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12 Things Women With Hard Shells Want You To Know

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12 Things Women With Hard Shells Want You To Know

Women with hard “shells” are strong, independent, empowered women although frequently complex and reserved. They are differentiated by their individual capabilities and interests, yet, share similar attributes. What do women with hard shells have in common? They are not status quo. They’re self-confident, uncompromising relative to their virtues, unpretentious, and well-established with deep-seated convictions.

The woman with a hard shell knows that, “True strength lies in her ability to embrace her feminine core, and whilst she may be a high achiever, and whilst she may be very intelligent – her real strength is in her true femininity. And in her character.” (Renee Wade, A Strong Woman)

Being misunderstood and falsely labelled is a regular occurrence for women with hard shells. Here are 12 things they want you to know about them, character traits that will help you learn the truth about who they are and what makes them tick.

1. They are phenomenal women who seem cold, conceited and intimidating sometimes – it’s just a display of their composure.

Sure, women with hard shells put up walls and come off as icy and indifferent; however, they do so to shield their characters and emotions. You see, it’s not that they lack feelings; it’s that they are predisposed to the side of caution. These women have been around the block a few times; they’ve been there, done that. Experience has taught them to protect their hearts and to guard their mental health and morale. Therefore, they naturally assume liability for their own emotional security.

Their passions run deep. The depth of their feelings makes them fragile, unable and sometimes just plain unwilling to express how they truly feel. If they respond curtly to your comments or to your compliments, it’s because they’re internalizing their appreciation that you thought enough of their contribution(s) to say ‘thank you’ or ‘good job,’ and they’re thinking about how to serve even better next time.

They hate being embarrassed and generally talk at length about their circumstances only with those closest to them. Thus, they will put forth every effort to show you how they feel. Watch out for what their actions reveal. In doing so you will find that women with hard shells are not daunting and unapproachable. Their guarded communications and associations are merely outer protective apparel that life has taught them to wear.

These women have endured a lot of challenges in life. They know what they want; they know what they don’t want. They can pretty much tell who’s genuine and who’s not. Thus, they tend to cut to the chase — be direct and businesslike. They endeavor relentlessly to excel without the need to bounce on anyone in the process. They demonstrate faith in themselves and realistically value their worth having invested consistently in their personal growth and professional development. As a result, they are self-confident and composed, not conceited or threatening.

2. They accept who they are and use their strengths and opportunities as leverage for peak success.

Many people, to their chagrin, try to be someone other than themselves. Not women with hard shells. They are good with who they are. They know themselves and appreciate their significance. They have become familiar with their strengths (talents or things that they do well; are good at) as well as their weaknesses.

These women are aware that their strengths escort them to true success. They center goal setting and activity planning on their strengths, and then on those weaknesses that inhibit their progress. Initially, they made the mistake of focusing efforts on beefing up their disadvantages first. Now they recognize that the power of leveraging comes from taking their assets and utilizing them to convert their weaknesses into strengths.

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Women with hard shells want you to know that focusing on strengths and related opportunities enables them to highlight the position where they produce best. The outcome is personal branding, increased performance, satisfaction, resourcefulness, and success. By using their strengths to do what they are good at, they have less stress, enjoy incredible accomplishments working less, earning more, and becoming experts in their chosen field.

3. They are realistic and noble; leaders, not followers, as evidenced by their drive and accomplishments.

Women with hard shells are progressive. This forces them to be shrewd, proactive, sensible, pragmatic, and unafraid of challenges. Because of their leadership aptitudes, they are not among those who follow the masses. They are not crowd pleasers, but rather choose to think, speak, and act according to their own expertise and awareness. They are not the ones who will agree with you just to placate you or keep the peace.

You will find these women to be skilled and able to stand alone, perceptive to realize when they necessitate assistance, and bold in requesting that needed help. They are coordinated and orderly. They’re prompt to acknowledge and to apologize for their imperfections, blunders, and shortcomings. They know of a certainty that no one is perfect including them.

As leaders, women with hard shells are quite familiar with the courtesies of forgiving and being forgiven. They know well that they stand to gain a whole lot more peace and freedom via forgiveness than by internalizing the discord, becoming bitter and resentful. These qualities are priceless particularly for those who become leaders, because they are able to maintain fruitful, harmonious work environments with their staff.

4. They live to satisfy their own morals and beliefs; yet, they respect the freewill of every man and woman.

Sound, well-founded principles are the essence of women with hard shells. They are quick to contend for their views when necessary, giving full regard to the rights of those who share a different opinion. These strong women have no problem standing alone in defense of their positions. If necessary, they will oppose persons with whom they are closely affiliated. They don’t live for other people’s acceptance; they live for a clear and just conscience, and a good night’s rest.

