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How to Not Let Words Hurt You

How to Not Let Words Hurt You

    “You’re fat.”

    “You’re ugly.”

    “Is that the best you can do?”

    “You suck.”

    The echoes of what someone else has said about you keeps repeating over and over in your head. You can’t seem to shut it out.

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    The worst part is, it has made you upset or extremely angered by that person who said those mean things about you. That’s all you feel and think about all day. Your day is ruined.

    Has this ever happened to you?

    We’re bound to meet people who hurt us

    During our lifetime, we meet all sorts of people. But not all of them end up being our friends. We all have different values and principles, so when we meet someone who differs in terms of viewing life, there’s bound to be conflict. And some are all too ready to express their disagreement, however nasty they want it to be.

    You may be caring too much about what others think.

    This is the underlying issue which a lot of us suffer from. We constantly care about what others think and how they see us. A lot of us do not like to be judged and we worry about the image we’re portraying to others. It may sound like a legitimate thing to do, as we do live in a society where we’ve to play by the rules, otherwise we may be shunned upon.

    However, how much is too much? Why care about what others think to the point that it ruins our day and even holds us back to the things we truly want to do?

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    That is why the words which come out from others’ mouths hurt us. We let them hurt us. And there’s no point in that when it comes to our emotional well-being.

    How to not let others’ words hurt you

    These are the steps I take to making sure I don’t get hurt by others and what they say. It may not be the perfect solution, but the way I see it, they are the basic tips which, when applied, can actually surprise you with the results you want.

    Replace it with a positive thought

    When someone insults you or say something which you completely disagree with, it keeps repeating in our heads over and over. The reason it keeps going through in our heads is that, more than not, we are taught to deal head on with it. We are told to rationalize it, reason with it and even analyze it…which ends up being an ironic cycle as you passively deal with the thought, which is harming you in the first place.

    Simply realize that these are just mere thoughts going through your head. Replace the thought with a more positive one. It could be a good memory, an optimistic view of the future or some cool scenario you’d really like to live. Maybe you’d call that wishful thinking, but if they’re just mere thoughts, why use negative ones and let them ruin your day?

    Don’t let the hurtful words of others take control of your mind. Your mind is your mind, so control your thoughts and cheer yourself up.

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    Retort their words

    A lot of times people’s words hurt us because we did not do a thing about it. We didn’t retort and make a stand for ourselves.

    You may think, “Oh I just didn’t want to cause trouble,” or “It just wasn’t worth it”. But you may not realize that you’re simply repressing yourself. And when you’re repressed, you feel a void. That’s where the hurt comes from.

    To not let others hurt you, you ought to stand up for yourself and make a retort when you disagree with what they say. This allows for expression, which pretty much helps to clear up the negativity inside you. Trust me — it will make you feel a lot better when you express yourself. You will at least know that you did your best and everything you could against things you disagree with.

    Avoidance

    The last tip is to simply avoid people who’re there to hurt you.

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    The problem here is that people always have an excuse to why they hang out with people they don’t like. Some people hang out with people they dislike because of their job or they don’t want to come across as petty. The way I see it, you ought to take responsibility for your own life. You may have your own commitments, but it doesn’t mean you can’t make the effort to surround yourself with positive people, which is something people forget.

    So forget about commitments or living up to expectations for a second. Change your surroundings instead and get positive people along. It will make a difference and people aren’t going to be saying hurtful things to you.

    Getting hurt by others’ words is a very common issue all of us face in life. Unless you’re extremely positive in life and totally focused, it’s hard to not let others bother you. Hopefully these tips will make a big difference. Give them a try and let me know in the comments what you’ve done (or are doing) to not let words hurt you.

    (Photo credit: Abusive Words Hurt via Shutterstock)

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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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