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When You Start to Let Go of Your Past, These 10 Things Will Happen

When You Start to Let Go of Your Past, These 10 Things Will Happen

We have all experienced the loss of something significant that has caused us great sadness and pain. Maybe you are holding on to a relationship you know in your heart is not healthy, hoping it will turn back into how things were in the beginning, before all the pain and hurt.

Starting to let go of your past in relationships, or anything significant, is one of the hardest things you will experience in life. We are comfortable with the known, and we will often choose known suffering over an uncertain future. We resist change and hold onto the past often long after it has quit serving us.

So, maybe you need a push to view letting go of your past in a new light. Below are ten wonderful things that will happen to you once you start to let go of your past.

Notice the phrase “start to let go of your past.” Letting go is a process that takes time. But the sooner you move through the process of letting go of what is hurting you, the sooner better days are to come for you!

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1. You will realize a new positive version of yourself.

“I use memories, but I will not allow memories to use me.” – Deepak Chopra

Our brains are fascinating combinations of pure miracle, computer processor and organ tissues. But did you know that the memories that you hold are not necessarily all that accurate? Did you know that your memories can actually be altered and defined by you today? You have the power through what you choose to focus on to change your future. When we are experiencing a negative aspect of life, our brains scan the past looking for similar memories to match up with this, confirming the current negativity. That voice that says “You always end up in these bad relationships. Why do you always do this?” That comes from this filtering and matching process. Once you let go of what is hurting you, your mind and memories will work on creating a powerful new positive version of your life.

2. You will make room for the new.

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” – Eckhart Tolle

When you keep replaying the past you are forfeiting your present. Once you decide to let go of the past, however, you become  drawn towards new goals, new visions and new people that will lead you to an exciting fresh chapter of growth in your life. Our lives our not meant to be static. Change does happen for a reason, and the less resistance you create against change, more growth is available for you. Think of the process as a tree that has to drop it’s leaves and become bare. The reason the tree is stripped down to it’s core is the miraculous coming of Spring. New growth that is powerful, beautiful and necessary for that tree’s survival follows the winter. No, we are not trees. But we are living the same type of growth and rebirth cycle all through our lives. Embrace the truth of this, and come to peace with it. Think back over your life. How many changes did you despise at the time that you now can look back on with appreciation for how they helped you grow?

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3. You will handle new obstacles with grace.

“The past should be a learning experience not an everlasting punishment. What’s done is done.” – Unknown

Once you move through a difficulty life has thrown at you, it will enable you to handle the next one with even more grace and ease. It’s a learned skill to let go of your past and move on. Think back to how difficult break-ups were early in life. If you’ve had some dating experience, the ability to let go and move on gets easier. Trusting yourself gets easier the more you experience it. Future change and more experiences that require letting go lie ahead guaranteed. The more practiced and comfortable we are with this process, the more we will grow gracefully.

4. You will learn to love yourself first.

We all want to feel loved in our relationships. But the key to feeling loved is actually to love yourself first. No amount of actions or absence of actions or words of another can fix a lack of love for yourself. We stay in relationships that are not great for us because we are searching for something outside of ourselves when we really need to be finding that inside ourselves first. Turn inward during this time of letting go.

5. You will inspire others.

Without even knowing it, you will touch and inspire others. When I meet smiling, kind-hearted, generous, tender souls that I know have gone through great loss, I am always awed in their presence. These people are proof positive that recovery can, and does, occur if you let it. When you let go of your past you will own that as a part of who you are and positively show others in your life how to let go with grace. Early in my life, I experienced an abusive relationship. I don’t enjoy revisiting those memories. But I do so if I feel it will help another in need and inspire them to think differently.

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6. You will grow closer to your destiny.

We are all here for a purpose. Every experience, each hardship, every burden, even all our hurts have shaped and formed us into who we are supposed to be at this very moment. We are each here to balance out the universe in a very unique, and intricate, way that only we can fulfill. All of your experiences are creating the very fiber of your being, bringing you closer to what you came here to learn. Believe that each learning experience is meant to draw you closer to learning your life lesson. It is not necessary that we view each experience as positive or negative, but each experience is necessary for our growth to unfold.

7. You will naturally attract what you need.

“Abundance is a process of letting go; that which is empty can receive.” – Bryant H. McGill

The piece of your past that no longer fits in your life came to you at a time when you were a much different person than who you are today. Are you the same person now that you were ten years ago? No, you are a vastly different person right now. You send off different vibrations than who you were before did. Who you are now will naturally draw to you exactly the situation, the person, and the future that you need right now. Know that, trust in that and step into that in faith. What you need will come to you at exactly the right time for you.

8. You will realize that YOU are really all you need.

“You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.” – Eckhart Tolle

Being in a blissful, supportive, loving relationship is wonderful, but do you really think that is the only path to happiness? Look around you. Who do you know who is not in a relationship that seems to have it all together? What do they do differently? They find joy in themselves, their interests, and build a life not dependent on someone else. There is a difference between love and attachment. When we become attached and dependent on another for our own well being and happiness that is not love. Love is without attachment and dependency. Love yourself as much as you love another, and your relationship outcomes will naturally become more positive.

9. You will grow in your empathy for others.

In addition to inspiring others, you will become more in-tune with other’s pain. When we ourselves have experienced pain, loss and disappointment, that enables us to see the same in others. You will have the heart to notice the young girl you work with who is in the midst of an unhealthy relationship. You will have the experience and empathy to feel her pain and to offer support. You have been changed by your experience into a more advanced, soulful person who now can help others with what you’ve learned. We are all here to help each other on this journey and lean on each other for support.

10. You will know in your heart what is good for you.

“Regret doesn’t remind us that we did badly, it reminds us that we know that we could do better.” – Kathryn Schultz

At the end of a relationship we experience things that just aren’t good for us. These can be things inflicted by others that we know are against our core values, or they can be things we put upon ourselves. When we don’t receive the love and support we are looking for, we can turn bitter and angry. When we hold onto grief, we can punish ourselves with guilt. We can only hold onto bitterness, anger, and grief for so long before we have to let go of the pain. We know these burdens are poisoning our heart, and robbing our soul of the joy it needs to thrive. So we must learn to feel what is good for us more fully. That is how we learn to go forward and do better, live better, choose better.

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I would love to hear your insights as to what letting go has taught you, and any positive growth you have to share through learning to let go.

Featured photo credit: emprize via 123rf.com

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Dawn Hafner

Dawn is a Practical Life Coach who offers concrete tools to help people implement life changes.

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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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