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10 Signs You Care Too Much About How Others See You

10 Signs You Care Too Much About How Others See You
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If you’re even a half-way decent human being, you undoubtedly care what others think about you. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to project a good self-image to the world, but when you become preoccupied with what others think of you, you distort your own image of yourself. The only person who should be able to define yourself is you. If you find yourself in any of the following situations, you should think about changing up your mindset before you stop living for yourself, and end up living for everyone else.

1. You evaluate yourself through other people’s eyes

At the end of a hard day’s work, you should be able to reflect on your efforts, accomplishments, and shortcomings. However, you should only think about these things in relation to how you performed the previous day. Don’t worry about how others may have judged you throughout the day. For one thing, they most likely didn’t take any of their time to evaluate you. Secondly, doing so will make you paranoid that people are always judging you, and your performance will ultimately suffer.

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2. You give others’ behavior too much meaning

If you’re socially anxious, you probably spend a lot of time wondering “What did he mean when he gave that compliment?” or “Was he being sarcastic when he said I did a good job back there?” That’s fairly natural, and it takes work to get over it. However, it must be done if you want to truly feel success. Worrying about what others may or may not have been thinking simply wastes time that could have been spent improving your life in some way.

3. You let feedback stop you

I struggled with this for a while, especially when I started writing for the vast Internet audience. Don’t let criticism stop you from trying. People would only offer feedback if they saw talent in you that they knew could be unleashed with some tweaks. Rather than shutting down when someone offers criticism of your work, listen to what they have to say. Keep their words in mind the next time you start a task, and focus on that specific area in order to improve your overall performance.

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4. You’re preoccupied with always saying the right things

Nobody wants to appear socially awkward. Ironically, the people who are most preoccupied with not looking silly in their interactions are the ones who are obsessed with trying not to look silly. Everyone’s said “You too!” to their waiter when he said “Enjoy your meal!” and realized how ridiculous they sounded afterwards. Don’t let that kind of gaffe stick with you. Do you really think the waiter is going to the back room and telling his colleagues “Ha! The guy at table 2 said ‘You too’ when I told him to enjoy his meal! What a loser!” Seriously, nobody has time for that. And you’re not the first person to do it. Just let your interactions with others flow, and you won’t be so intimidated by everyday interactions.

5. You try to please everyone

Those who care too much about what others think will spend way too much time trying to please everyone. The problem with this is when you do something for one person, and then another, and another, you’ll start a chain of events in which you’re looking out for everyone else’s well-being at the expense of your own health. I’m not saying you should be completely selfish throughout your life, but you need to know when you’re burning yourself out because you’ve spent too much time worrying about other people.

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6. You don’t put yourself first

This goes along with the last point. If you’re constantly trying to please everyone, you won’t spend enough time on yourself. When others thank you for your help, you often say it was “no big deal,” even if it was exhausting work that set you back on completing your own obligations. When you don’t put yourself first, you’re subconsciously telling yourself that everyone else matters more than you do. That’s simply not true. Put other people’s needs to the side, and enjoy some “me” time for once.

7. You have a hard time saying “no”

If you’re eager to please everyone all the time, you’ll end up taking on much more than you’re capable of doing. Most people want to prove themselves, especially in a new job in which their hard work can lead to a promotion. But if you take on too much, your work will suffer. Which will impress your boss more: Taking on so many responsibilities that you’re up all night every day during the week and have to call in sick on Friday, or taking on a few tasks at a time and completing them exactly as needed? Sometimes, saying “no” can do much more for your career than you’d imagine.

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8. You don’t give yourself enough credit

You most likely have one or two interests for which you are incredibly passionate, and you consider yourself an expert in these areas. However, when in a group of people, you tend to downplay these strengths, and act self-conscious about the knowledge you have about these subjects. You might be intimidated by other specialists, and would rather listen than take the chance of sounding stupid. But the worst that can happen is you’ll get feedback from others, which, as we discussed before, can be used to better yourself in the future. Put yourself out there, and you’ll be surprised by how far it takes you.

9. You feel ashamed about your hobbies

Along with the last point, you often degrade yourself when talking about the things you’re really interested in. I write for a video game-related website, and love doing it. I’d never be able to do that if I had a problem with people considering me a “video game nerd.” Why should I care what others think of my hobbies? They’re mine to enjoy. Honestly, it took me a long time to get over the idea that I don’t have to be interested in what’s “cool” or “in.” Now, I use my expertise to report news and discuss current events about an industry that actually interests me, and I enjoy every minute of it.

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10. You’re trapped in an unfulfilled life

If you’re always worried about what others think, you end up letting them dictate how you live your life. You’ll give up hobbies that others think are “stupid,” and you’ll end up spending all your time running some errand for other people who, in the long run, don’t matter in your life. When your life becomes a repetitive grind, and there’s no difference between Monday and Friday, you need to step back and take some time to figure out what you want out of life, regardless of what others think you should want.

Featured photo credit: Flickrr via farm1.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

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

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