“You know when you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” — Dr. Seuss
Even if we’ve had our heart broken a few times, and we believe that being cynic is easy, fairy tales portrayed in movies always warm our hearts. The best love stories are the ones that go beyond life and death. They not only foretell happiness or togetherness but they triumph over mistakes and missteps in life and arouse the feeling that goes beyond insanity that’s socially accepted.
Love is sacred and the greatest love stories provide the kind of feeling we always aspire to enjoy in our lives. I know you’ve heard stories of Romeo and Juliet, but there are more heart wrenching stories that are sure to make you emotional. Check out these 10 crazy real life love stories that would warm your heart.
1. Dashrath Manjhi – The man who broke mountains for love
“I would move the mountains for you.” If you’ve ever been in love, you might have heard soothing lines from your partner or chances are you might have told your loved ones too. Dashrath Manjhi, also known as the ‘Mountain Man’ did it for real. He split a mountain for his love.
Dashrath Manjhi, a destitute person in Gehlour, a small village in India lost his wife when he could not take her to the doctor after she fell off of a cliff. With strong determination, and often being called a ‘psychopath’, Dashrath took 22 years breaking stones in the mountains to pave a 400 feet long and 30 feet wide road that connected the village to the nearby city. His only motive was to provide people of his village with access to medical services so that nobody would lose a loved one like he did.
2. Faizul Hasan Quadri – The man who made the second Taj Mahal
Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz in 1632, Taj Mahal is often considered as the epitome of love. A 77-year-old Indian man named Faizul Hasan Quadri also vowed to build his ‘monument of love’ for his wife Tajammuli Begum in Bulandshahr district in Uttar Pradesh, India. Faizul married Begum when she was just 14 and he taught her to read and write in Urdu. The couple had no child and his wife always worried if she would be forgotten after her death. Quadri promised to build her a mausoleum and that she’d be remembered for ages.
“We were together for more than 58 years, and love grows with time. Now that she is gone, she is always there in my thoughts,” he says. Tajammuli died of cancer in 2011.
3. Chadil Deffy and Sarinya Kamsook – Love that went beyond death
Chadil Deffy and Sarinya Kamsook had plans to get married soon after Deffy completed his studies. But his life was devastated after he learned the news of Sarinya’s death in an accident even before the two finalized a date to tie the knot. But death could not beat his love. Deffy married his deceased girlfriend in a combination funeral and wedding ceremony where he placed a ring on Sarinya’s hand, his girlfriend of 10 years and kissed her in a ceremony in Thailand’s Surin province.
4. David Hurd and Avril Cato – Two lovers who became one sharing letters
People write letters to their loved ones all the time. But, the story of two people who got close through letters and got married the first time they saw each other is pretty heart-welcoming. Yes, that’s how David Hurd and Avril Cato became one.
David Hurd moved to New York City in 1907 and that was when he started writing letters to Avril Cato, an unknown woman in the Caribbean who he’d never seen in life. The two started sharing letters and became close. A year later, David proposed Avril to get married and the two met for the first time on their wedding day in August 1914 in Jamaica. These two faithful pen-pals developed a deep and passionate commitment through their exquisite use of art of letter to become one.Advertising
5. Kurt Klein and Gerda Weissmann – Love during a time of war
Gerda Weissmann, a Polish-born American writer was forced to March by the Nazis for months along with 4000 other Jewish women. She lost 65 family members during the time of war and only 120 of those women in the march were alive and abandoned in a factory where they lived without proper food for days. She was one day shy of her 21st birthday, wearing rags and not bathed in three years when Kurt Klein, a Lieutenant in the United States Army force found her and rescued. The couple was engaged in September 1945 and married shortly after.
6. Anna and Boris – Two lovers who reunited after 60 years
Russian couple Anna and Boris were only married for three days, when Boris bid him adieu to join the Red Army Unit. Anna and her family were sent to an exile and the two lost contact with each other. Boris tried finding her but had no luck while Anna also had thoughts of committing suicide but remained hopeful that she’d find her man someday.
One fine day, Anna Kozlov caught sight of an old man moving out of his car in Borovlyanka in Siberia and she was breathless. She could not believe her eyes when she knew that the man clambering out was Boris.
“I thought my eyes were playing games with me,” Anna said. “I saw this familiar looking man approaching me, his eyes gazing at me. My heart jumped. I knew it was him. I was crying with joy.” The couple reunited and romance blossomed again after 60 years.
7. Eija-Ritta Berliner-Mauer – The lady who married the Berlin Wall
Eija-Ritta was only 7 when she saw the Berlin Wall for the first time on television and she felt head-over-heels when she saw the wall. Eija developed a fetish for inanimate objects and married the concrete structure in 1979. Her surname also means Berlin Wall in German and when the structure was brought down in 1989 she was in tears and said ,”What they did was awful. They mutilated my husband.”
Eija-Ritta was later diagnosed with a condition called Objectum-Sexuality. Though she remained virgin as a human, she insists she has a full, loving relationship with the wall for having married the structure for more than 29 years now.
8. Bonnie and Clyde – Two accomplices who loved each other
Love is blind and Bonnie and Clyde prove the same. Bonnie and Clyde, two lovers who disobeyed laws in the United States during the Great Depression robbed a lot of banks, small stores and gas stations while also killed nine police officers and several civilians.
The two met on January 5, 1930 at Clarence Clay’s (a friend of Clyde) house at 105 Herbert Street and became close friends in no time before confessing their love for each other. The two ran a gang and were known to be involved in a lot of notorious crime during the Public Enemy Era (1931-1935). The two remained loyal to each other during their life and even at the time of the violent death with gunshots they predicted as inevitable in 1934.
9. Helen and Les – A lifetime of love
Couples make promises to live together and die together. Helen and Les proved the same. Call it a matter of sheer luck or crazy true love, Helen and Les were born on the same day on December 31, 1918. The two attended the same school where they met each other and fell in love.Advertising
These high school sweethearts eloped and lived 75 years together. During the last days of their lives, Les was sick with Parkinson’s disease and slipped to coma while Helen was battling stomach cancer. She died on July 16 and Les passed away a day after without even knowing about his wife’s death. The couple were both 94.
10. Shah Hussain and Madho Lal – Two lovers together even after death
Shah Hussain, a Punjabi Sufi poet also called as the Sufi saint fell in love with a Brahmin boy called “Madho Lal”. Though gay marriage was not legal anywhere in the world before this century, the two shared a mutual feeling for each other and dared to confess their love in Pakistan, a Muslim state when they lived during their 1960s.
The two are often referred to as a single person with the composite name of “Madho Lal Hussain.” Thousands of people visit the shrine and the tomb during the “Mela Chiraghan” (Festival of Lights) where the two rest together in silence.
Featured photo credit: Kaboompics via pixabay.com
Last Updated on July 20, 2021
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:
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:
- How to Give a Presentation Like a Pro
- 10 Tips for More Effective PowerPoint Presentations
- Tricks to Deliver an Impressive Presentation Every Time
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