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12 Reasons To Be Your Own BFF

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12 Reasons To Be Your Own BFF

The idea behind a Best Friend Forever (BFF) is someone who knows you like no other person. Your BFF is someone who has your best interests in mind, who knows and accepts you for who you are no matter what faults you might have or things you’ve done. Who’s to say your BFF has to be another person?

The thought of being your own BFF may be a little strange at first, especially because many people would think a friend is someone to rely on and give you advice. Below are a few reasons to help you realize you might not need a friend to build your confidence and be your crutch.

1. A BFF will agree with you because it’s what you want to hear.

Someone telling us we are making the right choice is helpful for our confidence. The problem with that is, we start to crave other people’s approval for every decision. This also gives us someone to blame if the decision turns out to be a bad one. When you rely on yourself to make your own decisions, you will be the one responsible for its success or failure. Making your own decisions and taking responsibility for them is a great method of building your character, too.

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2. BFFs have inside jokes.

While you might not be comfortable talking to yourself and laughing at your own jokes, you know what makes you smile. Being able to laugh at yourself might be hard for you. Look at it this way: if you’re with a friend and they they do something goofy, will you laugh at them? I think so. Why not laugh at yourself instead of getting angry or embarrassed?

3. A BFF will reassure you.

You can do this daily by being positive towards yourself. Track your daily progress towards your goals. When you work out and see your measurements change, for example, that’s something you did. Acknowledging that can build your confidence more than someone patting you on the back.

4. A BFF doesn’t know all of your insecurities.

Even though we talk to other people, we don’t tell them everything. Heck, we don’t even admit everything to ourselves most of the time. While you might appear to be confident and on top of your game, you are also self-conscious about something. It might be a fear of failure, not being comfortable with a big commitment, an addiction or something else. If you have a hard time admitting it to yourself, odds are you aren’t going to be chatty about your private problem with someone else. As they say, the first step is coming to the realization you have a problem. No one else can do that for you.

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5. A BFF won’t make you focus on things you want to accomplish.

No one can tell you your goals. They can make suggestions, but in the end, it’s your heart and dreams you follow. A BFF will encourage you when you have a goal, but their drive is more about seeing you happy. They have their own goals and dreams to follow. When you are your own BFF you can build habits to help you reach your goal. Whether or not the habits are working out more, eating better or starting that business you’ve always wanted to own, you are the one driving your own success.

6. You won’t be lonely.

Part of being your own BFF is learning to entertain yourself. I don’t mean to plop down on the couch and clear the DVR. What I mean is, you need to be able to be in a room with no one else and the TV off, and be content. This might be in the form of a hobby like reading or making something. Learning something like a new language or to play the guitar could qualify here. Many times we rely on other things or other people to entertain us. By really getting to know our own interests, we can start to find things we can enjoy by ourselves.

7. You’ll learn to trust yourself.

Trust is hard to regain when lost. We tend to be most critical of ourselves, so learning to trust ourselves is not the easiest thing once we have made a few bad choices. We will start second guessing ourselves. We start to question whether we know what it is we really want or should be doing with our lives.

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8. You won’t hold a grudge.

Other people can misinterpret your intentions. They also have their own point of view on situations and on your actions. They can be hurt and not be able to forgive you. Being your own BFF means you need to forgive yourself. In the end, we are responsible for ourselves. If we can’t forgive and love ourselves, how can we expect to love and forgive anyone else?

9. You’ll tap into powerful self respect.

Respect is earned. Self respect is something earned through learning to be happy with yourself. No one can make you love yourself. No one can make you see how great you are. These come from within. By creating the person you’d like to be, you will love yourself more. The more you love yourself and who you are, the more you will see your value and feel the self respect you’ve earned along the journey.

10. You will always be there…for yourself.

Self-soothing is a parenting technique used with infants. Self-soothing teaches the child to be calm and work through their problem by themselves. The same applies to adults. Many adults really can’t solve their own problems. As soon as something unpleasant happens, they run to someone else to have them fix it. When the other person isn’t readily available, it adds to the drama of the situation. Being able to step back and rationally look at the problem and come up with a solution is part of being an adult. Making decisions to better your life is not something you should rely on someone else for. It’s your life.

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11. You won’t back down.

No one will fight harder for your dreams than you will. At the end of the day, your goals are yours alone. Failure and success are your doing. If you want to make your goals happen, do it. It’s all you.

12. You can’t take advantage of yourself

People in our lives will have ulterior motives. They might want to piggy-back on your success. They could want to sweet talk you into loaning them money. Whatever the reason is, some people will tell you what you want to hear so they can get what they want. While you wouldn’t expect your BFF to do this, it can happen. You can’t really have an ulterior motive while doing the things you do for yourself. The only person you’d cheat is yourself.

Featured photo credit: BFF on the ice 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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