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10 Reasons Why You Should be the True You

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10 Reasons Why You Should be the True You

Self-discovery isn’t for wimps. It takes a lot of courage, strength, and awareness to become the person you were meant to be.

You think you’re on the right path but somehow you feel lost. You think you’re doing your best. And you probably are, but deep inside you hear a little voice crying to get out. You try to silence it but you can still hear it.

Your loved ones want the best for you. Since you were a child your parents had their own dreams about what you will become, who you’ll choose to love, and how you will live your life.

That’s lovely when it works favorably, but sometimes it doesn’t work at all, and suddenly you feel lost and confused. You’ve lost your dreams, desires, and vision of the life you wanted. Caring about what other people want for you can cause you to live to fulfill their desires and forget about what your own.

Happiness cannot happen if you don’t live your truth. It may cause mistakes, failure, and regrets—but it will also bring lessons, wisdom, and personal harmony. If you don’t live your truth, you will become angry, resentful, and end up in a life that doesn’t suit you. But of course, it’s not easy to just be true to who you are.

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Of course, you don’t want to end up living on the streets, or sleeping on a park bench. Finding your inner truth is a process that takes time. And sometimes it takes a very long time. You have to work to pay the bills, but while you are being responsible, try to be true to that voice inside you.

Not everyone wants a marriage. Some people love the joys of single life—sharing their bed with empty sushi containers, three dogs and an iPhone—while others can’t imagine eating dinner alone—a night without an argument over the air conditioning (too hot or too cold) and a bathroom floor without someone else’s wet towels on it. Some women came out of their mother’s womb with a natural ability to change diapers, never sleep, and the strength to tolerate a toddler’s temper tantrum. And then there are women who are truly content knowing that a miniature version of themselves will not be brought forth into future generations. Whichever one you are is OK—because that’s who you are; it’s what you want, and who you were meant to be.

When you discover the true you, AHA! happens; you know what you want and are free to go after it with every ounce of your being. When you do, you live contently—comfortable in your own skin—able to achieve whatever impossible dreams you had imagined for yourself.

Listening to your inner voice is a skill. It’s a journey that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s about tuning in to your deeper self and tuning out the noise that is disrupting your own voice. It’s a daily practice of trial and error. Sometimes you have to change the direction you were headed in, make a u-turn, and go back again before you can move forward. It’s about falling down, getting hurt, brushing yourself off, and getting up again and again.

If you want to excel you need to know who you are—then you can move forward. You can fortify your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses, then face your flaws and strive to overcome them. Every day is a chance to become a better version of your self, not a better version of somebody else. As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”

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Here are nine reasons why being the true YOU is the best way to be.

1. You can celebrate your nature!

Even if it’s different than what everybody expects of you, notice what makes you happy. It’s easy to go along with the crowd. Quickly you can slip into becoming what someone else wants you to be. Pay attention to what makes you smile. Do more of it. As we age, we lose our inner child filled with talents, wonder, and amazement. What was your favorite activity when you were a child? Writers wrote, artists painted, and engineers built block towers or took apart their mother’s toaster.

2. You won’t lose sight of your own dreams.

The longer you ignore your dreams, the more they fade away. So don’t ignore them for too long, unless you’ve replaced them with other dreams that you’re content with.

3. You will experience the joy of inner peace.

Peace comes from harmony, when your body and soul align. Peace is a calm feeling that too many people don’t get to experience. Inner peace warms your soul.

4. You will feel good in your own skin.

You can’t be in somebody’s else’s skin. Yours is custom-fit just for you. You’re a unique package. Your personality, style, and way of thinking, acting, and speaking is unlike anyone else’s. Besides, it’s exhausting trying to be someone you are not.

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5. You won’t feel like a phony.

Trying to behave in a way that doesn’t match your inner truth feels as if you’re trying to make tight shoes feel comfortable. You may love the way they look, but no matter how hard you try they still hurt with every step you take.

6. You will get that warm cozy feeling when you put your head on your pillow at night—and a good night’s sleep.

There’s nothing as spiritually satisfying as crawling into bed, putting your head on your pillow, pulling fluffy covers up to your chin, and feeling your soul smile.

7. You can become your best self.

It gets confusing when you try to be someone you’re not. It’s like spending your entire day in a clown costume. It’s fun for a little while but after a few hours you start to squirm. The exterior doesn’t match the interior. And remember, Confucius says, “No matter where you go, there you are.”

8. You will learn to spend time alone.

Peer pressure affects adults, too. We succumb to group mentality. If you really want to be your truest, best self, spend time alone. Take walks by the beach, or in nature. Set aside quiet time so that all you hear is the sound of your heart beating. Do what you enjoy.

“The two best days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”

—Mark Twain

9. You will be more willing to reach outside your comfort zone.

Sometimes we get stuck in comfort zones that aren’t very comfortable. We’ve simply adjusted to the discomfort because of fear. It’s scary to discover “the true you.” You worry if people will still like you or wonder what your life will be like if you make a change. Discomfort isn’t a bad thing when it’s helping you grow in a positive direction. Once in awhile, it’s good to measure your comfort zone: it is harmful or beneficial to you?

10. You can still be realistic.

Of course, you have to pay the bills so don’t quit your job right now. Take time to nurture your inner truth so that you can responsibly transition into your dream job. But that doesn’t mean just because it isn’t happening now that it will never happen.

Self-discovery is an endless journey.

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June Silny

ADHD Coach, Writer, ADDitude Magazine featured contributor

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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