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10 Things Fairy Tales Do Not Tell About Life

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10 Things Fairy Tales Do Not Tell About Life

With the new live action Cinderella set to impress audiences, fairy tales have been on people’s minds. They remind us of our childhoods, and of the hopes that they had inspired in us.

Many fairy tales have a dark and horrific history that have been altered for people to enjoy. In a Huffpost article, it discusses the disturbing truths of some of our favorite tales, including one of the most popular: Snow White. It’s believed that the tale was actually based on the life of Margarete von Waldeck. Her brother used small children for mining, and after they became deformed, a man would serve poisoned fruit to the children who he believed had stolen from him.

Margarete’s step-mother was also evil in her own way: she was jealous of Margarete’s beauty and sent her away, where she had a love affair with Prince Philip II of Spain. She was then poisoned because of the affair. Sound familiar? This awful history was altered to be sold as a more pleasant tale.

However, when these tales were changed, they may have become more pleasing to listen to, but they also left out some important life lessons.

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1. There’s Not Always Someone There to Rescue You

In almost all fairy tales, someone is there to save the main character: The hunter saves Red Riding Hood and Fairy Godmother helps to rescue Cinderella. But what these tales don’t teach us is that occasionally, we have to save ourselves. Sometimes in life we will get ourselves into a bind, but it will be up to us use our own strength to pull ourselves out again.

2. We Won’t Always Sing While We Work

When Snow White and her dwarf friends sing songs that include lyrics like, “Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go,” and “Just whistle while you work”—as well as all of the singing Cinderella does while she finishes her house work—we learned that singing helps you get through the work day.

While that true on some days, what fairy tales don’t tell us is that some days, even the cheeriest song can’t make the things go easier. When workers, bosses and customers are stressing us, we can feel more like screaming our way through work than singing.

3. Everyday Will Not Be a Perfect Hair Day

There’s a common trait that almost all fairy tale characters seem to share: They are always looking perfect. Whether it’s in movies or pictures in storybooks, everyone looks good, no matter what is happening in their lives. However, that’s not always true in real life.

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There will be many many days when you feel less than beautiful or perfect, when your hair is looking like something a bird flew out of and your makeup is non-existent. It’s ok to be looking less than perfect, we don’t need to look like a Princess 24/7. We just need to let our inner beauty shine.

4. Beauty Comes In Every Shape

Along with perfect hair, the main characters of fairy tales are often depicted as the perfect shape. While there’s nothing wrong with these pictures and movies, since they are for entertainment, we need to know when we get older that there is nothing wrong with not being a size 2.

It’s a lesson that girls especially have to take to heart for as long as we can. We don’t need to feel bad if we don’t have the waist of Belle. Pictures are just pictures. We need to embrace who we are as a person and let our looks not get us down.

5. “Ugly” Doesn’t Mean Evil

The “ugly” people in fairy tales tend to be evil. Of course that’s just to show us the difference in characters. But it can sometimes teach us that ugly is bad. Which of course isn’t true. Your outer appearance has nothing to do with what kind of person you are. Beautiful of not, it’s up to you how you live your life.

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6. Life Can Still Be Good With a Step-Family

Did anyone ever notice how many how many step-families are evil in fairy tales? It can almost makes you think you’re doomed to unhappiness if you belong to a this kind of family. But what we need to learn is that, while yes, blending families can be extremely difficult,it won’t be all bad. With hard work and effort, blended families can be pretty great. They can be chaotic and fun and full of love.

7. Sometimes You Need to Be Tough Instead of Sweet

Fairy tales tend to have main characters who are kind, sweet and gentle. And while that works for creating stories with lovable characters, it doesn’t always work for real life. There are times in life where being sweet and kind isn’t going to get you far. Sometimes, you need to bring a little toughness, a little can of whoop-ass to the table to get things done or to get what you need. And those days shouldn’t make you feel bad, but, rather, they should make you feel strong.

8. Balancing Work and Play

In the famous tale of the Ant and the Grasshopper, we learn that hard work gets us ahead in life. But what also needs to be taught is that the grasshopper wasn’t all wrong. Too much work will make life pass you buy. Without any playing or enjoyment, there’s not much point of living. You need to balance work with play. So go ahead and get the work done, but don’t forget to take breaks and enjoy the life around you.

9. The Past Can’t Always be Undone

In tales like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, life resumes as normal after the curses are lifted. But that’s not always true. There are times in life where we can reverse what’s been done, but there are many times in life where what’s been done can not be undone. Learning that our actions, whether good or bad, can be permanent—that there’s not always a “do over”—is important. It makes us take responsibilities for what we do.

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10. Bad Things Do Happen from Time to Time

We all know the famous saying, “And they Lived Happily Ever After.” Every fairy tales ends this way, and it makes us feel very god inside. But life doesn’t always have a happily ever after.

Bad things really can and do happen. Our hearts do break, we lose people we love, and we have to cope with the pain that real life brings. While it’s wonderful to live in these tales to enjoy the “happily ever afters,” it’s important that we learn that real life doesn’t always turn out that way.

Fairy tales are fun, happy and enjoyable. And while there are many things we can learn from fairy tales, there’s also a lot of life lessons that these fairy tales don’t teach us about. But that’s ok—we’ll continue to love these fairy tales for generations to come. And the other life lessons? We’ll figure them out along the way.

Featured photo credit: JANIE via flickr.com

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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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