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Soulmates Aren’t Always Lovers

Soulmates Aren’t Always Lovers
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We meet people for a moment, a season, or even for a lifetime. Whether they were put in front of you to love you, to hurt you, or to even teach you, it is always for a reason. It’s funny how the universe works. If you think back to the people you have met in the past, were there certain people that came when you needed them? Even if they did hurt you, did they not teach you something valuable?

Everyone I have met, those that came and went, or those that are still in my life, have brought something real to me. They gave me friendship, love, respect, lessons, or even just showing me a new way of thinking.

I am going to talk about two particular people in my life that came when I needed them the most, even if at the time I didn’t know it. If they happen to read this, I know they will know I am speaking of them.

I believe these two people were godsent. I truly believe that they were my soulmates, just not in a romantic way. I feel the universe brought us together and we crossed paths because we had something we needed to learn from each other. These two people are still in my life and we keep in touch occasionally. I haven’t seen either of them for a while as they are both on the other side of the world, but they both hold a special place in my heart.

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My first soulmate was a guy. Initially, he thought I was a snob. Meanwhile, I thought he was just some cute guy that knew he was good-looking and wanted to charm everyone. He told me later that he had tried to get to know me and tried to initiate conversations but I just didn’t give much back. After all, he was from the other side of the world. As I saw it, he wasn’t going to be around for long and was just passing through, so why bother? I know, it was a terrible mindset. Back then, I was extremely guarded. Little did he (or I know) that he would be the very reason I would learn to open myself up to others and the world.

We eventually became friends and the more I got to know him, the more I saw what a beautiful soul he had. He would tell me stories of all his travels. Every time he told them, he had a sparkle in his eyes. He was so caring, friendly, polite, and open to every one that it fascinated me as I was really only nice to people I knew and warmed up to.

He taught me that people weren’t all out to get me. He also taught me that not all men were a**holes just trying to sleep with me. We became best friends in the year before he left Australia. We were always together, our friends would always invite both of us to every event or gathering. We would run by the water, go tanning, and hit the gym. We would also talk for hours about life, our pasts, our hopes and dreams. We even went on a few adventures together. We never did sleep together, even though a lot of our mutual friends thought we had, or thought something would happen. I think this was mainly because we were opposite sexes. We had something else. It was something I still can’t explain.

I cared for him very much. In a way, I fell in love with him, and not in a “I want you to be my boyfriend” kind of way. I fell in love with his soul. I fell in love with the way he saw the world. I fell in love with how genuine he was towards others. I also fell in love with the way he made me feel like I could do anything. He inspired me. To this day, I will still say that he was brought into my life to open my eyes and teach me that the world really is my oyster. There is so much more out there than the rat race we live in. He was the very reason I grew the confidence to leave the rut I was in and go explore.

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He never told me to do anything. He never told me what I should or shouldn’t do. Somehow, without actually saying, he made me realize that I was better than the four year relationship I felt stuck in. The last year of those four, it became one of those on again/off again relationships that become quite draining and tiring. My friend taught me that sometimes relationships run its course and the best thing you can do is to let go, so you have room to let in a better future.

He also taught me that you didn’t need to be rich to go explore. He taught me that if you wanted something, just do it. If you are doing something that feeds your soul, somehow the universe helps you along the way. I definitely saw this was true when I decided to book my one-way ticket to Thailand and then didn’t return home for a few years. There were times I was broke, there were some times I wanted to cry, and there were times I felt so alone. There are always highs and lows; however, when you are travelling, the highs definitely outweigh the lows and make it all worth it. I am forever grateful to have met him and I really don’t think he knows just how much of an impact he made on my life.

Let’s move on to my second soulmate, who just happens to be a female. Again, it was nothing romantic, but it was like I knew her forever. We just got each other. It was kind of weird because we both came from small towns next to each other. We knew all the same people growing up but we never really met. It was like we were living lives completely aligned with each other but never crossed paths until the moment that we both really needed each other. We laugh about it now, saying we were both lost teenagers and if we had met back then, we would’ve been bad influences on each other.

We met when she returned from traveling overseas. I had already settled back in Australia at this point and I was with my ex boyfriend when I met her. He was supposed to be with us for the group outing. I think it was meant to be that he didn’t come because I probably wouldn’t have chatted up a storm with her otherwise. Unfortunately, my ex didn’t quite like it if I spoke to other people too much.

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When we met, we spoke of travels and we spoke of life. Actually, we spoke of nearly everything. We just clicked. I didn’t see her again until I broke up with my ex. She also broke up with her ex a couple of weeks before me. When we met again, we hit it off and found that we shared the same perspective on a lot of topics. Even when we didn’t, we both communicated in a way that we could understand each other’s perspective. We could even communicate without saying anything to each other. It was crazy. It was like we had known each other for a lifetime.

We spent a lot of time together, even at family outings, where I would be her other half and vice versa. I told her things about me that no one else knew. She told me about her life. We would spend weekends watching documentaries, TV series, and movies. We’d also explore cafes, restaurants, libraries, and nature. Sometimes we would stay up all night talking or go get drunk together.

We both started learning more about meditation and spirituality. We kept each other grounded. She was the very first person I literally bared my soul to. She was exactly what I needed after my break up and I was what she needed after hers. We helped each other get through difficult times.

I also fell in love with her, not romantically, but in a similar way to my other soulmate. I fell in love with her soul. I loved how she composed herself so well yet had a mind filled with so many convictions and ideas. She was worldly, she was funny, she was smart, and she had class. I admired her. She was that girl that had guys crawling on their knees, but she never batted an eyelash. She wasn’t about that. She was much deeper than that, and that is one of the many reasons I loved her.

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It was so easy to talk to her. There was one night I told her something about me that caused me a lot of pain. After I finished, she cried. I could see that she felt my pain. We cared for each other immensely. She helped me realize that after everything I had been through, I actually turned out pretty darn good. In fact, she made me see that I was a beautiful human being, and that I should be proud of how far I had come. She also made me realize just how strong I am. Despite all I experienced, I still had an open heart and had an energy about me that drew people to me.

She told me she admired how I exude confidence. She liked that I was just so raw and said things how they were. I felt she taught me something so much more valuable. She taught me to value myself. I may have exuded confidence, I may have looked to the outside world that “I had it all together”, but I was never at peace with myself. That is, until I met her.

She is the only person I know that I can literally talk to for hours. She may be on the other side of the world, but when we chat, we chat. One time, I spoke to her from 9pm at night until 8am in the morning. I have not had a connection like this with any one. I have no idea what we talked about for that long, but all I know is that she is one special woman. It’s so beautiful that no matter how far away we are or if we don’t see each other, we still have such a strong bond.

So, there you have it. Two of the most significant people in my life thus far. They both have given me something so special that I will forever hold them in my heart. It is never “goodbye” with them, it’s just “see you later”. I truly hope that life brings them much joy and goodness. They both deserve nothing but the best.

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I feel soulmates aren’t necessarily lovers, they come in all shapes and forms. Soulmates show up in your life to shake it up, to teach you something important, and to help you grow. The bond you share is deeper than words could ever explain.

Have you ever had a soulmate that wasn’t a lover?

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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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