Hard-shelled women have faith in their own abilities. They want you to know that they do what they are convinced is proper within the appropriate parameters regardless of what other people perceive. Therefore, they are extremely cautious in their decision making since they detest being wrong and embarrassed. They abhor causing harm to others.

Despite their best efforts, they know that things don’t always go as planned; things don’t always go as anticipated. When their best efforts yield less than choice results, women with hard shells remind themselves that they did the best they could with the resources available. Accordingly, they overcome; they eliminate remorse, guilt, shame, and adjudications.

5. They are resistant to criticism as they work hard to keep their powers strong, their visions alive, and their fears in defeat.

Women with hard shells want you to know that they were not simply born as strong women; instead, they developed their strength of character over time by rising above adversities and rejections. They have become empowered to survive well and thereby find it difficult to be obstructed by destructive criticism. With strong faith and diligence, they keep fear at bay; they maintain a flourishing hope and mission.

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Their success is built on proper training, appropriate skill sets, firm willpower, dedication, and concentration. That’s the stuff that keeps dreams fresh, vivid, and visual. Exciting concepts and imaginations that become actualities following toil, sacrifices, sweat, and tears cause hard-shelled women to be unmoved by their haters and naysayers.

Fear has its place in their lives; however, they are not controlled by it. Fear pushes them to limits unknown and stimulates innovation and creativity. It shows them that they are capable of a great deal more than they comprehended. Engaging in fear and defeating it produces muscle, endurance, and triumph.

6. They are usually quiet and private individuals who have no need to meddle in other people’s affairs.

Albert Einstein stated that, “The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.” Women with shells want you to know that they live by design, they live with purpose and intent. They live low keyed, discreet, private lives. This allows them to focus, discover and excel beyond their wildest imaginations.

Quiet time helps them discern their needs versus their wants. It allows them to review open action items, to analyze unsuccessful endeavors, broken hopes, and shattered dreams. It gives them undistracted moments to think about activities they can do differently or better. Introspection permits time to ponder on whether or not they’re moving in the right direction. Taking a little downtime provides for relaxation and for planning weekend getaways and special vacations.

Women with hard shells want you to know that how they react to you matters a lot and vice versa. In their private moments they consider this, too. They really want you to know that since they are so involved with taking care of their own business, the desire and time for gossiping and butting into the affairs of others are alleviated. However, they are willing to lend you a helping hand when needed.

7. They are classy, well-maintained human beings who, like others, are vulnerable at times.

Strong women with hard shells are predictably a class act in more ways than one. It’s pretty obvious they pride themselves on dressing well, looking well, acting well and working well. They radiate style, confidence, and intelligence.

These are the women who choose not to dress down on casual Friday, or on every day as is allowed by some companies. Whether they’re a perfect 10 or a pleasantly plump 16, they know how to make the best of their figures, to dress appropriately, and look fabulous. These women assure that they not only look presentable, but that they also perform at top capacity.

Even with their refinement and elegance, women with hard shells want you to know that they, too, are defenseless at times. They are normal human beings. Their guards are not always up. Their observations are not always accurate. Sometimes they get let down, left holding the responsibility for breakdowns… they get hurt and abandoned, too.

8. They work, often behind the scenes, to help make life better for women as well as for other people.

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Do you know any women with hard shells? I bet you do. They are those ladies who work diligently to enrich the lives of others. Being relatively generous with their resources, they support women’s shelters, dress-for-success platforms, life coaching for women, job fairs, community activities, and many other events. They’re those compassionate women who strive to enhance living conditions for persons in distress.

These strong female caregivers help men, women, and children succeed and do well. They need no public recognition or praise. It’s important to women with hard shells that you realize they are not haughty, arrogant, or uncaring. They are movers and shakers for the good of many, but they do their good deeds quietly improving lives and giving hope wherever they go.

A strong woman, is one who feels deeply and loves fiercely. Her tears flow just as abundantly as her laughter. A strong woman is both soft and powerful. She is both practical and spiritual. A strong woman in her essence is a gift to all the world.” (Author Unknown)

9. They believe that a woman should not sit around expecting a man to build the life she desires; this attitude is irrational and selfish to them.

Men and women have different purposes and abilities. For women with hard shells, it is imperative that they assume wholesome relationships with men without adding the burden of egotistical dependency. They believe it is their responsibility to achieve their strategic ambitions. This just makes sense to them. They consider sitting around looking for someone else to create the life of their dreams to be absurd and too risky.

