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Everyone Makes Mistakes, This Is How You Can Love and Forgive Yourself

Everyone Makes Mistakes, This Is How You Can Love and Forgive Yourself

It’s undeniable–we all make mistakes. It’s in our nature as humans to fail, whether it’s in our work environment, our family life, or our relationships. We are all doomed to disappoint ourselves at some point, but that doesn’t mean we have to succumb to self-deprecation. Living with a mistake is difficult, and learning to forgive yourself afterwards is even harder, I know. However, if you continue to let your messes define instead of better you, then you’ll only be making your life more troublesome than it would be otherwise. Instead of sobbing into a carton of Ben & Jerry’s and hoping the spoonfuls of milky sugar will somehow take the pain of the past away, follow these guaranteed steps toward self-forgiveness and you’ll be on the right road to recovery in no time. Who knows, you might just find the motivation to close the ice cream lid in here too.

1. Reflect on why you did what you did.

There’s always a reason behind any conscious wrongdoing. Always. Often we get so caught up in our emotions following the incident that we forget to acknowledge the causes leading up to it. If you hit another car while driving, think about what you were doing in the moments before the accident. Were you flipping through radio stations? Were you checking your phone? If not, chances are something else distracted you or blocked your line of vision. Take time to really think about these things and write them down on a piece of paper. It helps to identify the small details before you start looking at the big picture again.

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2. Spend some quality time with yourself.

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    The one thing I’ve found that continuously helps me cope with anything I’m experiencing is taking time to truly be alone, especially when I’m in the self-hatred phase. However, this doesn’t mean sit on your couch and binge-watch TV shows on Netflix. This means get out, go somewhere, and do something with yourself. Call it a “me date” if you must. I find taking runs or walks alone to be the best type of non-prescription medicine, but not everyone finds their therapy in nature. As long as you go spend time alone doing something you love, you can’t go wrong from there.

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    3. Talk to someone who has gone through something similar.

    Don’t get me wrong, spending time alone is great. But it’s not the only thing you should do to deal with your troubles. You need to talk to someone who understands what you’re going through, or find a forum online discussing a related issue to yours. You can even go to a counselor! I promise you, it’s not going to help to keep your feelings to yourself. People are always there to lend you good advice. You just need to seek it out.

    4. Be honest with yourself and those you may have hurt.

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      The most difficult task, besides self-forgiveness, is often the act of admitting the mistake. It’s so easy to come up with excuses or find ways to skirt around the subject. However, at the end of the day, honesty is the best policy and the one that will ultimately set you free. So be open with yourself and the people you may have pained along the way. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable even if it means the very worst. This goes back to the biblical saying, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” If someone wronged you, you’d want to know so why shouldn’t the same apply the other way around? Think about it. Karmic retribution is a thing.

      5. Have some good ol’ fashioned fun.

      So you’re feeling pretty down and probably guilty. You feel as though it’s only just that you take time to mope about the problem at hand, but the question is for how long? Yes, everyone is allowed to feel the way they’re feeling and act accordingly to their emotions. However, you can’t beat yourself up forever. At some point, you have to tell yourself that what’s past is past and nothing you do right now is going to change that. Instead of continuously reflecting on what could have been done to prevent the mistake, give yourself a break and go have some fun. Go to the movies, hang out with friends, take that exercise class you’ve been dying to try, and for a moment, focus on the present. After all, life is short. Why spend it unhappy?

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      6. Seek self-improvement.

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        The last and final step of the self-forgiveness process comes as a no-brainer, but one we all need to remind ourselves of. When we do something that conflicts with our values or ideals, we get so wrapped up in the temporary nuisance of it all that we forget to see the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak–that light being the result of our reparation. The only way to truly learn to forgive ourselves for mistakes we’ve made is to make amends as necessary. Take your faults as opportunities to seek betterment and work on them from there. It’s not easy, and no one ever said it would be, but learning from failure is what makes us all healthier and happier people in the end. I guarantee that if you start to see your mistakes for the positive change they inspire, you’re bound to find success later on.

        Featured photo credit: Forgive./Tony Webster via flic.kr

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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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