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The Heartbreaking Truth About Meeting the Right Person at the Wrong Time

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The Heartbreaking Truth About Meeting the Right Person at the Wrong Time

They say timing is everything. And “they” are right.

We live our lives striving to make perfect decisions. We are bombarded with information that tells us we are imperfect and that we must strive to attain success. Whether it’s how our bodies and faces look and how we must retain our youth, despite the natural process of aging; how we dress; how much money we earn; where we live; what commodities and material possessions we can accumulate.

Popular culture tells us that we need to work very hard and use all the resources available to us to make sure we reach our fullest potential, the pinnacle of success and superiority. Nobody strives for being average, for doing just OK, or for simply being. So, when we think we have made the wrong decision, or missed out on something we believe we are entitled to, we feel a sense of loss that is hard to shake. This can apply to a job opportunity, or promotion, a property or commodity purchase, and even relationships. Meeting the right person at the wrong time can be life changing when it doesn’t work out the way we desire. It can impact us for a long time to come, resurfacing [1] when we least expect it and preventing us from moving on.

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When we meet the right person at the wrong time, we feel like missing out the good.

Psychologists refer to the grief of missing out, or “Fear Of Missing Out” most recently and commonly known as “FOMO”, as dealing with ”unfinished business”. [2] When all the factors don’t come together to create the outcome we desire, for one reason or another, we don’t get what we want and this creates feelings of loss, grief, regret and even hostility. Holding onto these feelings are the only connection we have to the elusive thing that has slipped through our fingers and so we focus on the negative feelings as a security blanket instead of letting go and moving on with our lives.

When we meet somebody who seems ideal, it is only natural to want to make that connection and to manifest a relationship with that person. Those feelings may even be reciprocated and we may even begin an intimate relationship. But if that seemingly right person comes along at the wrong time, for us or for them, the relationship is doomed to fail. Although all the other boxes are ticked; attraction, values, life goals, geography; if the timing is off, neither party has any power over the course of the situation and the reality needs to be accepted.

It’s harsh to accept, but meeting someone at the wrong time means he/she is the wrong person.

If you meet the right person at the wrong time, chances are they are in fact, the wrong person. The right person doesn’t only need to fulfill the criteria of your desires and vice versa, if two people are heading in the wrong direction from each other, if one person is more ready than the other to settle down, or is dealing with their own unfinished business and hasn’t got the capacity to maintain the needs of the relationship at that time, then it is inevitable that the relationship will end and resistance will make it end badly. Timing is everything, it is the one ingredient that ensures a relationship’s longevity, prosperity and success.

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Dealing with unfinished business when you think you have met the right person at the wrong time, in fact making them the wrong person, can be confronting and painful. The struggle[3] is real and you will experience a number of emotions that could leave you confused and depressed.

To move on and meet the right person, learn from the relationship with this wrong person.

The key to coping and moving forward involves not only communicating[4] with the person, to resolve the issues between you both and deal with the deterioration and cessation of the relationship, it also requires you both to do your own individual purging of feelings by confronting your grief, extracting the lessons and moving forward. Writing a letter[5] to the person, regardless of whether they every read it or not, is one useful exercise to consider.

Here are some other ways to address unfinished business when we meet the right person at the wrong time:

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Cherish the good memories, you don’t have to forget them.

Like any great experience, good relationships are sometimes fleeting and just because they are not forever, doesn’t mean they were any less meaningful. Sometimes having to let go of someone, makes your time with them even more significant, specifically because it was so short lived. Use your time reflecting on the good times instead of dwelling on the negatives and the fact that it had to end.

Don’t lose your ideals, stay true with what you want.

When you meet the one you think may be the right person at the wrong time, it is tempting to change yourself and your goals, in order to fit into the criteria that you believe will preserve the relationship. You are setting yourself up to fail and eventually, the real you and your truest needs will re emerge and you will have done nothing except waste yours and the other person’s time. The best thing you can do for yourself is to be true to yourself; your desires, your life goals and where you are at in your life. Despite what you think you are missing out on, if you remain authentic, you can’t go wrong.

Feel the bitterness, this helps you to recover faster.

It is OK to be sad, angry, resentful, confused, even bitter. All feelings are valid and denying them only intensifies them. Life is all about ups and downs and the idea that it will always be smooth sailing is false and fabricated by the aforementioned manufactured ideals we get from popular culture. The times we feel most alive and connect deeply with our humanity is when we experience loss, which by the way is inevitable. It is the human condition to know and to feel and therefore to grieve. We want to protect ourselves from this pain and disappointment and to make the best possible decisions to avoid unnecessary hurt, but sometimes not everything is in our control and we only gain this information and the tools to make better decisions through bitter experience. Embrace it.

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Be determined to walk away from what doesn’t serve you.

Being willing and determined to walk away from something that we really want but can’t have takes strength of character and emotional maturity. Unless you’re a toddler, you need to develop the understanding that you can’t have everything you want in life. Where’s the challenge in that? It is simply counterproductive and in fact destructive to try to force a situation or a relationship when it isn’t working out.

Meeting the right person at the wrong time is an opportunity to gain these life lessons and in time, most people tend to look back with hindsight and are able to appreciate the reasons why things evolved in the way they did. We can look back and see that although things didn’t work out how we wanted them to at the time, they were better for us in the long run.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

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Diane Koopman

Writer, Author, Novelist, Self-Publisher

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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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