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The Best Is yet to Come: 6 Signs You Deserve to Be Treated Right

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The Best Is yet to Come: 6 Signs You Deserve to Be Treated Right

The pint of Ben & Jerry’s is gone; the Kleenex box is on its last tissue; the wine bottle beside your bed is empty; and you haven’t brushed your hair since the Clinton administration. Sound familiar?

We’ve all been there—on the dark side of a break-up so bad we doubt we’ll ever recover from it. Our hearts are sunk, and we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re hopeless and unworthy of true love.

It takes a while—and several thousand calories and a half-dozen of hangovers later—to realize that maybe, just maybe, we’re not the problem: the real dilemma is the person we’ve been dating.

Swagger is sexy. It’s a turn-on, really, to see a “bad boy” order a drink at the bar with the confidence of the Marlboro Man or a knockout in a red dress knock out the self-assurance of a man at a cocktail party with a mere look.

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They’re daring, provocative, and sensual—so much so you’re at first willing to overlook the way they mistreat you. It could be something as innocuous as her forgetting to remember that you don’t eat chives to something as insidious as him calling you only on Saturday nights after the bars have closed down. With time, and with more and more disappointments, you realize you’re back in the territory you know so well you don’t even need a roadmap: you’re in an unfulfilling relationship.

But then, when the tears have dried and you’ve removed all evidence of your fling from your Facebook page, someone so wonderful and compassionate comes along that you’re stunned speechless, and you’re reminded of the words of Mark Twain when he said, “Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.”

This new man makes dates with you a week in advance. She surprises you with a weekend getaway when you finally receive that promotion. You have long, passionate discussions about everything from politics to your pasts.

It may be too soon to start naming your children together, but what this person does for your health and happiness is nothing short of magical: they tear you out of your dreary landscape and show you a new, refreshing reality—the place where you belong.

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And it is there that you have the chance to see seven of the signs that reveal you deserve to be treated right.

1. You’re tired of being a doormat.

When you’re self-esteem is low, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being present for someone when they need you—even if they’re MIA during your most desperate moments. You want to feel empowered and respected, not bullied into “meeting up” when it’s convenient for them—and the difference between the two is vast. When the latter starts becoming your modus operandi, you realize that you’re worth so much more than an offhand phone chat or date when he or she requests it, often at the last minute. You, exactly how you are, merit a home-cooked meal, a vase of flowers, a call wishing you luck on a stressful day. You’re neither a doormat nor a wallflower, but someone richly deserving of time, attention, empathy, and love.

2. You know the old adage is true: beauty is only skin deep.

Players and man eaters are notoriously good looking. They dress well, sport fresh pedicures, and have their hair professionally cut. But what happens when the clothes come off, the polish chips, and the wind blows their hair out of place? Who is the person underneath? If they’re dull-witted, insolent, narcissistic, unsympathetic, slovenly, and mean to your cat. It doesn’t matter if their shirt is from Prada, they modeled in their teens, or drive a Lexus—sexual attraction has a shelf life. Your charm and value—as well as theirs—exists beneath your physicality, and you’re determined to be treated as such.

3. You’re meet-their-parents worthy.

Your Aunt Bea is convinced you’re gay. You overhear your dad say that you’ll turn into a spinster with seven cats if you keep up this behavior. Your sister calls you a man-slut. You envy the foursome at the table next to you, where the eager young man is discussing what Christmas is like in Australia to his beautiful fiancé’s father. And then it hits you: the person you’re “dating” would fit in with your family like Morticia would mesh with the Cleavers. He would start talking to your dad, who is staunchly liberal, about Trump’s “promise.” She would try to drink your Uncle Fred under the table, and mistake the olive oil for wine. In your mind, your Mr. or Mrs. Right (even if it’s only Right Now) would open the door for your mom and not give your sister’s cleavage a first, let alone second, glance. She would cheer on the Saints with your dad and push your nephew in his swing.

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The point being: we aren’t that unlike our families, however hard we try to resist it. What they like, we like; what they see as disconcerting, we should see as well—even more so. You know you’re meet-their-parents worthy, and if your partner fails to see it? It’s time to show them the door.

4. You’re starting to forget the name you were christened with.

The men and women you’ve been dating have a variety of “pet” names that aren’t cuddly whatsoever because they are, let’s admit it, so clichéd their meanings are lost in obscurity. You’re Hun. Baby Girl. Dude. Darling. Sweetheart. Bae. All of these nicknames hint at what’s likely a larger problem: you’re one of many men or women in their lives, and they’re having a tough time keeping your first and last names straight. (A problem made all the more difficult if, my word!, one of you isn’t on social media.)

You’re beginning to recall the pleasure of the person you’re intimate with addressing you properly, even, dare I say, asking and remembering your middle name. Seriously: call out “blondie” in a packed restaurant and 50% of the clientele will probably swivel their heads. Now, Paige Monroe? Bradley McAllister? How nice is that?

5. You honor loyalty and candor.

Dating an adult man who can’t hold down a job or seeing a woman who is known around town as Miss Promiscuous requires a certain level of, um, discretion. You have to tell your BFF that you’re going to the gym when He calls because god forbid you’re giving him a twenty-second chance. You have to tell your surfing buddy you’re on a deadline because he’s dating Her too.

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You have to tell yourself that you’re suffering from temporary insanity and that it’s good to feel like a naughty teen again even if you can’t remember the last time he or she actually treated you with an iota of respect. It’s getting boring, strenuous, and straight-up time consuming coming up with lies—white or not—to cover up for your absences and I-feel-so-used mornings. You acknowledge, and absorb, that in truth there is beauty, and want someone who has a similar moral compass—one who chooses kindness over impulses, diligence over laziness, principle over pleasure.

6. You love yourself, with or without a partner.

When the baes and handsomes have been inevitably replaced with vengeful and defamatory name-calling, you start to believe it. Think of it as knowledge through repetition, or, in clinical terms, emotional abuse. And, like an ill-treated dog, you start bowing your eyes and sleeping alone in the bushes, hoping someone will come around with a bowl of food and a rub on your rump.

Whether or not that happens, through time, wisdom, self-empowerment, and the introduction to someone who treats you well, you begin realizing what those who truly love and respect you always knew: you’re downright fabulous. You may not be a princess, you may not be President of the United States (or even the bank at which you work), but your positive qualities far outweigh your flaws. And the right person—that person you genuinely adore and admire—will reinforce that you shouldn’t just like yourself, whether or not you’re alone, but deserve to love yourself with all your might.

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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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