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What Is A Toxic Relationship And How To Deal With It.

What Is A Toxic Relationship And How To Deal With It.
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Toxic relationships. Sounds pretty bad and serious, isn’t it?

We might think those relationships must involve cheating, betrayal or even violent physical actions. Of course, they are obvious signs of unhealthy relationships, but does that mean they are the only indicators?

And is it necessary for us to get emotionally and mentally drained before we start to think about our own happiness?

I understand that sometimes it’s hard for us to face problems in the relationship that we have invested and treasured a lot. It’s not always easy to remember who you are and what you want from the relationship. We might put up a lot of excuses and reasons for people who hurt us because simply picturing the life without them makes our heart ache.

I know how that feel and I have been there too, not only had a few broken relationships, I also experienced obstacles with my friends and co-workers. (It’s not just romantic relationship that can become toxic, my friend!)

No matter what kind of relationship it is, it’s important to pay attention to how the relationship makes you feel. Think about it this way, Listening to yourself and pay attention to how you feel is, the key to saving your relationship. Simply letting the other parties know what you really want is the key first step to regaining your own happiness again!

Here I have summarized toxic signs in different kind of relationships and solutions that might help you to get through this unpleasant stage.

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On Toxic Love Relationships

Passive Aggressive

What is it?
It is the indirect resistance to others to avoid direct confrontation. It means on the surface we try not to be aggressive but we actually are. One way is by criticisms. “I hate it when you do this but I have been keeping it to myself.” Sounds familiar, isn’t it? It happens when they try to nudge you in the direction of figuring it out yourself.

Why is it toxic?
It shows that you aren’t ready for open communication. If you feel secure to someone you’ll be open to express feelings directly instead of dropping hints for guessing. If your partner only knows you don’t like the idea but doesn’t know your real meanings, the conflict cannot be solved. You may create distance since your partner may avoid any kind of confrontations by hiding thoughts in the future.

What should you do instead?
If you to be understood, tell them your feelings openly. Tell your partner that you are not blaming him/her but you want to discuss and find out solutions together. By doing this, your partner knows it needs both parties’ effort to work it out. This also gives a chance for both of you to explain yourself clearly to each other and develop a better understanding.


Excessive Jealousy

What is it?
Jealousy is a mixture of insecurity, fear, rage, anxiety and blablabla (and the list goes on).Simply listing them makes me sick too!  A simple and obvious example is you feel bad when you see your partner get in touch (in any form) with others. What do you do? You tell your partner that’s an awful thing to do and try to control your partner by forbidding them to contact ever again.

Why is it toxic?
The emotion signifies a lack of trust. This will often lead to a loop when you start to check your partner’s phone while they are in the shower. A male friend of mine experienced this. His ex-lover checked his phone by looking at the photos, call history, and WhatsApp and Facebook messages. They ended up in a serious argument because the man found it disrespectful while the girl felt emotionally cheated. When jealousy is excessive, both parties suffer and after all the torture, it’s common to say goodbye in the end.
What should you do instead?
A certain level of jealousy is natural and is considered as a sign of affection since you show care. However, excessive jealousy is definitely toxic. Trust your partner. It is just as simple as that. Do not overthink how your partner is going to cheat you. If you feel insecure, tell your lover and let them know how you feel.

Buying the Solution

What is it?
Instead of talking through the problem, you partner try to cover it up with a good feelings and excitement that comes from gifts and treats. Imagine You and your partner had an argument in the morning. At night your partner brings you to a fancy restaurant with your favourite Italian cuisine. You want to talk about the issue but you don’t want to break the atmosphere and so both of you enjoy the pasta with casual talk. So what’s going on with the problem? Guess you guys just let it “pass-ta” away.

Why is it toxic?
You think it helps rebuild the relationship? This isn’t true. Covering up problems doesn’t work since the problem is never discussed or solved. You feel depressed instead of happy even tho you are having a nice dinner because you know your partner isn’t willing to be accountable for the problem. So the story ended up with voice unheard and a man feeling like an ATM.

What should you do instead?
Again. Talk. Talk. And Talk. Communication is always the key. Dig deep into the core problem and try to solve it step by step to make sure it won’t happen again. There’s nothing wrong to treat your lover a nice gift but never use this as a solution to your problem because it will never be. If you try to cover it up with gifts, the problem accumulates and rolls like a snowball, leading to a harmful and enormous threat to the relationship.


Blaming One’s Emotion On the Other Half

What is it?
Some people think if two people are intimate, their can rely their feelings on each other. It means that if you get angry then your partner has responsibility in causing that. Imagine a girl who just finished an exhausting day wants to see her partner asap after work. Unluckily the partner had a dinner date planned earlier so he got home late. At home, he got distracted by a business phone call while the tired girl tries to cuddle. The girl ended up losing temper because she felt like being ignored and the partner was insensitive to her feelings. She blamed him to be responsible for all the negative emotions.

Why is it toxic?
It’s just small issue and can be solved easily, but now it ended up with an unnecessary argument. This harms the relationship when the partner finds you irrational and emotional and constant annoyance can possibly reduce intimacy and of course patience.

