Often labelled as foolish, irrational, indecisive and unrealistic, the hopeless romantic is often thought of as the hapless romantic; the ill-fated lover wearing rose colored glasses, and constantly burdened by that crazy thing called love.
But behind all those rather unfair descriptions lies a solid and steadfast heart of gold; one of strength, that refuses to allow the ills of the world to taint their hopes. They may be romantics, dreamers and idealists, but they are far from hopeless. Instead, their true identity lies within the ‘hope-full’.
So here are 10 examples why these guardians of love should be treasured!
They hope for the best.
True optimistics, they are a glass-half-full bunch, who rather than becoming cynical after heartbreak, choose to believe everything happens for a reason, or a season. Sure it probably hurts like nothing else, and they deal with that hurt accordingly, but once they’ve gotten over the pain, they get right back up, as hopeful and as positive as ever.
They are determined.
There’s nothing like the belief they have in love that spurs them on. To most, love is just a romanticized notion, but to the hopeless romantic, love represents so much more. The determination they have to acquire love results in a strong willed personality, that helps them fight through the day-to-day, hoping for something great and wonderful. This means they don’t buckle at the first hurdle, persevere and put their whole being into making things work. These guys are in it for the long-haul.
They are problem solvers.
In a relationship, they want to make it all better. They wish they can take your pain away, and will do the utmost to make sure you don’t suffer. As a friend, the hopeless romantic is your go-to for advice (and hugs!) Their ability to find solutions where others cannot is extremely impressive and makes the hopeless romantic, as a partner and friend, the person everyone should have in their corner.
They know when to give you space.
They understand all too well the matters of the heart, and appreciate all aspects of love, especially those that require the need for alone time to mend. They’re not into pressuring you or trying to hurry the process of recovery, or forgiveness. Instead, they allow time, and love, to do their work, knowing that soon your heart will mend and you’ll be ready to fight again.
They offer a different perspective.
As a friend, they’ll suggest you see things from the other persons point of view, asking you to be totally honest with yourself, which in turn does wonders in helping you to move on from heartbreak. As a partner, they’ll encourage you to speak your mind while they try to see things from your side. This balanced approach not only makes for darn good therapy, but also aids healing.
They know what they’re looking for.
Being hopeful allows them to tap into that side of themselves that refuses to settle for less than what they deserve. They are extremely decisive about what they want, but most importantly, what they don’t want. They are assured in their quest for the real thing, and refuse to waste time with a ‘maybe’. They’ll hold true to their desires if it means they get to live out life with their soul mate. Settling is not an option.
They’ll fight when you can’t.
As a friend, they understand why you may want to opt out of the whole love thing, or why you’ve put up that protective layer (read: wall!) to keep out people from trampling all over your heart again, but they are also aware that wall may also be keeping out your soul mate. So they work with you, side by side, day and night to create a little side door that only true love is allowed to pass through. And while you recuperate, they”ll stand guard against the baddies who may be trying to scale the wall. You’ve been warned!
They are not superficial.
Contrary to popular belief, they are not shallow. In fact, their need for real love, rather than flings, puts them in an ideal position to look beyond the surface of a potential mate and see the beauty that lies beneath. This ability also holds them well when it comes to determining whether of not the potential love is indeed right for them. Being able to distinguish and decipher the reality from the fiction is what allows them to seek out that true love, where others may be confused by it all. Beyond the cosmetic, they can delve deep enough to discover the real person.
They’re honest about who they are and what they want.
They don’t feel they have to hide their true feelings from you. They see no problem in vulnerability – it’s their strength, and they respect themselves enough to not have to lie about what they truly want from a relationship. There’s no pretending they’re okay with just hooking up when what they really want is an exclusive relationship, or pretending they’re cool with just living together when they really want to get married.
They don’t hold back.
They’ll tell you they love you, and mean it. They’ll treat you like the precious gift you are, and you won’t have to ask. They’ll dote on you. There’s no end to how special they want to make you feel. With them, you’ll feel totally and completely loved and adored. When they are with you, they are with you.
The best part: it’s all genuine with this not so hopeless romantic. What else could be better!
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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: