of certain issues. Everyone does not think in the same way. The expectation of bringing every issue to a resolution is futile. So just let go. Move on positively and leave it to time to decide the results.

Consider other people’s priorities.

You cannot clap with a single hand. If someone somewhere is keeping your priorities on top and moving on, then there will be a point in time where you need to give importance to their priorities and happiness. This is essential for a healthy relationship.

Be kind and show respect.

Show humility every day. Learn to be kind to everyone including those who are related to you. An arrogant attitude can never stand very long. A healthy relationship demands respect for the relation and even for all the individuals related.

Allow others space to make their own decisions.

Avoid interfering or poking your nose in each and every matter. Your support is needed but everyone needs their liberty and space. Let them go forward with their decisions, and be there for them whenever they need you.

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Let go of those who have gone.

Those who have gone have their own liberty to think for themselves. Let them go and allow yourself to move on develop and maintain healthy future relationships. Sticking to the past will not help you in long run.

Do what you say and say what you do.

Your actions and words must be synchronized. Say only what you can do and what you have already said must be done anyhow. Action and words in opposite directions develop a negative perception of your personality.

Give everyone a fair chance in your relationships.

You might not always completely understand the other person, and they might need time to build up trust for their own self in your mind. Give them a fair chance to place their ideas completely and precisely. This is very important as we do not realize that reality can be very different from our perceptions. Even we need time to understand and realize things in their true form.

Accept people just the way they are and not the way you want them to be.

Everyone cannot think  or act in the way we might want them to. It is better to accept them the way they are. If we cannot, then we are going to get ourselves in trouble. Instead of assuming their ideology is incorrect, improve your character in a way that inspires them to become like you.

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Try to interpret intentions in a positive way.

In certain situations, it could get difficult for you to understand the other person’s perspective clearly. You would feel they are wrong but somewhere at the roots, they care for you and want you to beware of any difficulty you could face ahead. Before reaching a conclusion, try to analyze the intentions of the person positively. Look for that positivity in their intentions and you will find your way.

Learn to ask for forgiveness and forgive others when needed.

Forgiveness is the most effective tool in any person’s life, and it is equally difficult to hold onto. In relationships, learn to forgive your partner or those you have relationships with. You’ll feel lighter and stronger. This quality will help you become humble and kind. Additionally, do not hesitate to ask for forgiveness when the situation arises. Everyone makes mistake. Put aside your ego and say, “I’m sorry.”

Reduce your expectations.

The day your expectations do not get fulfilled, you get angry and wild. Why? It is because you expected something and wished for its fulfillment? A truly healthy relationship means giving without asking for anything in return. You can call it the purest form of love; love for anyone with whom you are related to.

Start expressing your positive feelings more often.

If you love someone or care for them, then say it or find a means to express this emotion. Those you love might not know how much you value them; so express yourself effectively.

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Start practicing these steps today. Things will not change overnight. It is a process that needs patience to yield results. These points seem very simple, yet we many times forget and keep wondering what is missing from our relationships. So start contemplating on these points today. I’m sure things will change for you and the difference will be sweet.

Featured photo credit: beautiful little boy and girl hug/Katsiaryna Drobysheva 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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