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Use Compassion and Understanding to Achieve Family Harmony

Use Compassion and Understanding to Achieve Family Harmony

    Every family encounters a situation where the actions or inaction of a particular family member has a negative effect on the rest of the group. These issues are difficult to resolve because families are a fragile and complex unit.

    Because of the complexity, people have to be sensitive and compassionate when dealing with family issues. The family has to come together, discuss the issues and come up with a solution that takes into account the needs of the family member at the center of the issue and the needs of the rest of the family. Otherwise, missteps can result in the division of the family unit and years of emotional bitterness.

    Stage 1: Group

    Creating a group

    Make sure to involve everyone who is suitable and capable of offering help. Otherwise, the group will run the risk of leaving resources on the table and exclude family members who have a vested interest in the process and outcome.

    It is best to avoid the following people when forming a group:

    • Ex-spouses
    • Estranged relatives
    • People who are immersed in family politics
    • Aggressive personality types
    • People with personal agendas

    Commitments

    It is important to make certain commitments during the planning process.

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    These include:

    • To avoid passing judgment on the person in question
    • To be compassionate during every step of the process
    • To avoid personal agendas

    Stage 2: Questions

    The group has to answer some key questions before any planning can take place.

    These include:

    • Why have we gathered?
    • How is this issue affecting the group?
    • How has this issue manifested itself?
    • Why do people want to see this issue confronted and resolved?
    • What are people’s intentions?
    • What are we hoping to achieve by working together?
    • What do you consider a successful outcome?

    It takes time and compromise, but everyone needs to enter the process with the same objectives.

    Stage 3: The Planning Sessions

    Indeed, three factors decide when, and if a plan will be implemented, including a timeline, milestones to measure progress and a regular inventory of resources.

    Having a person agree to the solution and then not being able to deliver on the promises of support and resources, will result in a loss of trust and a fracturing of family unity.

    Other issues to consider when developing a plan:

    · Location for meeting with the family member

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    · Individual commitments

    · Communication between group members

    · Available Resources

    • Friends
    • Programs
    • Money

    Stage 4: The Agenda

    The Agenda will guide the group during their meeting with the relative.

    It includes:

    • Statement of Love and Support
    • The intention of the meeting
    • Solutions
    • Plan of Action
    • Possibility of Failure
    • Agreement

    It is a systematic run down of everything that the group has discussed and agreed upon. Also, leave enough room on the agenda to make notes and make changes to agenda items during the confrontation.

    Stage 5: The meeting

    Opening Statement of Love and Support

    Begin the conversation with a statement that demonstrates the group’s commitment to helping the person in question

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    Intention of the Meeting

    Ask for everyone’s cooperation and make it clear that everyone has a right to be heard without interruption. Also, remind everyone of the importance of the meeting and how it is in everyone’s best interest to act in a polite and considerate manner.

    Solutions

    Review the agenda at the start of the meeting and summarize the process, debate and hard work that led everyone to this meeting.

    List solutions and review the proposed timelines for these solutions. Permit extended pauses between points to allow for positive and negative feedback and commit to addressing them during the meeting.

    Adapting Solutions

    Discussion and debate will reveal new information and the group has to adapt to any drastic revelations. Nevertheless, the process from beginning to end has to be democratic, so that everyone adheres to the decisions made by the group.

    Also, allow the relative to contribute their own resources, including supportive friends, medical or work support.

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    Be Supportive without Surrendering

    Be attentive to any aggression or negativity on either side and do not let the group splinter. A loss of unity will allow the relative to question the groups commitment and the validly of their concerns.

    In periods of heightened tension, the more self aware, mindful and respected people in the group have to step forward to manage the situation.

    Take breaks and regroup. Everyone involved will need to be reassured of the purpose of the meeting.

    Negative Outcome

    Every family and situation is unique, so even the best intentions and hard work might end in failure. In extreme cases, the group might decide to ostracize the individual, use medical intervention or take legal action.

    Agreement

    Once the group has reached a consensus, an amended Master Agenda will act as a contract between everyone involved.

    Every individual will commit him or herself to the agreement and guarantee they will do their part to fulfill the contract.

    Taking on family issues is no different from any other complex problem that a community might face. The group must find a common ground and draw on each other’s strength to find solutions. Ultimately, committing themselves to a common purpose.

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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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