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25 Things Only People Who Have A Niece Or Nephew Would Understand

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25 Things Only People Who Have A Niece Or Nephew Would Understand

When your brother or sister has a kid, you’re flooded with nostalgia, overwhelmed with joy and see life in an expansive way you never knew before.

After the initial mind blowing sensation has settled in, the moments you share with these new little people are profound, powerful, beautiful and revitalizing.

Here are 25 things only someone who has a niece or nephew could understand.

1. How fun it is when they start to talk and you can joke around with them

While poop jokes are always a winner, starting to banter more and more with your nieces and nephews becomes an increasingly stimulating experience as they get older.

Not only are they some of the funniest people you’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, the experience of witnessing their developing minds is so rewarding.

2. Finding out what their “favorites” are

Favorite ice cream flavor, favorite color, favorite animal: as whimsical as these decisions can be for a kid, getting to see them decide what they like and don’t like is fascinating.

3. Hearing them trying to pronounce your name

There are few things cuter than listening to a toddler trying to figure out how to make the sounds of your name with their newly wielded skill of speech.

The shortcut nickname they come up with is your favorite thing to be called from then on.

4. How hard it is not to laugh when they sass back

You’re trying to be a supportive grown-up, but it’s hard not to laugh when they quip back to a parent’s correction with a zinger you just couldn’t see coming.

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“No Billy, I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing about a joke I heard earlier. Listen to your mom.”

5. How cool it is to wake them up to make an epic pancake breakfast

There’s nothing more fun than spending the night at your sibling’s place and waking the kids up early to help you make a pancake breakfast.

The excitement in their sleepy little faces and an ensuing battering of questions like, “Can we add sprinkles?” make for some lifetime memories.

6. How incredibly messy it is when you try to make an epic pancake breakfast with little kids

Wow. The idyllic vision of the pancake breakfast quickly becomes a flurry of flour vision, spilled milk and eggs with the fate of Humpty Dumpty on the kitchen floor.

So, so messy. But so, so worth it.

7. The look in their eyes when you read something magical to them for the first time

The Hobbit; The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; Harry Potter: these are a few classics of our time that excite the imagination and instill a sense of wonder.

Seeing the possibilities well up in their eyes as you spend time reading and connecting with them is absolutely priceless.

8. The feeling when they fall asleep with their little arms slung around you

The connection you feel when one of these precious little people surrenders to sleep, feeling safe with you, is completely disarming.

When this happens you have no desire to move, to put them in bed or to do anything else but experience the moment.

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9. How funny it is when they use grown up phrases

From the likes of “Hey, Lady” or “How ya doin’ sweetheart?”, kids really do say the darndest things just when you don’t expect them to. And it’s the most adorable thing in the stinking world.

10. What it’s like to see their personalities blossom

Even from the first time you lay eyes on those new little creatures, their personalities can already shine through.

My first niece was a firecracker right from the start. She screamed until she was red all over when she was born. My second niece whimpered a little, but calmed right down once they got her bundled up like the little snuggle bunny she is.

To this day their personalities couldn’t be more divergent, and they complement each other beautifully.

11. How they help keep you grounded

There’s no reality check like the kind you receive from the astoundingly insightful five-year-old who can see through, not just your excuses, but all the trappings of the grown up world.

Sometimes kids are smarter than adults.

12. How they help you remember what it was like to be a kid

The simplicity, the fearlessness, the view from three feet above the ground, these are things that playing with your nieces and nephews brings you back to.

At their level,  you’re back in a place where you can really enjoy things as simple as the deep satisfaction that comes from building an adequate sandcastle.

13. How badly you want to protect them from anything that could ever hurt them

You begin to understand how and why your parents worried so much about you. Watching these little ones grow up stirs up the beginnings of parental protective impulses.

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If only there was a way to protect them from heartache, danger or any kind of pain. And you will do just that to the extent that you can.

14. How they make you glad to be an aunt or uncle, not a mom or dad just yet

Kids are awesome. They can also be absolutely awful. And when they are, It’s nice that it’s not your job to figure out the best disciplinary methods. Phew!

The hugeness of the responsibility settles in when you see people close to you raise kids. They need braces? Though your empathetic toward your siblings, you’re also secretly relieved that it’s not your job to figure out how to fund “Project Tammy’s Teeth” and other technical parenting stuff.

15. How they make having your own kids seem less intimidating

At the same time, the vague mysterious idea of “raising kids” is disassembled when you interact with your nieces and nephews. You come to realize that, kids are just people, imperfect interested and fascinating.

The pressure of raising kids “right” is lessened when you see your siblings struggle and triumph in a range of ways which comes out in the personalities of their kids.

16. How much better a hug feels when it comes from arms that can barely reach around you

Tiny, pure, and heartfelt. That’s the way it feels when you get a hug from one of the rambunctious little souls.

17. How fun it is to introduce them to things that interest them

When you’re the one who first sat them down to watch Star Wars, took them to a baseball game or helped them snap a picture on your SLR, you get to cultivate their individual interests.

It makes you feel every bit the cool aunt or uncle and like you’re a part of helping them develop a rich life full of passions.

18. How uninhibited they can be

Still learning social norms, it’s not uncommon for a kid to tell your romantic interest that you farted in the car earlier or to ask you why, by the way, you drive such a junky car?

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Unpredictable and uninhibited, your nieces and nephews say what’s on their minds. They’re not trying to people please, so their perspectives are incredibly refreshing, if jarring at times.

19. Getting to know their idiosyncrasies

Seeing the way they decide to categorize their matchbox collection and how ardent they are about not getting it “mixed up”, strikes you with admiration of the varieties of their little quirks and preferences.

20. How blind they are to your imperfections

It doesn’t matter how unenthusiastic you feel, how much you screwed up at work, or what suitor didn’t find you suitable, when you see your nieces and nephews, all that just fades away and you actually feel as cool as they see you. Their optimism is contagious.

21. How cool it is to see similarities and differences from your siblings in them

Like a variation in piece of music, your nieces and nephews are a blending of your sibling and their partner both in mannerisms and personalities. They’re also their very own entirely new force in the world.

It instills a sense of wonder for existence at its very core.

22. How weird it is to see them start to grow up

When the egg-shape-headed baby from the hospital drives your car for practice in a parking lot for the first time, it’s surreal.

When did they start using compete sentences, much less operating motor vehicles?

23. How heartbreaking it is to tell them you’re moving far away

This is the worst. Trying to explain to a little kid that you won’t be able to see them as much any more because the distance between you will be so much greater, is rebutted with comments like, “Well, come over anyway.”

It jump starts your mind to a time when things were just that simple, the world was expansive and solutions were always clear. Trying to explain miles will break your heart.

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24. Coming home for the holidays to a houseful of munchkin voices calling your name out in unison

It’s one of the most welcoming things you can experience and fills your heart with love and a sense of family you never understood before. It’s also unbelievably cute and makes the holidays so much more special.

25. How real and limitless your bond is

No matter how much distance separates you or how much time passes, spending time with your nieces and nephews will always be one of the most precious and rewarding experiences in life. They’ll always be your little pals.

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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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