What should you do instead?
Put yourself in his/her shoes. Think of the frustrations your other half may have in a day. If you are tired frommeant work, he or she may probably feel the same. Take responsibility for your own feelings. Long-lasting partners are meant to be supportive but not obligated to each other’s feelings. You don’t want your partner to put the blame on you for everything they feel too. So next time if you need him/her, just gently ask, ‘I just had a bad day, si that ok if you can talk to me for a while or just comfort me?”


On Toxic Friendships

Encourages bad behavior

What is it?
He or she invites you to join all those events that involve unhealthy activities like smoking or taking drugs and maybe even convince you to try it.

Why is it toxic?
We normally will compromise because of peer pressure and just don’t want to be left out. We try very hard to fit in because they are our friends. and because of that we easily develop habits that affect us because who would want to be left out alone?
However, because of this mentality, in long term, we will simply do things that we don’t want to. In a more serious way, you might also lose yourself and the power to reject.

What should you do instead?
You should understand your stand, what you like or do not like and keep it firm, do only what makes you comfortable and feel right to do. Also, you should understand that friends should be encouraging (in a positive way) and that they will not force you to do the things you do not want in life and how you guys are not on the same path anymore.


All you do is gossip

What is it?
Basically, every time you guys meet, all you guys do is gossip.
You will find yourself constantly gossiping with him or her behind people’s back and judge their behaviors, appearances or any other little things that are not really meaningful in life or have little contribution to your personal growth.

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Why is it toxic?
In order for us not to be awkward, you are forced to give he or she the answers they want to hear and gossip together with them about things that are not important in your life and constantly sending out negativity to people when you make your judgment. In long term, you are wasting your time gossiping in which you could have developed yourself a hobby, read a book and do something more positive or meaningful things to yourself or the society. You might also start to be more negative in life than before as you constantly make your judgment and see only the bad in people and fail to appreciate the others.

What you should do instead?
First, you should avoid gossiping with him or her and learn to see the good things in people around you and in your life. Spend more time focusing on yourself and your friends instead of people that are not around. Always remember to surround yourself with positive and encouraging people. 


You guys are not on the same path anymore

What is it?
You guys have different or maybe even the opposite goals in life and he or she blames you for not following her path and degrades your goals or dreams in life.

Why is it toxic?
He or she blames you for being selfish and not considerate enough to have a different path with him or her in life, in which you might then be persuaded to give up what you want in order to be the ‘considerate’ friend that he or she wants you to be. Finally, you give up what you want to do instead of perusing what you want in your life trying to make your friend, but not yourself, who is the owner of this life.

What you should do instead?

You should stand firm in face of her judgment and blame. Do not stop believing in what you want to do or to achieve in life just because of what she said. Remember that good friend should be supportive of each other despite having different goals in lives.


Everything is in competition

What is it?
Instead of feeling happy about what your friends have achieved, you feel jealous and often compare your own success with theirs. You compete for everything with him or her from what you guys eat, what you guys wear, where you guys live, your exam scores, your positions in work to every little part of your life even though it is not meaningful.

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Why is it toxic?
You start to focus so much on winning that you spend your every dollar, every minute and every bit of energy competing with her. Then, you forget your original plan or goals in life because you are too obsessed with winning her. In the end, you lose track of your goals in lives and forget many other things that are much more meaningful and important than competitions in life, like a true genuine friendship.

What should you do instead?
Don’t lose yourself. True friends should be happy for each other and encourage each other along the way instead of competing. You should know that not everything is or should be a competition and that failing does not mean losing, what is moreimportant is that you learn from your friends and know what you want to improve. Don’t hesistate to ask for help if you think they can teach you!


On Toxic Working Relationships

Pointing to the person instead of the problem

What is it?
When there is a problem at work, your colleagues blame you or your team members instead of fixing it together. Imagine something went wrong in a project. Rather than investigating the problem deeply or learning from the mistake, your colleagues keep blaming and pinpointing at one particular person, claiming that it’s all his/her fault. Sounds annoying, isn’t it?

Why is it toxic?
Does blaming help? Definitely not. Nothing will improve by simply putting the blame on someone instead of finding ways to improve. Members who are blamed will feel demotivated and embarrassed. It is also possible for them to do the same and blame the others next time.

What should you do instead?
Try to talk openly about the problem as a team instead of an individual. Make sure you talk objectively and based on fact instead of feelings. Let your team members know open communication is the only way for the team to learn and grow.


Not sharing responsibilities

What is it?
When there is a big project that requires effort from different parties, some colleagues refused to contribute either they are too busy with their own stuff or fail to fulfill what’s promised.

Why is it toxic?
How do you feel if a team member doesn’t contribute as much as the others? That’s just NOT FAIR, I bet you are screaming this in your head. The colleague who doesn’t share responsibilities is likely to be disliked by the others. It demotivates others too because they may feel dissatisfied due to the lack of contribution of the colleague. This doesn’t only ruins the relationship and it might delay the project progress.

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What should you do instead?
Always remember you are not working on your own but as a team. Whenever someone needs help, offer help. And when the work requires shared work, get involved, contribute, and take up responsibilities. Try to find out why your team member failed to contribute their part, make deep investigationa, find out the reasons and offer as much help and assistant as you can!  Again, just what we stated above, point to the problem, not the person!

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Jolie Choi

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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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