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4 Reasons to Stop Beating Yourself Up

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4 Reasons to Stop Beating Yourself Up

We all get down on ourselves once in a while. It is a natural human instinct and can serve as a good motivation booster. Unfortunately, there are many who live daily with the notion that they will never be good enough. It is a crippling feeling that can affect any type of person from the most unsuccessful to the most successful. And why?

There are a million and one answers to that question and it varies from person to person. Much of the time, it is probably the way an individual learned to organize and filter their existence from a young age. It could have developed later after much failure and hardship. Who can say? It also doesn’t help that we live in a society that glorifies excessive beauty, wealth, and power. We are bombarded with a constant stream of media that tells us we need to be better in every way.

In the face of such powerful forces, it can be difficult to learn how to counteract the inevitable negativity those forces instigate. However, I think it is important not to view it as a struggle. Instead, we must examine why we feel such things. So without further ado, here are some things to think about when coping with negative self-worth.

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1. You are a super intelligent being

being intelligent is sexy

    Maybe some of you are thinking, “No that’s not me, I didn’t go to college, I didn’t even go to high school. I don’t know anything about anything.” Pish posh. Education is no measurement of intelligence. Even the most “unintelligent” (I use that word grudgingly) human being is smarter than any other creature on this planet. The point is that every person has the capacity to learn. Furthermore, it is not the things you learn, or even the things you are good at that make you intelligent. It is the ability to choose to do those things. It is human will. We all have it.

    So maybe you’ll never be an astro-physicist. My guess is there is something (or many things) that you enjoy; something that no one else can do quite the way you do. Maybe you don’t know what that is yet. So start looking, and don’t stop until you find that thing. Then, it is up to you to use that incredible gift of intelligence and make the choice to pursue your endeavors.

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    2. You are your own worst enemy

    own enemy

      Those of you who immediately doubted your own intelligence while reading number 1, this one’s for you. Who said you’re not intelligent? Who said you can’t do this or that? You did. Sure, somewhere down the road we’ve all been told by one person or another, whether by suggestion or actual words, that we are not good enough. So what? At the end of the day, you get to make that call, and only you.

      Too often, we forget that we are in charge of our existence. We let ourselves be swayed by the opinions and biases of our parents, friends, partners, and sometimes even strangers. Understand, I’m not endorsing delusional behavior. Sometimes we want to have or do something so badly, but for the wrong reasons. It is up to us to reflect upon and examine why we want the things we want, and why we do the things we do. Only then do we see that we can in fact be our own worst enemies by letting ourselves get pulled into what others want for us, rather than what we truly desire.

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      3. You’re all you’ve got

      Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 11.20.33 AM

        Of course I don’t mean that you are alone in this life. We are all in this together. Yet, when it comes down to it, only you, the individual, have the power to give meaning to your life. Yes, there can be people, things, and endeavors that bring you great joy and value, but you are the one who chooses to bring those things into your life. And ultimately, it is your reaction to, and what you learn from those forces that ascribe meaning to your existence.

        Your reality is your own. The way you experience things is a manifestation of everything that’s going on inside. It all comes back to the individual. In acknowledging our patterns of thought, emotion, and action, we get to know ourselves better. We learn to be friends with ourselves, and realize that we are the only ones who can change our reality for the better.

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        4. The pains of youth are not your fault

        Sometimes all of the above thoughts don’t quite cut it. Sometimes we need to dig a little deeper. An unfortunate fact of life is that many of us harbor feelings of extreme inadequacy based upon things that happened (or didn’t happen) when we were growing up under our guardian’s roof. Many may not even realize that their anger, sorrow, and anxiety stem from this incredibly pertinent time in their lives.

        If you are still living with childhood pain, it must be acknowledged and worked through. Maybe you’ve always blamed yourself for your parents’ divorce. Maybe you’ve lived with the notion that you don’t deserve love or attention because you never received any from your guardians. Maybe it’s much worse than either of those examples.

        In any case, you must understand that whatever it is for which you are blaming yourself, it is not your fault. How could it be? A child knows no better. Our little minds are only partially developed then. We only want one thing: the love and affection of our guardians. If we don’t get what we need and deserve, how else are we suppose to feel but unimportant and worthless?

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        If you are an adult dealing with these issues, remember that it is not about casting blame. It is about acknowledging that you are responsible for your own well being now, and that you deserve to take care of yourself. Of course, we don’t just wake up one day and start doing this. It will only happen with intense therapy, self-reflection or a combination of the two. It is up to each of us to take that step.

        Final Thoughts

        The next time you are feeling the pangs of self-loathing, try to think or, better yet, feel your incredible potential as a human being. It may not work the first time or even the tenth time, but make a habit of shifting your thoughts from the negative to the positive, and you will begin to alter those patterns.

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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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