Advertising
Advertising

If You Are Always Criticizing Your Partner, Read This

If You Are Always Criticizing Your Partner, Read This

Constructive criticism does not hurt.  It advises and informs. If you take it up another notch beyond constructive, it can destroy someone’s life.  You may think you are helping if you are always criticizing your partner, but something else is happening.  You find yourself alone or trapped in a negative cycle.  There are consequences when you point a finger at someone.  Here are 10 bad side effects of criticizing your partner:

1. He/she will hide things from you

Your partner may be tempted to keep secrets if you routinely spew negativity and criticism.  If you are always criticizing your partner, think twice.  Your partner may be taking on new risks/challenges without you knowing.  You may be missing out on their growth, learning experiences, and the intimacy of a healthy relationship.

2. He/she will secretly resent you

A build up of criticism can lead to closeted resentment.  Resentment shows up when you most need your partner—on your deathbed or co-signing on a loan.  Resentment is worse than hate because, like the background music in an elevator, you don’t always notice.  It’s there while everything else looks normal. Walking around with resentment is painful and makes others vulnerable to future hurt.

Advertising

3. He/she will not give you the space to make your own mistakes

Sitting on a person’s pedestal may be nice in the beginning.  The overly criticized partner will admire you, perhaps too much.  They will give you no room to mess up, as you become the light to their darkness.  If you are always criticizing your partner, you inadvertently build your own jail.

4. He/she may seek validation online or elsewhere

A partner who is overly criticized needs an outlet.  It can be as innocent as reading a book alone or more risky like venting to someone who is emotionally available, caring and compassionate.  Leaving the door open to this can create dire consequences that can lead to the end of your relationship.

5. He/she will tune you out

After consistent criticizing, your partner will stop listening and stop caring.  Wait, what’s that you said?  Exactly.

Advertising

6. He/she will see you as a burden

Nobody wants to go into a relationship with a job.  Daily life is enough of a hassle.  If your partner overly criticizes you, you may see them as a drag, a burden, and a problem.  Your overly criticized partner may want to stay with you, but they simply cannot handle doing the work.

7. He/she will become a punching bag for the qualities you hate about yourself

Like everyone else, your partner is a reflection of your innermost self—some parts you don’t even know.  Criticizing your partner is an act of projection.  Your partner may look like they have the problem, when it’s really you. Is your partner always late?  You reminded him/her for the thousandth time.  You may see this as an act of disrespect when your teachers in elementary school ignored you.  Now, it’s up to your partner to make you feel good again.  Fix your own life, first.

8. He/she will lose self-confidence

Keep criticizing your partner and they will lose the energy to live life to the fullest.  They may become indecisive, disempowered and complacent.  Would you be happy with a partner like that? Consider how that would affect your life.

Advertising

9. He/she will become dependent on you

Your partner may give up completely.  After constantly complaining to your partner that he/she does not help out around the house, they may stop altogether.  You’ll end up with the brunt of all the tasks, decision making, and planning in more than one area of your life.  Congratulations, you just created your own worst nightmare.

10. He/she will lose courage to try new things to advance their lives

Worst of all, an overly criticized partner may become stuck and stagnant.  Regret will grow in them each day for the life they did not live or the places they did not go.  They will blame you, whether it is fair or not.

Then how to give constructive criticism lovingly?

  • Choose the right time: Never judge your parter when he/she has just gone through a tough time. Only give constructive criticism when they are calm and they can give you their full attention.
  • Go for dialogue rather than monologue: No one likes being told to do something so make sure you can create a space where both of you can express your thoughts and listen to each other’s point of view.
  • Show appreciation before giving criticism: If you want your partner to accept your criticism, always highlight what you appreciate him/her first. After they let their guard down and know that you have good intention, they will take your criticism more positively.

Keep in mind, everyone is responsible for his or her own life.  You can’t make an overly criticized partner give up unless they already wanted to, or had talked themselves into it.  However, if you are always criticizing your partner, you can make it a lot easier.  Instead, choose your words carefully. Give advice only when asked and show empathy more often. What you do to others, will in some way be done to you—literally or figuratively.  Think wisely.

Advertising

Featured photo credit: Caleb George via ununsplash.imgix.net

More by this author

If You Are Always Criticizing Your Partner, Read This 16 Sad Songs to Listen to When You Need a Good Cry 15 Things That Introverts Would Never Tell You How You Can Learn to Code Right Now for Free 7 Ways To Make Friends As An Introvert

Trending in Communication

1 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 2 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake 3 7 Science-Backed Books About Spirituality That Will Change Your Life 4 20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About 5 How to Find Inner Peace and Lasting Happiness

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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

Read Next