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15 Truths About Love We Tend to Forget

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15 Truths About Love We Tend to Forget

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails.”

Although this quote may be the most famous quote on love, taken straight from the Gospels, most of us have a hard time putting this kind of love into practice. Most of the time, we are lost in fantasies about love involving highly romanticized visions of perfect dates, romantic evenings, and finding a life partner who perfectly understands us at all times. We imagine love as this rush of feelings that continue to last forever. We imagine finding THE ONE – an ideal person who complements us in every possible way and satisfies our every need. The only problem with that vision is that it is false. Inevitably, our romanticized ideals about love leave us with unrealistic expectations for any partner who might come along, even if they are the real deal.

Here are 15 truths about love that we tend to forget when imagining our perfect relationship.

1. Love is a choice.

We tend to forget that feeling love for another person and choosing to love them is a choice that we make. It is different from feelings of lust which are often intense, of short duration, and involuntary. We choose to love. No one else can make you fall in love with him or her, no matter how hard they may try.

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2. Love is not infatuation.

Too often, we confuse love with what is actually infatuation. Infatuation is a rush of feelings that generally borders on obsession. Love is not an obsessive feeling. Love does not result in feeling possessive of one another. Love is a sustainable emotion. Infatuation is not. After the initial rush of intense feelings, infatuation dissipates until another possible lover is discovered; whereas love is long-lasting.

3. Love takes time.

Personally, I don’t believe in “love at first sight”. Real love takes time to develop.  Love requires trust and really knowing the other person – their character, interests, beliefs, behaviors, and deeply held core values. You can feel infatuation and lust towards someone based purely on physical attraction at first sight. But there is no way you can deeply know, trust, and respect that person right from the get-go. Love, admiration, and respect take much longer to develop and grow. With time, real love strengthens as you build trust. Love makes you feel physically safe and emotionally secure with your partner.

4. Love requires patience.

Along with time, love requires patience. We can’t love another person unless we learn to be patient with ourselves, with the other person, and with things taking time to develop. Patience is an all-too rare commodity in this era of instant gratification. We expect instant results, next-day delivery, and romances that bloom overnight into soul-mate marriages. With patience, we allow the situation to unfold naturally, without rushing, demanding, or pushing the pace. Patience requires letting go and trusting that the universe will work things out the way they are meant to work out. Patience is not trying too hard or forcing something to happen. If it is meant to happen, trust that it will work out.

5. Love takes work.

Love is a verb. Love is an action. Love requires effort and hard work to be fully realized. Love requires two people equally working at the relationship, in order for love to grow stronger. Love is not a one-way street.

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6. Love requires being present.

When we love another person, it is important to be fully present with him or her. It is extremely important to listen to what he or she has to say. Really being present in the moment with him/her and empathizing with that person when they share their story can mean the world. Listening and being present is the biggest and best gift that we can give one another. Listening, in this age of distractions, electronic devices, short attention spans, and self-centered absorption is difficult. We feel more important, respected, and special when someone really truly listens to what we have to say. Strive to be present physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Work hard to stay present without ruminating about the past, or jumping ahead to the future. After all, the present is the only true reality. The past is conjured up from memories we have reconstructed in our minds, and the future is made up of mental fantasies that we play out in our heads. The present is all we really ever have.

7. Love is kindness.

Love should never hurt. We get confused when we think that love equals dramatic up and downs, intense feelings, fighting, making up, game playing, and dramatic pushing and pulling. Yes, maybe that is how we understood love in middle school. Maybe those behaviors make for a dramatic and exciting Hollywood romantic comedy. However, in reality, mature love between adults is consistent, kind, and stable. You should feel safe and secure with your partner – both physically and emotionally. Life is hard enough without having your partner cutting you down, being critical, or belittling your character. Love builds you up. Real love is when someone treats you with kindness and respect, even when you disagree – even when he or she is angry.

8. Love for yourself is a prerequisite, before you can love another.

We can only give away what we ourselves already possess. We can only feel love towards another person when we love ourselves, fully and entirely. We often mistakenly approach relationships as this obsessive hunt for “the one” who will finally complete us, fill up the lonely places in our hearts, make us happy, and meet all of our needs forever. Unfortunately, such expectations are doomed to fail. When we look to another to provide us with everything we can’t give to ourselves, we are setting up unreasonable expectations. We put a tremendous amount of pressure on our partner and unknowingly sabotage our relationship.

Only we know what we need, want, and desire. The only person who can make us truly happy is our self. If we expect our partners to provide this contentment, they will eventually disappoint. Inevitably, we will then dump our partner and go hunt for a new one who we think will finally be perfect for us, and perpetuate the cycle. Rinse. Recycle. Repeat. It is only when we love ourselves first and foremost, learn to take care of ourselves, meet our own needs, and build our own happiness, that we will ever be truly content with another person.

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9. Love is not selfish and self-absorbed.

