If you want to carry yourself with poise and dignity, say goodbye to these 5 behaviors

If you want to carry yourself with poise and dignity, say goodbye to these 5 behaviors

Have you ever noticed how someone who just seemed to radiate confidence and composure? What is it about some people that makes them carry themselves with such poise and dignity? 

It’s not just about the clothes they wear or the physical posture they hold—it’s deeper, rooted in their behaviors and how they interact with the world around them.

Today, we dive into some everyday habits that might be holding you back from presenting your best self. 

How many of these behaviors are you guilty of? 

Let’s find out. 

1) Playing the blame game

This is a big one. 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of deflecting responsibility when things go wrong. You might catch yourself saying things like, “She didn’t tell me,” or “The economy is so bad right now.” 

Life is tough, I know. 

But as Mark Manson aptly told us in his bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, just because it’s not your fault doesn’t mean it’s not your responsibility.

Complaining and blaming are easy outs, but they get old pretty fast—after all, we all have our problems.

How to kick this habit

Kicking the blame game habit requires a shift in mindset and some practical steps. Here’s how you can start taking more responsibility and stop the blame cycle:

  • Reflect before you react: When something goes wrong, take a moment to reflect before pointing fingers. Ask yourself what role you played in the situation—this can help shift your perspective from blame to understanding.
  • Focus on solutions, not problems: Instead of fixating on who’s at fault, direct your energy toward finding solutions. This proactive approach not only positions you as a leader but also prevents the negativity that comes with blaming.
  • Cultivate self-awareness: Regularly assess your actions and decisions. Understanding your motivations and mistakes helps you learn and grow, reducing the likelihood of repeating behaviors that lead you to blame others.
  • Practice empathy: Try to see situations from other people’s perspectives. This can diminish the urge to blame, as you begin to understand the challenges and limitations others are facing.

By actively working on these strategies, you can begin to let go of the blame game, leading to more dignity in how you handle life’s inevitable ups and downs.

2) Over apologizing

How often do you find yourself saying “sorry” for things that really don’t require an apology? 

For many of us, this has become such a habit that we don’t even think about it. We say things like “Sorry to bother you” or “Sorry, can I ask a question?”. 

While it may come from a place of politeness, over-apologizing can project an image that most of us would rather not convey. 

As noted by Harvard Business Review, research has shown that such behavior makes us “come across as weaker and less confident.”

How to kick this habit

Breaking the habit of over-apologizing can significantly boost your confidence and change how others perceive you. Here are some steps to help you start:

  • Pause: Before you say “sorry,” pause and ask yourself whether you’ve actually done something wrong or if an apology is necessary. This moment of reflection can help you break the automatic response of apologizing.
  • Express gratitude instead: If you feel the impulse to apologize out of politeness, consider whether expressing gratitude might be more appropriate. For instance, instead of saying, “Sorry for taking up your time,” you could say, “Thank you for taking the time do to this.”
  • Assertive communication: Practice being more assertive in your communication. Clearly state what you need or think without feeling the need to prepend it with an apology. 
  • Seek feedback: Sometimes, it’s helpful to ask for feedback from trusted friends or colleagues on your communication style. They can offer insights into when your apologies are genuinely needed and when they might be undermining your authority.

By reducing unnecessary apologies, you not only stand firmer in your personal and professional life but also encourage others to respect your words and actions more.

3) People pleasing at the cost of your own wellbeing

red flags youre a people pleaser If you want to carry yourself with poise and dignity, say goodbye to these 5 behaviors

I’ll admit, I used to be guilty of this one. 

I would stretch myself thin in order to please others, always saying yes to extra projects at work, even when my plate was already full, and agreeing to social commitments that I didn’t have the energy for just to keep friends happy. 

I would even skip my own important activities, like going to the gym or spending quiet time alone, just to make sure everyone else was taken care of. 

Sound familiar?

Well, it wasn’t until I was a little older that I realized the toll this behavior was taking on my own well-being and personal goals. 

Not only that but when we let people take our time like it doesn’t matter, that’s exactly how they view it. 

Reading Greg McKeown’s bestseller Essentialism really solidified this for me. As he tells us, “Remember, if you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”

How to kick this habit

Shifting away from being a people pleaser can liberate you from the expectations of others and help you reclaim your life. Here’s how to start:

  • Set clear boundaries: Define what you are willing to do and what you are not. Be clear about your limits, and communicate them assertively to others. This helps prevent situations where you might feel pressured to over-commit.
  • Practice saying no: One of the hardest things for a people-pleaser to do is to say “no.” Start small and practice in less stressful situations. Build up your confidence in declining requests that don’t align with your priorities or that you simply don’t have the capacity for.
  • Prioritize your needs: Make a list of your personal and professional priorities and evaluate how your current commitments align with these. If something doesn’t serve your higher goals, it’s okay to reconsider or remove it from your schedule.
  • Reflect on the costs: By saying “yes” to one thing, we are saying “no” to something else. Reflect on the costs of people pleasing—not just what it costs you in time, but also the emotional and physical toll it takes. Recognizing these costs can motivate you to make changes.
  • Empower yourself: Educate yourself about personal empowerment. Reading books like Essentialism or other resources (like this site) on assertiveness and self-care can help you foster the mindset needed to stop people-pleasing.

