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What You Can Learn When Someone Breaks Up With You

What You Can Learn When Someone Breaks Up With You

Going through a breakup is never easy — especially when you’re the one being broken up with. It can make you feel empty and unworthy of love and connection. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way if you don’t want it to be. I’m not saying that you are not going to feel pain from the loss you are experiencing, but I am promising that if you look at the glass as half full instead of half empty, you will open up the door for joy. Instead of allowing yourself to wallow and play the victim, let’s take a look at some of the lessons you could be learning from this experience:

1. Acceptance

Learning how to accept that change is a part of life and that nothing lasts forever, you will be able to overcome and easily move with the ebb and flow of life. When we learn to accept life for how it is and understand that there is a beginning and ending to everything, we will be able to clearly see when an experience is coming to an end and let go gracefully. Acceptance will allow us live the most fulfilling life possible — without trying to control and change people and situations — resulting in more fulfilling relationships.

2. About Who You Really Are

This is the time to practice self-love and compassion. It is time to dig deep, wrestle with those internal demons and ask yourself two questions:

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  • What was I not getting out of this relationship that I need in my next relationship?
  • What was I not doing for myself in this relationship?

Take the time now to identify your needs and learn how to ask yourself first “what do I need in order to take care of myself in this moment?” Ask yourself why this relationship ended:

  • Is it from a lack of boundaries?
  • Is it from a lack of communication?
  • Is it from a lack of understanding?

Do not finger-point and blame, but instead ask these questions to try to learn from this experience and become a better you. This is part of the process of learning how to truly love yourself. Until you learn to truly love yourself, you will not know how to love someone else. You can only give what you have, after all…

3. How To Deal With Grief

There is nothing easy about going through the cycle of grief. It’s like an emotional roller coaster ride — tons of highs and lows, and you cant get off until the ride is over. It’s not a pleasant experience, but it is something we must learn to deal with. We are given the opportunity to try out different tools to figure out what works best for us and helps us get through these highs and lows with as much ease as possible.

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Through this process of grief, we will learn how to bounce back and prove to ourselves how strong and resilient we really are. We will also learn that self-love and compassion go a long way.

4. Who Your True Supporters Are

I think it’s pretty normal to question the loyalties of your loved ones from time to time. But have you ever noticed that when things really hit the fan, there’s no need to question who is going to stay by your side? They just show up. This is your support system — take the time to thank them and be present with them. These are the moments that make us feel connected, important and loved; it is also the time we need it the most.

5. Over Time, All Wounds Heal

Pain does not last forever. Neither does heartbreak. Practice leaning into the discomfort and allowing yourself to be present in whatever you are feeling. One day at a time, things will get better and the clouds will lift.

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6. Forgiveness

This is a biggie, and an important virtue to learn if you want to lead a happy life. Holding onto resentment and anger is only destructive to you – no one else. There is an immense amount of freedom that comes with being able to forgive. The first step in forgiveness is to be able to accept things as they are and let go.

When I talk about forgiveness, I am not only referring to forgiving your ex. I suggest you begin by forgiving yourself. Again, you can not give something you do not have, so how can you forgive others if you can not forgive yourself? Let go of the guilt and those thoughts of “shoulda, coulda, woulda,” and forgive.

7. Gratitude

If you want to feel joy again, you must learn how to will gratitude. It may be hard, but gratitude makes the space necessary for miracles happen. Take the time to tell your loved ones you are grateful for their love and support. Also, take the time to thank your Higher Power for the lessons you are learning. One of my favorite daily meditations, by Melody Beattie, reads:

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“Are you hanging on to a resentment for that ex or a friend from days long past? Are you still harboring bitterness about a job or business deal gone bad? Are you holding on to a part of your life that was painful with bitterness and resentment? Are you holding on to a particularly good time or cycle you had with someone, afraid that if things change and you let the past go and come into now, things won’t be quite as good?

Maybe you needed that relationship to teach you about a part of yourself. Maybe you learned compassion or more about what you wanted from life. Maybe that friend, even though he or she isn’t in your life anymore, helped you open up a part of yourself that was shut down and needed to be activated and set free. What about those painful experiences? You learned something, probably a lot, from them, too. And that experience that was so fulfilling? That, too, needs to be let go of if we’re going to open our hearts to the new.

Apply a dose of gratitude. Thank the experience for being in your life. Thank that ex, or that friend, or that business, or that boss. Thank them over and over again in your mind. Deliberately sit down and figure out what the lessons and gifts were. If you can’t see them, ask to be shown.

Move a step closer to letting go and becoming free by being grateful for how that person or experience enriched your life.” –Melody Beattie

Featured photo credit: EliJerma via flickr.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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