We love hard so we fall hard. We dedicate all our love to someone who was thought to be the one. But it turns out everything just doesn’t happen as we wish.
Since the day you bid farewell to each other, you have been thinking about everything about him/her: the place where you first met, the movie which you watched a thousand times together, the love song he/she used to sing to you, or the way how he/she said he/she loved you.
But everything is gone.
We can’t let it go. We are insecure. We are afraid. We are losing hope.
We doubt if we are not good enough to make him/her stay. We are afraid of losing the most important person in our life. We fear that we might not ever be able to fall in love and be loved again.
But still, we have to LET IT GO.
Don’t let one single relationship ruin the rest.
Your world is not limited to only one person. You have your friends, family, and perhaps someone who is going to be madly in love with you. They deserve your love. If you still hold on to someone who would never come back to you, your heart would be always occupied with sadness and you can hardly let anyone else touch your heart.
And the thing about being single is, you should cherish it.
You can only enjoy the time of being alone when you let it go and are not tied up in a relationship with anyone. You have only got one moment to stand on your own. It is the time for you to grow and be independent: to unzip your own dress, to do all the housework on your own, to know more about yourself, and to pursue your dreams.
Letting do is hard. But it doesn’t mean you can’t. Let’s see how we can get through the hard times day by day, bit by bit:
The first 30 days: it is like the end of the world
It is the craziest part. Every morning, what you do the most often is scrolling your Facebook news feed to see how his/her new life is. But every time you see his/her face, your heart aches. And you want to ask him/her why, but there won’t be any reply…
You may think you’re just like a drug addict and he/she is the drug your can never quit. This sense of addiction is supported by researchers at the Yale School of Medicine.
They found the attempt of letting go, including past relationships, would trigger the brain circuit to generate cravings. That means the feeling of quitting a relationship is highly similar to the feelings of quitting smoking and drugs.
What you can do to stop yourself from indulging in the obsession:
Stay away from social media
Avoid any contact with your ex
Stop wandering in the places you two visited before
Spend more time with your family and friends to distract your mind
30-60 days: keep yourself in the spinning wheel
After a month, you tell yourself yourself you can’t be like that anymore. You go into another extreme to force yourself to be strong. You keep convincing yourself life is still fine without him/her. That’s why your schedule is fully packed every day. Work, meeting your friends, helping your family to fix their every issue… When your loved ones ask how you feel, you put on a big smile and tell them your life goes better.
But the truth is you’re telling lies to yourself. You’re afraid if you have time, you can’t help missing him/her. Armouring yourself only makes letting go harder for you. Don’t bury yourself in busy schedule. Just accept you still need some time to mend your broken heart.
What you can do to be true to your feelings:
Write down your feelings in your journal or smartphone
Leave some space in your schedule for alone time
Do some art to help connect you to your true feelings
Allow yourself to cry when you feel sad
60-90 days: have the energy in store to fly again
Another month has gone, you are tired of pretending to be strong. Whenever you think of him/her, you still can’t help bursting into tears. You realize how fragile you are and how much you want him/her back. It is not going to happen. But it is exactly the same time when you begin to learn that you can grow stronger only by accepting what has happened. That’s the stage for you to recharge yourself and move on.
What you can do to gain more positive energy:
Read positive self-help books
Do more outdoor activities to get healthy from the inside out
Appreciate the beauty of every small thing around you
Rebuild your regular daily routine
90+ days: some pages turned and there were lessons learned
Three months has passed. Everything is getting better. Although sometimes the old good days still sneak into your mind, you begin to accept what is good about this. You become more thankful for everything he did to you. You become more grateful for everything around you now. A lesson is learned and whatever is going to happen will be exceptionally awesome. All you need to do now is to do things differently.
What you can do to start something new:
Learn something new (language or any skills such as cooking and painting)
Expand your social circle and make some new friends
Challenge yourself to quit a bad habit (waking up late, drinking, or being lazy to do workout)
Travel to a place you haven’t visited before
For every relationship, there are some lessons we can learn from it. Those tiny little things will guide us to become better and better. But don’t rush. Take one step at a time. And you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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: