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10 Things You Should Not Give Up For A Relationship

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10 Things You Should Not Give Up For A Relationship

1. Your self-esteem / confidence / self-belief

Some relationships bring out the best in us, others leave us feeling unworthy and unsure of ourselves. If you find you are full of self-doubt and are less confident than you were at the beginning of the relationship it might be time to analyze where this decrease has come from. A healthy relationship should provide a solid base from which to explore the world and achieve the best you possibly can. If your relationship is keeping you ‘small’ and diluting your strengths it’s a warning sign to take notice of.

2. Your independence – personal and financial

Being in a relationship can be a wonderful, loving experience. It’s always important to maintain your independence and resist morphing into one mutual identity. See your friends; enjoy interests that don’t always include your partner and keep a separate bank account for yourself. Independence is healthy and always helps you feel you are in the relationship because you want to be not because you need to be.

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3. Your right to decide for yourself – freedom of choice

Never give up your opinions and freedom of choice to keep another person happy. Compromise is important and a win-win situation is the ideal outcome, but be wary of partners that try to control you. Whether it involves negative comments about the way you dress, the way you cook and/or clean the house or the friends you have – choose for yourself and do not be manipulated into doing things you don’t agree with in order to keep the peace.

4. Your right to be you

Protect your fundamental characteristics and personality traits and never give up the ‘essential you.’ We all change to a certain degree in relationships but be careful that you don’t try too hard and end up losing yourself in the process. Those who love you will adore the real you and all your imperfections. Constantly trying to change yourself will erode your confidence and self-esteem and it can be demoralizing.

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5. Your happiness

There are times when our fear of being lonely is bigger than our wish for genuine happiness. As a result we remain in relationships that don’t bring out the best in us. We stay in lack-luster relationships because we fear the unknown and ultimately do ourselves a huge disservice. You only have one life – try not to waste it in a relationship that makes you miserable. Give up a relationship that undermines your sense of happiness and fulfillment during a long-term basis. If you feel unappreciated and unhappy, ask yourself why and assess whether the relationship you are in has anything to do with your sadness.

6. Your dreams and goals

Never give up your dreams for the sake of a relationship. A relationship should be a spring board from which to chase your dreams rather than a place that keeps you chained and disillusioned. Jealous and/or insecure partners try to stifle a creative, passionate mind and keep their talented partner where they feel they can maintain control. If this sounds like your relationship, realize this is unhealthy. Happy relationships encourage adventure and help the people in it to move forward and progress rather than stagnate.

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7. Existing relationships that are important to you

Good friends can be hard to find and if you have a few wonderful and loyal friends, never give them up for a relationship. Any partner that expects you to give up friendships for him or her is selfish and likely controlling. A healthy relationship allows friends and family to happily co-exist alongside it. See it as a warning sign if your partner tries to isolate you from your friends and family.

8. Your self-respect

In our pursuit of love we can sometimes cross self-respecting boundaries that we wouldn’t normally consider crossing. Whether it involves engaging in behaviors that you find demeaning or whether you allow yourself to be treated in a disrespectful way, this is another sign that the relationship is not good for you. Never give up your right to be treated with respect and decency. If someone crosses this line you should get rid of him or her right away. If you allow this treatment to continue it will become worse and you will end up despising yourself for allowing it.

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9. Your identity – don’t morph into your partner too much and lose yourself in the process

When we immerse ourselves in a relationship, we tend to take on the interests and habits of our partners. There is nothing wrong with this process as ‘mirroring’ helps us to bond and feel more in tune. The problem comes in when we do not have a strong sense of self to begin with and we take on too many characteristics of our partner instead of developing our own identity. If we are too influenced by our partners we may stop making decisions for ourselves and veer off the path of true self-discovery.

10. Your decision-making power

Think of decision making as a muscle that weakens if you don’t use it often. The more we don’t defer in decisions from our partners the less likely we will be to make future decisions and think for ourselves. This doesn’t mean you have to make every decision alone but be aware of habits you may have of double checking with your partner before making a decision – especially if it is for something fairly inane, such as a small household purchase. Think for yourself and keep making decisions, no matter how small. This helps to maintain your sense of individuality as well as your ability to stand on your own two feet.

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Relationships can be heaven but they can also be hell. Take regular health checks on your relationship and use the above pointers to guide you through the process of assessing how happy and healthy your relationship is.

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Mandy Kloppers

Mandy is a Psychologist/CBT therapist who believes getting through life is easier with a robust sense of humour.

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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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