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The 11 Most Authentic Things You Will Ever See

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The 11 Most Authentic Things You Will Ever See

Like many of you, sometimes we get caught up in the everyday happenings of life. We hustle through the bustle and never take a second to stop and look at what we might be missing, let alone take a look back once in awhile.

Life isn’t just about getting through each day as quickly as we can. It’s about something more. Something we forget about and yet need.

Over the last couple of years, I have found myself not needing to be so involved with life. Instead, I found myself falling in love with life’s little moments and the emotions that come with them. I am connected to those moments forever.

No matter who we are, some things cannot be faked or hidden. They are real and genuine and usually catch us at moments we could not have planned. They remind us what it means to feel something, to relate to it, and to allow it to stain our hearts and souls, which most things never will.

No matter the language we speak or where we grow up in the world, these everyday human moments are universal. They connect us all to one another in ways we couldn’t describe, let alone fabricate.

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The most authentic things are found everywhere.

1. Tears

For most of us, we think tears only come when we are sad. It is normal to shed tears for the loss of a loved one or something beautiful now gone. But tears are also found in moments of pure bliss, too. Like when a soldier returns home to surprise loved ones after a long deployment.

It’s been said that “the eyes are the windows to the soul.” If that’s the case, then tears are the love found in our hearts. Some tears come more silently than others, but no matter how they come, we know they are expressing what our hearts feel.

2. Smiles

I’m not talking about the fake, pretend one that comes when you say, “Good Morning!” to every co-worker just because you feel like you have to. No, I’m talking about the one when people are genuinely happy to see one another. It could have been a day or 10 days, but you know that connection between two people when you see it. Some smiles light up every room — it’s a light that shines through any amount of darkness and we just feel better when we see it.

3. Surprise

Genuine shock is something we see in the faces of people who are victims of playful pranks, wonderful surprises, and utter shock. Whether it is an announcement of expected grandchildren, a small get-together for a 50th birthday party, or just showing up to a friend’s work with their favorite lunch in hand. Nothing can beat doing something for someone else just because you can, and their reaction to feeling your love is absolutely priceless.

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4. Embarrassment

Let’s face it, our body sometimes reacts without us really wanting it to. When our cheeks turn bright red and we feel like everyone is staring at us, we are showing the world our true emotions. Maybe we struck out, giving the other team the win, lost the big contract for our company, or fell while trying to dance for the first time. When people are watching us and we don’t measure up to even our own standards, we are ashamed of our behavior or our lack of measuring up. Being embarrassed is a very human emotion.

5. Change

Whether found in a single sprout popping from the ground in spring, or something more personal found in someone’s journey, we can’t help but notice when something or someone is different. Growth is found in many different ways and can be a long process at times. Attitudes influence ideas which influence actions, and before long we have something other than what we had before. Some changes are more subtle while others are more drastic. Yet, when we see a change in something, we understand the concept of time, as it is needed to take place to allow this process to occur.

6. Beauty

You just can’t hide true beauty. We are in awe when we stand with it, somehow swallowed up in its greatness. Its majestic and timeless grace is found in the simplest of places.

Some days, we have to look hard to find it, but we find beauty in the heart of a woman who refuses to quit no matter the struggles she has endured. We see beauty in the soft petal of the flower ready to bloom and the red veins in the maple leaf, having just fallen from the tree from which it grew.

7. Determination

Watching someone fight through something hard or something that seems impossible inspires us all. The authentic will to never give up isn’t something that comes easy. When the body wants to quit and is refusing to do what you ask of it, pure grit is the only thing pushing you forward. Winning isn’t everything when you see someone refusing to quit. No matter how long it takes, they aren’t done yet.

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8. Joy

You can’t fake joy. It is found in the simplest of things and you know that happiness — that bliss — when you see it. Even if just watching someone open up a gift you know they will love, you are connected to that moment because of the elation felt. The energy is electric and contagious. It is usually followed by elated screams, jumping up and down, and celebration. Seeing joy in others will warm your heart every day.

9. Vulnerability

It can be difficult to let someone see us for everything we are. When we are afraid to let someone get that close to us, and yet wanting to take that chance too, it can tear at us in ways we may not fully comprehend.

When we share our stories and are real with every detail, we begin to understand what it means to allow someone in. Letting others see our faults, our weaknesses, and even the crappy choices we have made in life requires an ownership to the life we’ve lived instead of casting blame on someone else.

10. Courage

Moments in life require great courage, and when we see it, we understand what it took to take the actions we did or to say the words we shared. Found on every battlefield and on every inner city street, when we do the extraordinary and take a stand, we show what it takes to be brave. In hospital rooms where the ill fight diseases, we find courage in the tiniest of bodies. In the worst of domestic situations, we find people who break free of abuse. In the simplest of choices we make every day, we see courage everywhere.

11. Love

We see love in the embrace between friends and family. We see love in the eyes of the bride and groom on their wedding day. We see love in the touch of the tiny finger held by a bigger one. We see love in the holding of hands of lovers, who don’t need to say anything. We find love in the giving to others without condition or requirement. Love is felt and connects us all in ways we sometimes are afraid to admit, but we know it’s there. And we know we need it.

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There are a lot of things in life we can fake. Things we can pretend to be and hide behind. But ask yourself why these 11 things inspire us in the way they do? In this massive world of lies and deception, we crave the truth. Those things full of honesty and virtue that cannot be found in anything made up. We are tired of living in less than a genuine world, yet we forget the true meaning of authentic lives.

We look at life all the time, but when was the last time you really took the time to see life?

Be inspired by the genuine and the real. Authenticity is out there. We just have to see it.

Featured photo credit: Madi Robson via unsplash.com

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Michelle A. Homme

Author, Speaker, Quote Writer, Empowerment Coach

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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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