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Languages of Love Around the World

Languages of Love Around the World
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We celebrate love all over the world; love is the only true universal language.

As Erich Fromm, a German social psychologist said, “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”

Though not all countries celebrate Valentine’s Day, all over the world people show their love in different ways throughout the year.

Here are nine ways cultures around the world express love, and how you can learn to express your love in different ways, inspired by languages of love around the world.

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Send a love letter made out of beads like Zulu lovers in South Africa

In Zulu culture, colorful beads are used to communicate between young men and women, with different colored beads representing different feelings. For example red means anger and blue surrounded by yellow represents pining.

If a girl likes a boy, she can send him a love letter in beads, called ‘ucu’. After the two have been dating for a while, the boy can then ask the true meaning of the beads. To express your love through Zulu cultural traditions, make your loved one a beaded bracelet or necklace, and let them guess the meaning of the beads.

Have a month-long Valentine’s Day like the Japanese

In Japan, Valentine’s Day is spread out for a month. On February 14th, women will give homemade chocolates to the men in their lives, but will create a special ‘honmei-choco’ (prospective winner chocolate) for the object of their affection. One month later, the chosen man should give the woman his own chocolate gift in return, expressing his love.

Celebrate like the Japanese by spreading out the love for a whole month; you could make a batch of chocolates and give one to your lover every day, until the day he returns the favor.

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Celebrate Love Day with the birds in Romania

In Romania, Dragobete, or ‘Love Day’ is celebrated on February 24th, and is thought to be the day that birds get engaged, birds being the messengers of God. The name Dragonbete comes from a Romanian mythological character similar to that of Cupid, a celebrator of love. In nature, this date is around the time that birds begin to mate and build nests, so boys and girls celebrate this by exchanging gifts and chocolates.

Celebrate your love with the birds by swapping February 14th for February 24th.

Love your community as they do in Mexico

In Mexico, Valentine’s Day is more about celebrating love as a community, rather than the traditional one-on-one love. On February 14th, Mexicans have a holiday called El Dia del Amor y Amistad, where women bake for friends and neighbors, and men bring balloons and sweets.

Instead of having a one-on-one date, or being alone this Valentine’s Day, why don’t you invite your friends, family and neighbors around and hold a party to celebrate all of the people who are important in your life.

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Go after the first one you see like the Scottish

Some singletons in Scotland spend the day searching for their Valentine’s day date. How does this work? Well, the first man or woman spotted on the street by the person looking for a date becomes their Valentine for the day. Whether or not the unsuspecting object of affection wants to be their Valentine is up for question.

If you want to incorporate the Scottish tradition into your Valentine’s Day, you could use it as inspiration to meet someone special. Go up to the first person who takes your fancy and offer to buy them a drink; you never know where it could end!

Take part in China’s Qixi Festival

In China, they have their own version of Valentine’s Day, the Qixi Festival, which comes on the seventh day of the seventh month on the lunar calendar. It is a day in which the sense of union through working as a couple is celebrated, and it is an important day for weddings. In China, they are more likely to celebrate strong family ties rather than showing physical of verbal affection and the day praises the women’s roles as homemakers and wives.

Celebrate like the Chinese by spending the day doing an experience that you both enjoy and that strengthens your relationship, like a day trip or something adventurous, rather than spending money on gifts or chocolates.

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Celebrate Man’s Day and Woman’s Day with Iceland

Icelanders are more likely to celebrate Man’s Day and Woman’s Day, which falls on certain dates according to the old Icelandic calendar. On those days, food, gifts and displays of affection are exchanged on those days, similar to our Valentine’s Day.

On February 12th, the capital city of Iceland, Reykjavik celebrates ‘Museum Night’ where all the museums and music venues stay open until midnight.

Celebrate love like an Icelander with special days for each partner, and enjoy some culture by visiting a museum or seeing a live band together.

Decorate a spoon to signify unrequited love like the Welsh

In Wales, St. Dwynwen’s Day falls on January 25th. On this day Welsh men carve lovely, touching designs on wooden spoons and give them as gifts to the object of their affection as a sign of unrequited love. The idea harks back to ancient Welsh lore, celebrating love and affection. The story goes that Princess Dwynwen fell in love with Maelon, but they were not able to be together. Angry, the Princess fled to the woods and received a potion from faeries that turned Maelon into an eternal block of ice. That is a serious metaphor.

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Give your loved one a decorated spoon this year, or, if you don’t fancy a spoon, use this Welsh tradition as an excuse to make your Valentine a homemade gift.

America and England

In the USA and England, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th and lovers and secret lovers give romantic gifts to the objects of their affection. Valentine’s Day gifts such as chocolates, jewelry, roses and teddy bears are the traditional gifts, though many people use this day to go on a date to a fancy restaurant. Children are encouraged to make Valentine’s cards and send them in secret.

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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)
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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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