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Finding “The One” by Chance, Keeping “The One” by Choice

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Finding “The One” by Chance, Keeping “The One” by Choice

It’s an ongoing debate, in my own head anyway. Does ‘the one’ just exist or do we have to work at it?

Are some couples happier because they found the right partner, or do they work harder at being the right partners?

Or, my own pondering…are some people just totally inept at ever being truly happy with any single person?

Is ‘the one’ out there?

It seems a lot of us think of these questions. Married or single. Male or female. The issue doesn’t discriminate. It just nags at many of us.

If I could count people who comment or message me about my blog as research, I would say it’s the reason a lot of people contemplate or get divorced. The search for ‘the one.’ The belief that they married the wrong person and the right one is out there somewhere waiting for them. (Or, they think they found them already.)

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And, for those of us who are single, we’re sitting around waiting for ‘the one’ to magically appear in our lives. Or, we’re actively pursuing looking for him or her. Or, we’ve decided that we are going to just be happy on our own and ‘the one’ will come along when we least expect it. Whatever it is, it’s all about ‘the one.’

Maybe, maybe not

One school of thought is, ‘yes, the one is out there.’ The quotes say something like, “You’ll never find the right one until you let go of the wrong one.” Or, how all the failed relationships were just leading to the perfect one. This might be true. Or, it might not.

It might be more about making it right. Sure, there are people who are better for each other. People who will have chemistry, share common interests, connect. And, others just don’t work at all. We all have that friend’s husband who we say “there is no way I could be married to him.” So, no, not anyone can be ‘the one.’ But, I’m not sure it can’t be the one you’re with. Or the one you were with.

Most of us start dating for some reason. Some initial attraction. Something that draws us to the other person. Many relationships end quickly, like the next morning when the wine has worn off and you wonder what the heck you were thinking. Or, a few weeks later when you realize he really doesn’t have a job, is living with his parents, and he’s 45.

Other relationships go on from there.  You enjoy each other’s company. Are physically attracted to one another. And/or think it’s a good thing. You start to share your lives with each other. Introduce the kids. And, start making plans together. You might even get married. You are a couple.

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And that’s where the road divides. For a few lucky ones, it goes straight ahead. Onward and upward, to bigger and better things. There might be a few bumps along the way, but they continue on.

For too many others, the road goes off in another direction. Doubt sets in. Communication starts to fail. They forget what they ever saw in the person. And, maybe a new road pops up that looks like a better option. A straighter path to the destination.

The thing is, all roads have their problems. It’s whether you fix it or build a new one that is the question. So how do you know?

By Chance

This is where that combination of chance and choice comes in. Chance is meeting someone. Choice is making it work. We have all had chances to meet ‘the one’ but are we willing to choose that person over and over again.

There is something about meeting someone in your 20s that seems to be problematic. My argument, you have no idea who you are at that age. It’s that college/post-college time when you’re your most rebellious. It’s the time when you are trying to decide who you want to be. Trying to live up to your expectations of yourself. Finding someone who also lives up to those expectations.

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So maybe who we choose during that time is not someone who will easily adjust to who we become when we’ve finally settled in to who we really are. Or, maybe we won’t adjust to them. Maybe that’s when we find a new ‘one.’ Someone who gets us the way we are now.

And, that makes sense. We all want to be loved for who we are. But, is it worth the sacrifices? All the years you invested? The kids? The possibility of being alone for the rest of your life?

And what if you weren’t in your 20s? What if you just met a year or two ago and things just got too complicated? It was too difficult to blend families. You got used to being on your own and didn’t want to give up your freedom. Or, perhaps, you got scared of getting hurt again.

Whatever the scenario, the reality is, you already found ‘the one’ but are now debating letting ‘the one’ go. Unless you choose not to.

By Choice

You can choose to stay with that one. Make things better. Go to counseling. Learn to communicate better. Work at it. But, I mean, really, really work at it.

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This is where the choice truly makes a difference. How hard are you willing to work at it? And, perhaps just as importantly, how willing is the other person to work at it? It really does take two to make a relationship work.

When you work together, you can establish the communication, commitment and collaboration (the 3Cs of relationships, in my opinion) it takes to find what’s missing. What you lost. Or, learn what each other wants now. You can choose to rediscover ‘the one’ you’re with.

Are you ‘the one’ you’re looking for?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out. Sometimes both people aren’t willing to do the work. Which begs the question, of me anyway, are some people just never going to be happy with any single person? Oftentimes, it’s only one person who actually has a problem with the relationship. The other person is perfectly happy and sees no real need to work on anything. They understand you’re not happy, but nothing they do seems to make it any better. So why should it be different in any other relationship, with any other ‘one’?

Maybe the core of the problem is that ‘the one’ you’re not happy with is yourself. Maybe that’s the person you need to worry about first. Perhaps your significant other will understand this and give you all the time you need to figure that out. Perhaps he or she won’t and you’ll need to do it on your own. Whatever the case, ‘the one’ you’re looking for is you. Find you, and maybe then you will find ‘the one.’

Featured photo credit: MarkGroves.tv via markgroves.tv

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

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

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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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