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12 Things Strong, Independent Girls Don’t Do

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12 Things Strong, Independent Girls Don’t Do

Being a strong, independent girl is harder than it used to be. For many girls, being considered strong and independent is a hard task, particularly in a world where more young people and graduates than ever are being driven back into living with their families, and into being underemployed (if they can find work at all). However, the definition of what it truly means to be a strong, independent woman has changed. Not every woman has her own apartment overlooking the city, or a string of adventurous lovers, or a high-powered job.

Strong, independent girls are not defined by their circumstances; whether they’re from an Ivy League family or the first in their family to ever attend college or graduate high school, a strong, independent girl can find the best in her situation and work hard at improving it while retaining her sense of inner strength and ethical values. Stuck as how to become one of these strong, independent girls? Read below to check out what to avoid in order to become one:

1. They don’t neglect their careers.

Firstly, strong, independent girls have their careers always at the forefront of their lives. Working hard is something everyone should do, regardless of age, gender or other factors, whether it’s pulling an all-night shift at a fast food diner or clocking in hours as CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Strong, independent girls always work hard, keep their eyes to the future, and strive to work on their careers. That old adage of keeping your standards as high as your heels applies somewhat here — except that you should keep your standards, dreams, and aspirations as high as your work drive.

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2. They don’t fail to handle their own situations.

One of the most important things strong, independent girls always do is handle their own situations, good or bad. Speaking for yourself is something everyone should be doing anyway, but strong, independent girls never have trouble making their voice heard and ensuring any decision involving them directly is a reflection on their choices. Strong, independent girls handle their own job worries and roommate problems and flat tires. It’s not that it’s bad to rely on people; but to have the knowledge that you can handle the situation is powerful in itself.

3. They don’t overreact to bad situations or mistakes.

Strong, independent girls have the ability to let mistakes roll off their backs and to learn from their bad choices. They don’t complain, or rally against a world that has bitten them in the ass. If you’re a strong, independent girl, you let yourself make these mistakes and you learn from it. You don’t overreact to bad stuff that happens (although suitably horrific stuff warrants whatever response you like). You see these negative scenarios as a learning process and a way in which you can grow and become better and stronger. Strong independent girls don’t whine or complain — they can mope for a little while and then they move on to become better people.

4. They don’t rise to the bait of haters.

Haters seem to be everywhere these days — from the early days of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, legions of these anonymous Internet users can often be found crawling at the bottom of message boards, spouting vitriol at every turn. Strong, independent girls can often find themselves the target of such attacks, but thankfully never rise to it or give it the time or oxygen it requires to survive. It also goes without saying that no strong, independent girl is a troll herself. Trolling is harmful, abusive, and utterly repugnant. All it serves as is the symbol of the emptiness of a person’s life that they need to fill it with anger and resentment. Strong, independent girls never rise to haters’ bait — they’re usually too busy living the life they want to lead to care or take notice anyway.

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5. They don’t stop learning.

Strong, independent girls never stop learning or trying to better their own sense of knowledge about the world or subjects. It’s a sad thing when people stop being interested in the world around them, or decide to remain set in their ways and not learn or explore any new point of view or topic or challenge themselves. Strong, independent girls are never, ever phased by someone thinking that their passion for knitting, or science or Doctor Who is ‘weird,’ or that their desire to learn about patterns or physics or sonic screwdrivers is worthless. Strong, independent girls move on to people whose opinions they care about and never let anyone stand in the way of their passions or their education.

6. They don’t act on first impulse.

There’s something to be said for the virtue of patience. Strong, independent girls practice patience and restraint every day — they never act on the first wild impulse that comes their way. That way they’d be making out with the random, bearded man in the club corner, spending too much money on a bag that they won’t even like three weeks after they’ve blown their savings on it, and doing other potentially dangerous, potentially really stupid things. Strong, independent girls always wait and think things through. They’re always in control of their lives — as much as possible anyway — and do the things that will truly make them happy. They pay the rent, and save the Birkin bag purchase for when they’ve got enough that it’s a wild treat, not a one-way trip to being homeless on the streets.

7. They don’t let other people affect their confidence.

One of the fundamental things that a strong, independent girl does not do is let other people hold sway over her confidence and self-esteem. Your body is just fine the way it is, and the projections of perfection that the media brings about are harmful. Strong, independent girls do not let themselves become affected. They carry their heads high and no matter their shape, size, skin color, gender identity or form of self-expression, they own themselves. The things that make them stand out become their greatest assets. No strong, independent girl ever lets herself feel bad about being herself.

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8. They don’t neglect their physical needs.

One thing strong, independent girls never, ever do, is neglect their physiological needs and health. The fact is that your body needs sleep, needs water and food, and needs to unwind and relax. Neglecting these isn’t just stupid; it’s reckless, silly, and not something that a strong, independent girl does at all. Strong, independent girls get plenty of sleep; aside from being a biological imperative, it helps your mental health, concentration, healing factor, and makes your skin look amazing. These same girls drink plenty of water in order to stay hydrated and healthy, and eat as much and as healthily as they want without getting hung up on calories. These girls relax and unwind and let their mind restore itself so that it can be fighting fit the next day. Now then, that’s not so hard, is it?

9. They don’t have unrealistic expectations.

Having unrealistic expectations is one of the quickest ways to being an unhappy camper. Fortunately, if you’re a strong, independent girl, that’s not an issue for you as you have your expectations in check and are realistically optimistic about the future and what it’ll bring. There is a fine line between wishful thinking and thinking that some outlandish event or scenario will actually occur. Let’s face it, everyone has had a daydream fantasy of winning the lottery and retiring to the South of France with a luxury villa and Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyong’o as speed-dial buddies. Strong, independent girls accept and enjoy these brief interludes but never let them truly affect their lives; they keep grounded and realistic, while never dampening down on their dreams and goals.

10. They don’t stay in toxic relationships.

The law of attraction usually means that strong, independent girls should flock with other strong, independent girls and guys. However, sometimes they find themselves with other people who are dissatisfied, petty, angry, or just generally toxic. If you can’t work through things with your friends, then it’s time to cut the strings and let them go. Strong, independent girls never let the toxic actions of another person affect them — whether they’re a random coworker or a close friend — and often they allow the relationship to dissolve. Hanging around in a toxic friendship or relationship is never a good thing and is something strong, independent girls never do.

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11. They don’t let someone else dictate their relationships.

Most people are actively involved or interested in having or maintaining a romantic relationship. Strong, independent girls never let anyone else dictate or control their romantic relationships. They date until they find a partner worth investing their time, energy, and effort into. These women don’t entertain a partner who belittles them, disrespects them, or attempts to control every aspect of the relationship. They don’t have enough time to be dealing with the kind of people who try to confine their lives or control them in any way, shape or form.

12. They don’t lose control of their lives.

Finally, strong, independent girls never, ever lose control of their life. Control is, at least according to selected philosophers, an illusion created by mankind to stop us freaking out and destroying society. However, it serves an important purpose, and knowing that you are in control of your choices, decisions, and lifestyle is a massive boost to your self-esteem and confidence. Self-control is one of life’s greatest virtues and assets. Making sure you get enough sleep so that you’re not late for work is being strong. Making sure you avoid incriminating Facebook photos where any potential employer could see them is being strong. Treating yourself to a movie or drinks after work or a great meal is being independent. Strong, independent girls carve out their own lives and their own paths; just how it should be.

Featured photo credit: Beyonce, Huffington Post via huffingtonpost.com

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More by this author

Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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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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