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What Is Love and What Is Not

What Is Love and What Is Not
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Yes! Unconditional love really exists and it’s not just a myth. But, it’s only understood when we first make attempt to understand what conditional love is.

Today, everyone speaks of love like it is a dice. Hardly do we make attempt to know the content of the word “LOVE” beyond just the written 4 LETTERS. A few of us who claim to know the meaning of this word only speak of its emotional connection with our being and or its chemical drive when we’re with the opposite sex.

Don’t get it confused… there’s “Conditional and Unconditional Love” and below we’ll examine the differences and help us identify unconditional love.

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Conditional Love: You Expect a Recompense for Every Action in Proportion to Your Emotional or Material Input

Have you been in a relationship where you expect a recompense for every action in proportion to your emotional or material input?

For example, you can find numerous online dating platforms today where individuals profile their personality and go for a hunt for suitable partners sharing similar traits or simply possessing desired traits they call the “Perfect Match”. This is especially evident in Sugar daddy/Sugar babies dating in numerous platforms where Rich men or women (single or married) seek emotional dependence, companionship and or sexual satisfaction from the younger men or ladies and in turn either pay their bills or just guarantee their material satisfaction and vise versa. This is a give and take process and of course, as long as each partner gets satisfaction, the relationship continues and each feels a great sense of fulfillment.

This means there’s an opposite emotion for this love, which is ‘Hatred’. Once one of the lovers’ defaults in giving or taking according to their proportion, the love may die or even turn to hatred. Here, you know your limit, what you stand to give and take and at what proportion. Each individual feels like a superman and controls the other when it’s their turn to either give or take, and there’s nothing more than mutual satisfaction. You aren’t looking for someone with whom to share your whole-self with but just someone to complete you. This is a conditional love.

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I discover my dad shows me more love and affection anytime I do exactly as he bids me even when they are against my own will and happiness. This simply means there’s a withdrawal of affection whenever he follows his own will or just considers his happiness and the force behind his action. Of course, this is a conditional love.

On the contrary,

Unconditional Love: You Accept the Whole Person

Unconditional love is often misinterpreted by many people. They simply use this as a wrong reason to continue in an unfavorable relationship or simply persuade someone into managing them. Even when they aren’t sure what it is, they misuse it for some ideal they seek after like you hear they say; “I believe in loving people before they can come to love themselves”. Some even go as far to say “they’ll love unconditionally because they have a special belief”. This is a total mistake.

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Now let’s look at this… not “I love you even if you treat me bad” but “I love you whatever life gives”. If you critically examine these phrases, you’ll understand the second phrase means “in any condition of life I’ll love you”. This is unconditional love. What keeps couples together is not the places they visited or the things they do in common but their responses when there’s a challenge to overcome. That you love someone unconditionally doesn’t mean you don’t feel disappointed at their actions sometimes and being disappointed at them doesn’t mean your affection is reduced or withdrawn. You simply just fulfill the fact that you’re a human.

Unconditional love is simply defined by experts as affection without conditions or limitations (eternal love). In other terms, it is called complete love. But, people commonly refer to this love as ‘deep love’ or the affection you feel for someone that you can go any length to make them happy.

Generally, all lovers refer to this love but what they actually have is conditional love. A clear understanding of unconditional love will reveal you the ultimate power of self-acceptance because this is its foundation for a healthy and long-term relationship success. Its source is the spirit and it springs out from everyone without expecting anything in return to qualify for it.

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You don’t have to do anything to please anyone to accept you or show you affection nor do you expect anything from anyone. But, does this mean we simply accept and agree with everyone on everything even when it offends us? No. It means we respect, show kindness, cooperation and display affection to everyone and everything around us including our pets. This love is part of us and it’s us.

Real love is about self-acceptance

Unconditional love is spiritual, self-acceptance [1], self-forgiving, mental wellness, harmony and beauty and emotional balance. If you lack any of these, you may battle with conditional love for the rest of your life.

What about forgiving others when you can’t forgive yourself? Can you cooperate with others either if you can’t accept them first? Just the same way you can’t show true affection for someone you expect to behave just exactly as you want them to because they need something from you. Only with these characteristics you can feel the beauty of unconditional love. This doesn’t mean both individuals doesn’t give or take anything or doesn’t benefit anything at all, but it’s simply out of self-will and its blessing flows from within on anything it comes in contact with.

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When you know the real meaning of love, a lot of relationship problems wouldn’t appear in the first place

It’s very important that you understand what unconditional love is and this will help you to overcoming many relationship challenges. When you fail to understand the concept of this love, you’ll often feel betrayed out of your expectations. Also, people who mistake this love for the opposite “conditional love” often seem to appear as perfectionists and find it very difficult to accept everybody they come in contact with except for selected the few with whom they expect mutual satisfaction. Because they are rewarded for doing things right by whom it was demanded, they grow up with the mindset that everyone must be like them, or they are inferior or fake and end up being treated as they treat others. This brings hatred and unnatural affection.

Truly, understanding this concept brings healing, divine beauty, harmony and pure kindness to everything we come in contact with.

Reference

[1] Psychcentral: 12 ways to accept yourself first

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MICHAEL LILY

Writer/entrepreneural development specialist

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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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