By consciously working to shed the habit of pleasing people, you open up more space to live a life that’s true to your own values and desires rather than being swayed by the expectations of others.

4) Letting your emotions get the best of you

I’ve told this story before, but I’ll tell it again. 

Back when I was working in finance in my twenties, there was a meeting in which a colleague of mine was criticized. But this was fair and constructive, at least as I saw it. 

Anyway, normally a nice guy, he did not take it well, and it ended with him storming out of the room and cursing out everyone. This outburst is hardly what we could consider poise and dignity, eh? 

It also lost him his job. 

The point is, if we want to live with poise and dignity, we need to keep our emotions in check. 

Sure, we don’t always have control of what happens, but we do have control of how we react. As put by former Roman Emperor and Stoic Philosopher Marcus Aurelius, we “shouldn’t give circumstances the power to rouse anger, for they don’t care at all.” 

We need what psychologists might call “emotional self-regulation”—the process of managing one’s emotions to maintain a state of emotional stability and respond appropriately to various situations.

And as noted by the folks at Healthline, it can help us to “handle disappointment and react rationally to changes.”

However, it’s important to note that it doesn’t “get rid of anger, sadness, or disappointment. Rather, it provides a framework for dealing with those emotions.”

How to kick this habit

Managing your emotional responses is crucial for maintaining poise under pressure. Here’s how you can improve your emotional self-regulation:

  • Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques such as meditation can help you become more aware of your emotions as they arise. This awareness can give you the crucial seconds you need to choose a thoughtful response over an impulsive reaction.
  • Count to ten: I know this sounds cheesy, but when you feel your emotions boiling over, taking a deliberate pause can be a game-changer. Count to ten, take deep breaths, or even remove yourself from the situation momentarily. This helps to diffuse the immediate intensity of your feelings.
  • Identify triggers: Keep a journal of instances where you lost control over your emotions. Note what triggered the outburst and how you responded. Identifying patterns in your emotional responses can help you prepare better responses in the future.
  • Communicate early: Instead of bottling up emotions until they explode, try to express your feelings calmly and assertively as they come. Effective communication can prevent misunderstandings and conflicts from escalating.
  • Seek feedback: Sometimes, it’s hard to see the scope of our own emotional outbursts. Feedback from friends, family, or professional counselors can provide insights into your emotional responses and how to manage them.

By actively working on these strategies, you not only foster personal and professional growth but also enhance your interactions and relationships, allowing you to carry yourself with more dignity and control.

5) Negative self-talk

low self worth If you want to carry yourself with poise and dignity, say goodbye to these 5 behaviors

Picture this: You’re working on a project that’s not going as planned. Despite your efforts, everything seems to be falling apart. 

In your frustration, you catch yourself thinking, “Oh, that was stupid of me,” or “I can’t do anything right. I shouldn’t even try.” 

What’s the use of this sort of talk? What does it help? 

Very little. 

While there’s certainly value to being realistic, negative self-talk like this only serves to bring us down. 

The experts back this up; as noted by the folks at Cleveland Clinic, it can have an array of effects, and none are good. For example, it can worsen anxiety and depression, harm relationships with others, and reduce our self-esteem.

Such effects inevitably show themselves in our behaviors. It’s best to catch them at the source. 

How to kick this habit

Changing the way you talk to yourself can significantly improve your mental well-being and your performance in various aspects of life. Here’s how you can start to kick the habit of negative self-talk:

  • Practice awareness: The first step in changing negative self-talk is recognizing it. Pay attention to your thoughts and when you catch yourself being self-critical, pause and assess the thoughts objectively.
  • Challenge negative thoughts: When you identify a negative thought, challenge its validity. Ask yourself questions like, “Is this really true?” “Would I talk like this to someone I care about?” Challenging your thoughts helps to break down the automatic nature of negative self-talk.
  • Replace negativity with positivity: Once you’ve challenged the negative thoughts, replace them with more positive, constructive ones. For instance, instead of saying, “I can’t do anything right,” you might say, “I am learning from my mistakes and improving each day.”
  • Focus on your strengths: Make a list of your strengths and achievements. Focusing on these positive aspects can help you see yourself in a better light, reducing the likelihood of falling into the trap of self-criticism.

By actively working to change how you talk to yourself, you can reduce the impact of negativity and foster a healthier, more positive mindset.

The bottom line

That just about wraps it up from me, folks. 

Changing these behaviors isn’t just about mere self-improvement; it’s about transforming how you perceive yourself and, as a result, how you’re perceived.

Ditch the blame game, stop over-apologizing, quit people-pleasing, manage your emotions, silence negative self-talk, and walk through life with unwavering poise and dignity. 

As always, I hope you found some value in this post. 

Until next time.

Picture of Mal James

Mal James

Originally from Ireland, Mal is a content writer, entrepreneur, and teacher with a passion for self-development, productivity, relationships, and business. As an avid reader, Mal delves into a diverse range of genres, expanding his knowledge and honing his writing skills to empower readers to embark on their own transformative journeys. In his downtime, Mal can be found on the golf course or exploring the beautiful landscapes and diverse culture of Vietnam, where he is now based.

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