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10 Ways To Let Go Of The Lies You’ve Been Telling Yourself

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10 Ways To Let Go Of The Lies You’ve Been Telling Yourself

We all lie to ourselves. Every day. President Obama, Billy Graham, Harrison Ford, Oprah, me, you. Yes, even you.

We all lie to ourselves. Let me show you:

  • Your boss asks you to change the way you do something at work. Your first instinct is to conclude you aren’t good at your job.
  • Your daughter cries because you are not able to take her to her friend’s house and she has to stay home. Something whispers to you that you really are a bad parent.
  • Your sweetheart is withdrawn and distant lately and you are wondering what you did to make them angry with you. You just know it’s your fault.

As famed life coach Tony Robbins claims, “It’s not the situation, it’s the meaning we give it that makes all the difference.” And that meaning, if more negative than positive, can destroy your self-confidence, your courage and your relationships. This is big-time, life-changing stuff I’m talking about here.

Let’s narrow it down into the simplest of pictures. Did you know that every lie we hold within our hearts about ourselves fits underneath the umbrella of these two statements: “I am not enough. And if I am not enough, I will not be loved.”

So how do you reveal and then let go of the lies you’ve been telling yourself? (And – good news – change your life forever with the truth!) Here are 10 ways:

1. Let go by listening to what your body and your head are telling you.

When the lies are talking, you will know because you will feel a tension growing somewhere in the region of your stomach. Your jaw will tighten and you will find yourself becoming defensive in the middle of whatever is happening at the moment.

This is when you must back up and ask the major question, “Why am I reacting like this?”

You will hear statements such as, “I am an idiot,” or “This is just like the last time,” or “I may as well give up!”

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2. Let go by confronting what you hear head on – don’t hide.

When the lies raise their ugly heads, you automatically respond.

Most of us run from them by giving ourselves a treat. It may be your favorite drink, a festival of sugar, a few too many hours of escape into movies or a book. Oprah’s favorite, as we have all heard her talk about, was eating everything and anything and calling it comfort food.

The secret here is to observe yourself. What is happening? Where do I hide so I will feel better when I feel guilty or inadequate?

Confronting means to figure out the secret plan your heart is using to avoid things. So face it – bravely.

3. Let go by honestly asking yourself the tough questions.

They are called tough questions because that’s what they are. Tough. To face them requires courage.

Don’t mess around. Cut right to the root. Ask yourself, “Do I believe I am enough? Do I have what it takes?” Secondly, ask, “Am I afraid I won’t be loved (or applauded/appreciated/valued)?” If you don’t like the answers to these questions, then don’t stop there.

Freedom is wrapped up in the ‘why’ you would come to that conclusion. There will be two or three incidents in your past, maybe as far back as preschool or early elementary school. These left you with the conclusion that you were not enough and so you are most likely unlovable.

Every hurtful obstacle after that reinforced this by driving this idea in deeper and deeper. It’s like a furrow was being dug in your mind.

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However, there’s hope! It lies in the destruction of the root and in shushing the lies. It means digging a new furrow.

4. Let go by becoming your own greatest ally, best friend and confidante.

Deep in your heart you want someone to affirm that you are enough, that you are lovable and are loved. But, even if you find 10 people who tell you these things over and over and mean it, you won’t believe them because you don’t believe for yourself. Ironic, isn’t it? They offer what you need and you reject it.

So, you must make friends with ‘you.’ Become your own partner and cheerleader. You must be the first to be consistently there for yourself through thick and thin. You must be the one to promise to do everything possible to care for and to guard your vulnerable, soft underbelly. After all, who would understand who you are better than you?

5. Let go by enjoying a hot air balloon ride up above the road map of your life.

Seeing only what is in front of you can make the moment seem as if it’s going to last forever. I like the imaginative picture of climbing into a hot air balloon and letting yourself gently lift up high above the spot on the path where you are. It’s so quiet up there.

Look around. You can see forever!

Imagine the bird’s eye view of the path before and the path to come. And all sorts of beautiful areas around it not seen from the ground.

While you are up there, mark a giant X on the places where those incidents happened that left you with your false conclusions. This will remind you from here on in of why you believe what you do about yourself.

Now look to the road ahead. From way up here, you can set the course for the future. Feel excited about that!

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6. Let go by determining to focus on building your strengths not your weaknesses.

Counteract the lies by recognizing all that you are instead of focusing on all that you are not.

I am not a great cook or seamstress, but once I learned to tell myself, “That’s OK. I have strengths in other areas,” I began to grow those other places instead. It no longer mattered that I couldn’t do everything well. You can become great at what you love to do. Simply put, those are your strengths.

7. Let go by standing tall, shoulders back, eyes straight ahead.

As silly as it may seem, how you hold your body matters. Remember the tension that comes when the lies are talking? Zoom in right now on your shoulders. Are they slumped just a little as you are reading this?

Try this: Pull yourself up tall, shoulders back. Lift your chin a bit as if you had the confidence of a warrior or strong leader or a princess. Now say, “I am enough and I will figure this out.”

Something feels different right away. You have just experienced an easy but important first step in resisting the lies you tell yourself.

8. Let go by looking those lies right in the eye and telling them to go sit in the corner and eat a cookie.

You will hear the lies every time you perceive you are being criticized or rejected. I am truly sorry to tell you this but they are part of life and they will never go away completely.

That being said, the upside is that you can learn to tell them who’s boss. I have begun to picture them as little, blue, hairy cartoon characters who are prattling on at the most inconvenient times. I just say to them, “Yes, I hear you but I am too busy to listen right now. Go over there in the corner and eat a cookie. I’ll deal with you later.”

Then I go on with my day being the strong person I am and doing what I know I need to do.

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9. Let go by diminishing the need for significance and shifting your focus to growing and giving.

It’s all about focus. Is it most important to you that you are praised for what you do or that you are serving others around you out of the strength your difficulties have built into you?

Instead of worrying about what your boss is thinking, concentrate on how you can help them build their business to be the best.

Instead of stressing over whether or not you are a bad parent, reassure your child that you love them as high as the moon and you want to see them happy. Help them to understand that sometimes life disappoints us and how they can deal with that.

Instead of wondering if you have blown it again with the one you love, take a good look at your partner and ask yourself how you could bring a smile to their face today. Talk to them and listen to what’s truly going on.

Shift from it being all about you and let it be about serving others around you. The lies can actually build a rich compassion into you when you realize that everyone you meet is going through the same thing inside.

10. Let go by keeping your eyes and your feet moving forward – leave your past behind.

Your past does not define you no matter who left you or what someone did to you. What truly defines you is what you do from this moment on and how much you are willing to fall down and get back up again, wiser and deeper each time. Greatness comes from learning not from perfection.

Diminish the past to the size of a rear-view mirror in a vehicle. It’s there and you can see it, even check it for information, but to drive forward with your eyes riveted there would be disaster. Looking out the wide windshield, instead, will take you to the wild adventures of the fulfilled life. Not to mention the beautiful scenery and interesting surprises that are waiting to be discovered along the way.

Forgive, let go and be thankful for all that the past has taught you. Quiet down the lies to white noise in the background and replace them with the beautiful music of living focused on love and compassion instead.

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How have you triumphed over those lies trying to hold you back from all you have to live? Please share in the comments below.

Featured photo credit: Image credit: zavulonya / 123RF Stock Photo via submit.123rf.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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