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14 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Entering a New Relationship

14 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Entering a New Relationship
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Entering a new relationship is a big deal, particularly when your past relationships have continually failed. If you’re having reservations about starting fresh with someone new, it might be best to reflect on your dating habits first.

Here are 14 questions to ask yourself to ensure that your next relationship is the happiest, healthiest one yet.

1. Am I ready?

Relationships take time and energy. Make sure your current lifestyle is ready for the commitment. If you have a new job, if you’re in pursuit of a dream, or if you are endearing a family emergency, it might not be best to throw another human being into the mix.  Wait until the storm has passed before inviting another ship into the water with you.

2. Am I truly over my ex?

To make #1 more specific, ask yourself this. Do not enter a new relationship if your answer is no, and you secretly want your ex back. Rebound relationships are not only destined to fail, they’re destined to bruise the ego and emotions of your new partner. No one wants to feel like they’re a rebound, and no one deserves to be one.

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The best way to get over an ex is to work on YOU. Decide what didn’t work in your last relationship, and what personal aspects of your own life need adjusting to make your next relationship a success.

3. What did not work in past relationships?

Perhaps you sacrificed too much for your last partner. Perhaps it lacked trust or honesty. Maybe your relationship didn’t work because of the distance. Make a list of all the things that went wrong in your prior relationships and find solutions.

4. What worked in my past relationships?

If you don’t recognize the positive aspects of a healthy, functional relationship, it will be difficult to transfer those ideas into a new one. If your own relationships lack insight, look at the couples around you. Perhaps your own parents or friends have harbored long-term relationships, and can lend some advice. 

5. What kind of relationship am I looking for?

In other words, how serious do you want it to be? This is important, not only for your own sake, but for the sake of your new, potential partner. Are you looking for a fun fling? Or are you ready to settle down? Be sure to discuss your answer with them before the two of you get in too deep. Avoid wasting time by making sure you’re on the same page.

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6. Do they share my morals?

When I began dating, my grandmother would ask, “how’s your love life going?” Her next question was always, “do you have the same morals?” I never really understood what she meant until I got older. Just because someone likes the same activities, or the same movies or books or food, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right for you. You have to dig deeper.

Do they have the same beliefs? And I’m not even talking about religion or politics. How do they treat other people in their life? How do they look at the world? What are they passionate about? And if you’re looking to settle down with this person: What will they teach their children? Is it the same thing you would want your own children to learn?

7. What do I want out of this relationship?

Maybe you’re looking for support. Maybe you’re looking for companionship or love. Maybe you’re looking for a best friend. Maybe you’re simply looking for a “good time.” Again, it’s important to determine these things before entering into a new relationship. It’s the only way to decipher whether you’re in it for the right reasons, and whether or not this person can provide what you desire.

8. Do I love myself?

This is the biggest cliché in the book. You cannot love someone else if you don’t love yourself. I personally think you can love someone else even if you don’t love yourself; however, problems will still exist. If you don’t feel deserving of love, you might doubt or deny the love you receive from someone else, which can be extremely frustrating for them.

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9. What characteristics am I looking for in a partner?

Confidence? Sense of humor? Humility? Kindness? Motivation? Hard work? Does your prospective partner embody most of these characteristics?

10. Does this person bring out the best in me?

How do you feel when you’re with them? How do you behave? Are you able to be your complete self?

11. Am I really interested in this person?

I, for one, have made the mistake of dating someone just because. I was bored and confused and blinded to the fact that they were completely wrong for me. They were great; they just weren’t great for me. I was more interested in telling them about myself, than learning about them.

12. Would I be proud to introduce this person as my partner?

When you get into a new relationship, eventually, you’ll have to introduce them to everyone in your life. Are you excited about this? If the answer is no, I’d run.

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13. Do my friends and family like this person?

Usually, the people who know you best also know what’s best for you. If they don’t like your new partner, it’s probably because they’re seeing something you can’t yet.

14. Do I even want to be in a relationship?

If you’ve been in lots of relationships, if you’ve recently gotten out of a draining one, or if you just love being single, maybe you should be. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But if you’ve considered all of these questions above and feel that you’re ready, then go for it! We’re all rooting for you.

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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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