When we love another person, we become bigger than ourselves. We are no longer self-centered. Our circle of care expands to include our loved one, and by default, other people. When we love, our capacity for empathy, compassion, and caring grows. On the other hand, if we are impatient, if we act selfishly and demand love or demand our needs be met in a certain way or at certain time, we are not ready for real love. This dynamic can also sometimes happen in toxic relationships, where one partner is emotionally abusive to another. Remember, love requires taking care of yourself first, while making concessions and compromises for another. Love is putting someone else’s needs above your own.

10. Love is being all in.

Above all, love is about being vulnerable. It’s about taking a risk and opening up our hearts to another person who may or may not leave us, who may or may not destroy our trust and faith, and who may or may not break our hearts. It’s a terrifying proposition. Being vulnerable and exposed is uncomfortable and unsettling. Most of us shrink back in fear when we experience real intimacy. Relationships take two people in agreement to begin, but they only take one person who wants to leave for them to end. It’s an unfair truth of the universe. However, really loving someone is about being all in. There is no safety hatch where you can play it safe by being half in and half out. Keeping one foot on the gas and one foot on the break while in a relationship is unpleasant, unfair, and unkind to your partner. This hesitant kind of love makes you small, cheap, and a coward. Be brave. Be courageous. Real love requires finding someone who is worthy of your trust. Real love means giving everything that you have, even when there are no guarantees.

11. Love is never perfect.

We all have ideals regarding love and relationships. We have this romanticized fantasy that when we finally meet our person, everything will fall into place. Love will be easy, it will be fun, and we will be happy and content. Yes, healthy relationships are for the most part fulfilling, satisfying, and joyful. But that doesn’t mean that they are absolutely perfect. It doesn’t mean that either person is perfect or always acting perfectly and ideally towards the other. No matter how wonderful your relationship might be, you will find yourself feeling annoyed at your partner at times. Your partner will say some senseless comment that will deeply hurt you, even when they had no intention of doing so.

Life is messy. Real relationships are about growing together, learning together, and negotiating compromise. We have to learn to state our needs and wants in an assertive, but non-threatening and non-blaming manner. If we expect our partner to read our mind and somehow know what we need and want without us having to say anything, we are dooming our relationship to failure.

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We also have to release our preconceived notions regarding how our ideal partner will be and how it should feel. We need to be open to the experience and let things unfold naturally. We need to practice patience and self-compassion, so we can be compassionate, forgiving, and empathetic towards ourselves and our partner when they inevitably disappoint us at some point. A perfect relationship exists when two people are not willing to give up on each other. Either you accept your partner just as they are, or you let them go. Don’t fault-find.

12. Love is about being with someone you can be yourself around.

Find someone who you can relax with and feel comfortable enough to be yourself around. Find someone who brings out your best. Find someone who loves you, who likes you as a friend, and accepts you just the way you are. Any person who makes you feel like you are small, less than, or not good enough you need to run away from. Immediately. There’s this quote I love that ties in perfectly with this advice: “In a dating and courtship relationship, I would not have you spend five minutes with someone who belittles you, who is constantly critical of you, who is cruel at your expense and may even call it humor. Life is tough enough without having the person who is supposed to love you leading the assault on your self-esteem, your sense of dignity, your confidence, and your joy.”

13. Love feels like deep caring, friendship, respect, and admiration for another person.

We often wonder what “true love” should feel like. Well, it isn’t as hard as we might make it out to be. Love is that feeling of deep caring, friendship, respect and admiration for another person. Love takes time to develop. Love requires getting to know someone’s character and really liking that person. Ask yourself, if you weren’t dating your partner, would you still be good friends with him/her? Find someone who you love spending time with and who makes you want to be a better person.

14.  Love can take you by surprise…

…And it often does. Love usually happens when we least expect it. Love does not happen according to our schedule. We cannot just decide one day that we are going to fall in love on Tuesday at 4:21 PM. We can’t just order love to happen at this moment in our life. We can do this with career changes, with moving into a new home, or changing our activities and hobbies we enjoy. We cannot force love. We cannot rush love. Love almost certainly will not happen at the time that you want, in the way you want, and with the person that you expect that it will.

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15. Love is commitment.

Real love requires commitment by both people to make it work. There will always be other tempting options and attractive people out there. There might be the little question in the back of your mind wondering, “What if there is someone BETTER still out there?” However, real love happens when two people are ready to commit to each other. Love happens when both people are emotionally mature enough to ride the bumps, to grow, to learn and to build trust with each other, rather than always wondering if it might be easier with someone else. It isn’t. Real love requires work, commitment, patience, and perseverance. There’s a quote by Cheryl Strayed, author of the book TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS, which summarizes this concept perfectly: “You cannot convince people to love you. This is an absolute rule. No one will ever give you love because you want him or her to give it. Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.”

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15 Truths About Love We Tend to Forget

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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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