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How To Have Healthy Relationships When You Come From A Broken Family

How To Have Healthy Relationships When You Come From A Broken Family

How do you have healthy relationships when you come from a broken family? This is a question most of us can relate to. Sometimes we can refer to our families as dysfunctional, but learning how to deal with dysfunction can give us the upper hand when it comes to sorting any family drama. To you, a broken family may mean adoption, parent-child turbulence, sibling competition, divorce, or the loss of a loved one, but by embracing your family status (however that may look), you’ll find yourself building stronger, healthier, relationships for the future.

 

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1. You Need To Accept Your Past To Have Healthy Relationships

Okay, so maybe you had a complicated childhood, a rough start to a marriage, or even trouble with the in-laws. These altercations do not and should not define you. Accepting that you had to manage these kinds of encounters not only makes you a stronger person, you’re also wiser for it. The biggest feat to overcoming any broken family situation is knowing that you survived! Although your past can make you feel as if you are withered and jaded (and you have every right to feel that way), step outside of the past because it’s time to live in the present. Life is always just beginning, and healthy relationships are just around the corner. 

2. You Need To Recognize Your Weaknesses To Have Healthy Relationships

We all have weaknesses, it’s a fact. The biggest hurtle is to recognize them, after that, managing them can become a lot simpler. Admitting feelings like jealousy to yourself does not showcase your weakness, but only displays your strengths. It’s time to stop building a wall of excuses and address the root of your problems. Once you get the hang of accepting your weaknesses, managing them won’t feel so intimidating, and all the triggers that once set you off with your loved ones, will soon leave you calm and in-control to build your healthiest relationships yet! 

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3. You Need To Embrace Your Strengths To Have Healthy Relationships

Sometimes in broken families you lose touch with your strengths and what you can actually bring to the table. Right now, it doesn’t matter what anyone has said to you in previous altercations. Today is a new day and once you begin to see your worth and embrace your strengths, others will begin to see your worth too. Healthy relationships start with respect and acknowledgment of each other’s positive characteristics. If you are struggling to find the good inside of yourself, grab a paper and pen and make a list. Think of the things you are good at, think of your talents, and your character traits. It will add up quickly that you are an awesome person to have around and you should be thanked for simply being you. 

4. You Need To Learn To Truly Listen To Others To Have Healthy Relationships

Listening is your greatest tool when building healthy relationships. It helps you practice empathy and compassion which is very important to when communicating to one another. Having the ability to give your undivided attention shows love and appreciation to people, and it works best when it’s reciprocated. It’s easy to always be the one talking, nagging, complaining, or bragging, so when you can exercise self-control and just sit and listen without interrupting the ones you care about, you bring unimaginable amounts of value to the relationship. Everyone wants to be heard, but it’s a gift only a few receive. 

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5. You Need To Control Reactionary Words and Actions To Have Healthy Relationships

In the past, maybe you fought and argued, maybe you ran and hid, how about that really nasty word or accusation you made? Now, in the future be pro-active and use self-control when addressing sticky situations. The best of relationships can break the moment someone feels accused. Relationships are not about blaming or hurting, they are about unity and compromise. We can’t expect to spit fire and get soap bubbles back. Mind what you say, say what you mean, and respect will remain mutual. Words may not break bones, but they sure can kinder souls. 

6. You Need To Respect The Power Of Trust To Have Healthy Relationships

Some people from broken families struggle with relationships because they have yet to feel a since of stability. A part of building a relationship with anyone is being honest and trustworthy. Each party of the relationship needs to feel as if they can trust one another, whether that’s telling a friend a secret in confidentiality, or giving your heart entirely to a lover. Without trust you both become skeptical of one another, as you would be to a stranger on the street. If you’ve lost trust in people because of your broken family, just remember that not all people are the same, and some do deserve the chance to be trusted.

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 7. You Need To Comprehend Teamwork To Have Healthy Relationships

No matter what, every relationship is 50/50. No mistake, decision, or action is just one person’s doing. In relationships most people do things based on the circumstances of the other person. You need to put in what you want out of a relationship, and sometimes that means admitting that you were wrong every now and then, crushing your ego for a smile in return, or scarfing your want for someone else’s need.

8. You Need To Know When History Is Repeating Itself To Have Healthy Relationships

You’ve seen it over and over again, and you can’t figure out how to stop it. It seems as if poor relationships have followed you around your entire life, but you can’t blame yourself for that, you only know what you know. If you happened to have grown up in an environment were relationships were taken for granted, and bad habits were of the norm, the most important thing you can do for yourself is recognize and avoid them. It’s not always about letting go of relationships that don’t help you grow, because it shouldn’t be about using people until they are no good to you anymore. It’s about knowing when to say enough is enough, because the relationship is stumping your growth. If you’re noticing a reoccurring trend that is obviously not working for you, maybe you have to be the one to break the link for new beginnings.

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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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