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Only Sensitive People Can Understand These 10 Things

Only Sensitive People Can Understand These 10 Things
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In a world in which “nice guys finish last,” being a sensitive person has its ups and downs. Sensitive people live by their emotions, as well as the connections they make with others throughout their lives. While this can be a good thing during times of extreme happiness, it can also be incredibly detrimental during a sensitive person’s inevitable low periods in life. Those of us who are overly sensitive know are familiar with the following things.

1. You get offended easily.

The most innocuous statements can send a sensitive person into a downward spiral of self-doubt and worry. Because of this, people often feel as if they have to walk on eggshells when around you. However, this only exacerbates the problem, as you sometimes feel as if you’re being treated differently by friends and colleagues because you’re known to be overly sensitive. Even still, it’s hard to not be offended when a friend pokes fun at something you said or did, even if you know it was all in jest.

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2. You’ve been told to lighten up.

On the same token, many of your friends and colleagues refuse to treat you any differently, instead telling you to not take everything so seriously. Of course, you know this is easier said than done, and if you could, you would. While someone might try to make you feel better by saying “Lighten up, I was only joking,” what they fail to realize is you now feel as if everyone in the room is having fun at your expense; especially once they realize you actually did get offended by a seemingly benign statement.

3. You’re in tune with others’ emotions.

Sensitive people are not just emotional beings themselves, but they also pick up on others’ changes in mood easily as well. When you meet up with a friend, you can immediately tell how their day was, how they’re feeling, and how the rest of the day will go with just a quick glance at their facial expression and body language. Being able to detect these mood changes in others is partly the reason you get so offended when others don’t understand they offended you, because you’d be able to tell immediately if the situation were reversed.

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4. You’re empathetic.

Not only are you quick to pick up others’ emotional cues, but you often let their emotions dictate your own. It’s hard not to feel down when others are, so when a friend comes to you with a problem, you take their mood on yourself. Of course, this is because you want to put yourself in their shoes in order to better assist them with their issue, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’ve allowed external stimuli to change your own disposition.

5. You’re too polite.

Because you know how awful it feels to be shut down or otherwise offended, you’re usually polite to everyone. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can also lead to others walking all over you. Even if someone offends you, you’d rather ignore it and move on than stand up for yourself. This isn’t to say that being confrontational is a healthy alternative, but you also shouldn’t allow others to disrespect you whenever they feel like it. Doing so will only exacerbate your sensitivity, as you’ll constantly feel inadequate around those who use you as their own personal emotional punching bag.

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6. You’re eager to please.

Along with being too polite, sensitive people are often too eager to please. Being reliable is fine, but people will start to use you once they realize how eager you are to drop what you’re doing to help them out. By putting your own life on the back-burner in favor of helping others, you ultimately help them get ahead while you end up getting stuck behind them. This is especially true at work; don’t make it your obligation to help others before you’ve finished your own tasks, otherwise you’re doing a disservice to your career.

7. You have trouble communicating your feelings.

Ironically, although sensitive people are very emotional people, they often have a tough time expressing their feelings to others. This may be due in part to the fact that they have a heightened ability to detect emotions in others, and they simply expect others to be able to do the same. This is most often noticeable in relationships, in which one person asks “What’s wrong?” and the other answers “Nothing, I’m fine.” Everyone knows “I’m fine” translates to “I shouldn’t have to explain to you what’s wrong.” As a sensitive person, you have to remember that not everyone is as in tune with others’ feelings as you are, and you’ll need to explain yourself at times.

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8. You react emotionally.

Sensitive people think with their hearts first, then their heads. While this can be a good thing when dealing with interpersonal relationships, it can lead to disaster when logic is needed rather than emotion. A manager of a business might have a tough time reprimanding an employee because he is afraid of hurting their feelings, but letting the employee off the hook for a mistake made on company time will lead to bigger problems down the road. Emotional responses have their place when dealing with friendships and significant others, but there are times in life when emotions have to be kept in check.

9. You’re indecisive.

Since sensitive people are constantly being told to “lighten up” or not to take things so seriously, they’re often incredibly indecisive. This is because they don’t trust their own intuition, as they’ve constantly been told their own feelings and perceptions were incorrect. When faced with a tough decision, sensitive people often look at the negative consequences of both actions, and let this laundry list of possible negative outcomes hinder them from ever making a decision at all.

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10. You take criticism personally.

Just like everything else, sensitive people take criticism as a personal attack on their worth as a human being. Unfortunately, doing so only serves to block them from improving their skills and abilities. It’s important to use constructive criticism as it’s meant to be taken, rather than a personal affront to your abilities. Take the criticism as advice rather than an insult, and you’ll be able to focus on improving that aspect of your performance in the future.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.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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