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Why Taking a Relationship Break Could Be a Smart Choice to Make

Why Taking a Relationship Break Could Be a Smart Choice to Make
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A relationship break can sound like a terrifying thing if you are having trouble in your relationship. What if my partner moves on during this break? What if they find someone else? Are they taking a break just so they can breakup later?

A break in a relationship often leads to a breakup. But it’s not always the case. If taken for the right reasons, a break can breathe fresh air into a dying relationship and give both partners a much-needed perspective.

Here are 3 reasons why taking a break could be a smart choice to make:

1. If you are feeling overwhelmed in the relationship, you need a break.

A lot of times, you just feel overwhelmed in a relationship. It could be because you are both fighting and arguing too much. Or it may be because of some unresolved issue in the relationship.

If you or your partner are feeling overwhelmed to the point where neither of you can go about your daily activities, it’s time to take a break.

A break can be a perfect excuse to take some space from each other without making the decision to breakup. When you decide to take a break, you make a commitment to each other to not date someone else and just take the time to think and get some perspective.

In most cases, you are feeling overwhelmed in your relationship because of fighting, constant arguing or inability to come to an agreement.

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Taking a break will not help unless you find a way to address these issues first. And you can do that by figuring out the underlying cause of the issue.

For example, if you are fighting and constantly arguing, it could be that one or both of you may be insecure or lack proper communication skills. If that’s the case, it will help to work on your communication skills while you are taking a break.

One of my favorite books to learn proper communications is Non-Violent Communications by Marshall B. Rosenberg.

The book can be effectively applied at all levels of communication and in diverse situations: intimate relationships, families, schools, organizations and institutions, therapy and counseling, diplomatic and business negotiations, disputes and conflicts of any nature. – Marshall B. Rosenberg (Non-Violent Communication)

In addition to working on your communication skills, you should also figure out the root cause of insecurity that’s leading to these arguments and fights. Ask yourself:

Is it a personal problem or a relationship problem?

For example, if your partner has been completely honest and loyal to you from the starting and you still get jealous every time s/he speaks to another man/woman, then your insecurity and jealousy issue is most likely a personal problem. You developed these jealousy tendencies either from an experience or some childhood issues. If that’s the case, you should use this time to work on yourself.

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On the other hand, suppose you were loyal and trusted your partner completely until one day you found a sexually explicit message on his/her phone from another person. You talked about it and forgave him. But you could never trust him again. If this is the case, then you should seriously consider ending the relationship unless you figure out a solution for this insecurity or jealousy. If your partner does not want to work on rebuilding the trust, there is no way this relationship can work.

If you were feeling overwhelmed because both of you couldn’t reach an agreement on an issue, then you can use this break to think things through and figure out how important that issue is to you.

Serious disagreements such as religion, politics, values and career choice usually lead to a breakup. Whereas minor disagreements such as time management can be resolved with proper communication and understanding.

2. If one of you cheated, taking a break can be a smart choice.

Infidelity is usually a deal breaker for most people. But in some cases, you have invested far too much in a relationship to just walk away because of one mistake. If your partner cheated, and you are having a difficult time letting them go, it’s time to ask for a break.

When you ask them for a break, you won’t get too much resistance from your partner. They won’t try too hard to convince you take them back because you are not really breaking up with them. You are just asking for time and space so you can get your thoughts together.

When you decide to take a break from your partner because of this reason, you should make a few things clear to them.

  • It doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting back with them.
  • You are only doing this so you can process this and decide what’s the best decision for you (and your children if you have any).
  • That you will only be getting back with them if you are sure you can trust them again.
  • Set a rough timeline for the break but don’t commit to the deadline. Let them know that you will take more time if needed.

3. If you are having doubts about commitment, try taking a break.

A lot of times, people end up in a relationship they are not really sure about. Before you know it, your partner expects you to get married and have children.

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Since you have invested so much time in this relationship, you don’t really want to end the relationship. But a part of you doesn’t want to commit either. A part of you thinks that there is something better out there for you. A part of you thinks that your partner is not “The one”.

Fear not, the mysterious powers of a break are here to save you. If you are not really sure about committing to your partner, it’s time to ask them for a break. A break is a perfect way to find out if you are just getting cold feet or if your partner isn’t right for you.

Beware though, before you tell your partner you want to take a break, be prepared for the worst. If your partner did not know about your doubts, you wanting to take a break will come as a surprise to them and it will most likely make them question their commitment as well.

“If s/he is not so sure about this relationship, then why am I?”

You should expect a lot of pain and emotions when you break the news to them. But, in my opinion, it will be worth it. If your partner isn’t right for you, it’s better you find out now rather than years later.

And if they are right for you, you will eventually figure it out and be ready for commitment.

If you decide to take a break because of this reason, you should keep these things in mind:

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  • Tell them that you care about them, and this is not a breakup. That you are doing this to make sure a commitment is the right step for you.
  • Set clear boundaries about dating others during this break. If you want to go on dates, be honest. If not, be honest.
  • Set a clear time line for the break to end. You are doing this with someone you love. It’ll be cruel to keep them hanging indefinitely. It’s best to set a clear timeline before you take the break. If you are still not sure by the end of the timeline, it’s best to just breakup with them and let them go.

The Bottom Line

A break can be a smart choice if you are in a tough situation in your relationship. It gives you time and perspective you need to make the right decision.

But when you take a break, you should be clear with yourself and your partner about your reasons to take it. You should discuss the details of the break clearly and set a clear time line.

If at the end of the break, you feel you need more time, let your partner know about it as they may be waiting for you to reach out.

If you have decided to take a break, you should commit to it. Don’t go back to your partner just because you miss them. Make sure you have resolved the issue that caused you to take a break before you end it.

Featured photo credit: Edward Cisneros via unsplash.com

More by this author

Kevin Thompson

A breakup and relationship expert who writes about reconciliation and becoming a better person

5 Causes of Insecurities in a Relationship Not to Overlook How to Spice up Your Relationship and Keep It Fresh and Exciting 7 Signs of Manipulation in Relationships (And How to Handle It) Why Taking a Relationship Break Could Be a Smart Choice to Make How to Recognize a Controlling Relationship and What to Do About It

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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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