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How People Who Lack Attention In Their Childhood Love Differently

How People Who Lack Attention In Their Childhood Love Differently

I spent a lot of my early adulthood trying to work out what “love” really was. I was not in a good place emotionally and mentally. I’d endured a lot as a child and had a lot of difficulty loving myself. Fortunately, through many years of self-discovery and support of my husband, I was able to become the person I am today. A more authentic, happier version of myself. Someone who feels and loves deeply. Someone who may sometimes wrestle with their emotions, but has the ability now not to affect those around them as much.

Maybe you’ve felt the way I have. Maybe you still feel that way. But just remember, there is a silver lining. As much as the pain of your childhood hurts, it won’t stop you from living the life that you deserve. It won’t stop you from having the ability to love yourself and to love others.

Here are the 10 ways that people who lack attention in their childhood might love differently, but the positive aspects to each of them.

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1. They understand that love is much more than words.

‘Love’ can mean so many different things to different people. It can mean saying, “I love you”. It can mean buying gifts for someone else. It can mean making time for other people. It can mean giving a loved one hugs and kisses. But to someone who has felt unloved as a child, it might not mean many of these things at all. When you’ve lacked affection as a child, “love” almost feels like a non-existent concept in your life. It’s something that you’re still struggling to understand. But you probably understand that feeling and expressing love is so much more than the words, “I love you”. It’s about proving it with your actions. It’s about trusting someone and being trusting. It’s about respecting a person’s individuality and dreams. The pain you experienced as a child has helped you to gain a deeper understanding of what “love” really is.

2. They know that trust can take a long time to build.

Growing up feeling unloved, unappreciated, and unimportant can leave lasting impacts on a person’s ability to trust.They might be constantly worrying that the people they love will inevitably hurt them. That they are bound to be alone. But this anxiety also means that they know the value of trust. They know that when someone puts their trust in you, it is your utmost responsibility to stay loyal and honest. It will strengthen the bond between two people.

3. They don’t want anyone hurt the way they were.

If you’re an adult whose childhood was far from ideal, chances are that you are determined not to treat others the same. If you’ve come to terms with some of your experiences, you’ve probably realized that it’s not your fault and have worked through some of your emotions. You probably know by now that nobody deserves to be treated like you were. Thankfully, this has helped you to become a kinder, more compassionate and empathetic person who finds it easy to understand how people feel. Throughout many of your relationships, you probably feel a deep love for people and want to listen to their problems. You want them to know that no matter what happens, that someone loves and cares about them.

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4. They find it very difficult to believe that there are “plenty of fish in the sea”.

If you’re someone who didn’t get their needs met as a child, you’ve probably struggled a bit with your romantic relationships. Throughout your relationships, you may have been mistreated but felt you didn’t deserve any better. Maybe you were afraid that someone better would never come along. Maybe you were too scared to speak up about how you felt. But your carefulness in selecting partners also has a plus side. You don’t want history repeating itself – you want to surround yourself with people who love and deserve you. You might be putting up a wall, but it’s a wall that will come down when you’ve found the right person for you.

5. They can’t helping questioning people’s love.

If you’ve experienced a lot of childhood pain, you might find yourself thinking a lot, “It’s too good to be true.” You want to trust people and believe in their love, but you can’t help but question it. Your fear and insecurities are holding you back. The other side of the coin though is that you are more alert to warning signs. You stand up for what you believe in and try your best to put yourself first.

6. They are very sensitive about their weaknesses.

If you’re someone who felt neglected during childhood, your sensitivity levels might be quite high. You might find it difficult to accept constructive criticism. You might find jokes said at your expense as offensive and hurtful. You might believe that you have to be perfect to be a ‘good’ or ‘successful’ person. Thankfully though, this means you’re quite tuned into other people’s emotions and feelings. You show love to others by not hurting them. By being aware of their sensitivities. By giving them honest advice without upsetting them in the process.

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7. They have very high expectations of themselves.

Unfortunately, for those who have grown up fighting for their family’s attention, they might set very high standards for themselves. They might be perfectionists. You might even worry your loved ones because you put a bit too much pressure on yourself. But the upside is, you might also be someone who strongly believes in working hard. You don’t wait for luck to make life happen. You go out there and look out for opportunities. For the first time in your life, you are in control and it’s this control that is so empowering for you.

8. They sometimes find it easier to forgive.

Having been tested and challenged at such a young age, you’ve learnt very early on that acceptance helps in moving forward. That holding onto anger and resentment does nobody any good, especially for yourself. In the same token, you might find it easier to understand the actions of others and to forgive as much as you can. You may not forget the actions of others, but you know that relationships benefit from compromise and forgiveness. Nobody is perfect and you understand that.

9. They just want their loved ones to be happy.

With the painful experiences that you’ve endured, you can’t help but focus on what truly matters in life. All you want is to be happy and for the people you love to be happy. You think that everything else, like money, material possessions, physical appearance, how we compare to others – is simply not as important.

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10. They struggle with loving themselves.

If you’re someone who lacked attention during childhood, the most difficult relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself. Sometimes it’ll feel like you’re own worst enemy. That your biggest critic is actually yourself. Your life is a constant battle between what you feel about yourself and what you wish to feel. But learning to love yourself is a journey. When you believe that you are important and have the ability to make a positive difference in the world, you will transform the way you think about yourself and how you love others.

Featured photo credit: Colin J via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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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