Women with hard shells are ecstatic when their men do things for them. Nevertheless, they refuse to wait for their men to do what they can and should do for themselves. These women undeniably believe in and commend the strength of the men in their lives. They also believe in undertaking personal initiatives to obtain personal aspirations. Each individual requires a certain substance in life that must come from his own efforts.

Hard-shelled women want you to know that they cherish the opportunity of depending on their men when they really need to, of growing with them, and of enjoying life with them. They want you to know that they are thoughtful and endeavor to live life without being overbearing and insensitive. They love their men sincerely, and they know how to have great fun as they sport an authentic sense of humor.

10. They are optimistic, resilient, considerate, and true friends; they don’t depend on outside evaluations to assess their worth.

Women with hard shells think positive and upbeat. They are sure to acquire what they want because they are sensible and work hard to deserve it. Still, these women do fall down; they get thrust into hardships. Instead of becoming downcast because of their failures and allowing disappointments to spoil their agenda, they employ their bounce back power. They perfect their efforts, land on their feet; utilize the experiences to grow and to move forward.

These hard-shell women want you to know that this resilience stems from their ability to look beyond present conditions and become inventive. They struggle, work very hard and find breakthroughs amid obstacles and inequities to generate new realities. Nothing seems impossible to them; thus, they finish strong. Observe that these times of difficulty birth incredible strength in them.

Optimism, flexibility, and determination exercised during distressed situations made them self-assured, understanding, and thoughtful women. Hard times and survival confirmed their power and worth sending them to heights they never considered possible. As a result, they listen well to advice but make their own final decisions. These qualities are the reason they make phenomenal friends mutually sharing loyalty, honesty, reliability, and exceptional friendships.

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11. They desire robust, intellectual, well-adjusted men for equally satisfying and lasting relationships.

Women with hard shells are tough, autonomous, and often unyielding; however, they are still human. They, too, long to have that special someone in their lives for friendship and companionship. Like other women, they want a friend, a soulmate and subsequently a spouse to have and to hold until in death do they part. Career success and financial freedom are incomplete if you don’t have a meaningful person to savor them with. Joy and happiness are to be given, to be shared.

Hard-shelled women wish you to know that they, too, want strong, vigorous, well-versed partners who can talk with them intelligently. They enjoy conversing about things of substance that enhance lifestyles and offer comfort. The ideal partner compliments their maturity, self-confidence, and visions. They have developed their own goals, achieved their own success and thereby do not in the least bit require their approval in pursuit of security and independence.

Hard-shelled, strong women want companionship, but not at any cost. They give excellent respect, admiration, sincere accolades and encouragement expecting to receive the same in return. According to James Michael Sama in 12 Things to Expect When Dating a Strong Woman:

You will never be happier than when you are with a strong woman, because she lives her life with a burning desire to make the best of it. She loves deeply and will motivate you to become the best possible version of yourself — while remaining the same man she fell for in the first place. Do not shy away from strong women, and do not be intimidated by their passion for life. Instead, be excited that you have found your teammate. You have found your partner in crime. You have found your equal.”

12. They are conscientious, focused workers who refuse to be distracted; they know how to say ‘no.’

If you’ve been around hard-shelled women, you know that they are hugely ambitious. They are single minded with specific objectives that sustain their heartfelt visions. Having achieved multiple degrees from the University of Hard Knocks and priceless lessons learned, they are proficient to meet inevitable challenges and setbacks. Learning is a continuous effort for these women who thirst for knowledge and continuous improvement. It is a crucial source of empowerment for them.

Women with hard shells wish you to know that they can’t afford to wait around for indecisive procrastinators. They won’t delay their task assignments nor will they pause for the approval of other people when it is unnecessary. They won’t mislead you, make false promises or agree to anything outside of their character. As Jessica Devlin articulated, the woman with a hard-shell “knows how to say no and does it unapologetically. A woman who says no and means it is honest. She won’t tell you yes to appease you.”

Synopsis

Women with hard shells care about others and tend to influence people positively with no hidden agenda, without expecting anything in return. People often read them incorrectly misconstruing their buoyancy, poise, assertiveness, and forte for arrogance. They seem aloof, unfriendly, or standoffish to many. However, many are kind, approachable, hardworking, and dedicated to being women of excellence.

The woman with a hard shell says, “Now you understand just why my head’s not bowed. I don’t shout or jump about or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing it ought to make you proud. I say, it’s in the click of my heels, the bend of my hair, the palm of my hand, the need of my care. ‘Cause I’m a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me.” – Excerpt from Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

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Featured photo credit: Politico.com & AP Photos via s3-origin-images.politico.com

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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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