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8 Amazing Things Would Happen When You Let Go of Stereotypes

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8 Amazing Things Would Happen When You Let Go of Stereotypes

There’s no single person just like you in the world.  Yes, every one of us is special and unique.  Moreover, we are all different.  Despite we recognize that we have different thoughts, values and life experiences, we easily become stereotypical towards others. We’ve all witnessed and experienced it.  Sadly a stereotype exists in every culture and society, and negative stereotypes seem far more common.

Research shows a stereotype impacts not only victims but also ourselves on unconscious level. Stereotyping is a common form of discrimination, and can be detrimental to those who experience it. People are often generalized and labeled based on gender, age, appearance, ethnicity, religion or any other factor in their identity. This can make stereotyped persons feel unfairly judged and their feelings on this matter can permanently alter their view of themselves and the world around them.

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So open your heart and get ready to share amazing things that would happen when you let go of these ugly stereotypes.

1. You will be free from judgment.

Despite our best efforts, we all judge others. It might be over small things or even bigger issues.  However, once you practice to put yourself in his or her shoes and try to understand where the person may be coming from, you will become more empathetic towards the person and the situation.  Gradually it will be easier to catch yourself before you make a judgment. Judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are.  As Dalai Lama says, “People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.

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2. You will become more positive person.

A stereotyped person views others in a negative light. In turn, the person who is stereotyped throughout their lifetime will become more aggressive and hostile toward people they encounter. These people may develop a bitter outlook on society, often assuming that others will discriminate against them and becoming defensive at the slightest inclination of a stereotype.  You see the vicious cycle? Thus, be the person who transmits positive energy instead of spreading negative emotions in you and others.

3. You will make more nonconformist friends.

Birds of a feather flock together.  You attract what you are.  There are probably some people who fit whatever stereotype you can think of and as a result, you may reject them right off the bat.  As the world is crowded, a lot of us feel isolated and miss the opportunity to connect. Imagine how many more allies you can make amongst over 7 billion people in the world, more than 320 million in US alone. Certainly you won’t be lonely.

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4. You will radiate more love to the universe.

Once again, remember Mother Teresa’s saying; if you judge you can not love.  You don’t have to be religious to claim we are here to serve, or a love for all humanity.  Giving and receiving love is a fundamental right and our deepest desire in every single soul.  A stereotype becomes a stumbling block to express love. One of scary effects of stereotypes is how it’s labeling people unfairly and can adversary shape our culture. Take the Holocaust and ongoing armed conflicts for examples. Welcoming someone that’s different than you with open arms is a foundation of building a peaceful place to live.

5. You will be a role model to children.

Stereotyping will impact the way how children think about others and themselves. Stereotyping is often learned at young age and encouraging bullying behavior that they carry into adulthood. They grow up thinking that they should behave or become certain way to be accepted and that’s the ideal.  Some biased messages from media also can be the blame.  You don’t have to be a parent or teacher to guide them not to be stereotypical.  Start with you first.  Treat others equally with respect regardless of sex, sexual orientation, race, culture, religion or personality. They are watching you and learning from you.

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6. You will be open minded.

In the Tedx “The danger of a single story”, Chimamanda Adichie argues that knowing a single story of a person or a country can cause misunderstanding and create stereotypes. This demonstrates how people are influenced by a single story of a country or a person, and are not aware of many other stories that could change the perception of them.  However, we can change and grow now. We can start making effort into getting to know people on a real level. How great would it be if we all tried to take steps towards greater acceptance in our lives?

7. You will be authentic to yourself.

This time, let’s assume you are the victim of being stereotyped.  Your self-esteem and self-image could have been damaged.  Sometimes in life, you are the one in your way.  You stand up for yourself, the good, the bad and the ugly, and what you believe to yourself and others. That’s when you are not judged by yourself who is your worst enemy. When you practice self-acceptance without judgment, you will find yourself being confident, empowering and authentic to your true-self, whether you are accepted by others or not.

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8. You will contribute harmony to the society

Making assumptions about people’s cultures and where they come from is just something else that makes us inherently human, and will probably continue for a very long time. But we can all afford to be more aware of the world around us and respectful as we’re trying to understand different and unusual things. With all of this we can change our perception of the stereotypes that are deeply rooted in our culture and make of this a better society. With one change at a time, one person at a time, you can make a difference to create a more harmonious setting in this multicultural community.

So, stop the blonde jokes at the office and give a pay raise to your female manager for a job well done.

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Kris Lee

Emotional health and communication writer

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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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