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5 Self-limiting Beliefs That Ruin Our Social Life

5 Self-limiting Beliefs That Ruin Our Social Life
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Everybody has problems and issues but not everybody does something about them.

In fact, most people don’t even want to admit having them, not to mention defining them.

We live in a world where conventional wisdom dominates and being happy means being average. But that’s terribly wrong.

Actually most of the time we feel that something is just not right and things could be better. We have our strong moments and realizations when we are aware of our potential and the things we can do with our life. Unfortunately, that doesn’t last long.

The main problem is our self-limiting beliefs.

They define our thoughts, which define our actions. So for as long as we can remember, we’ve been living with the same results.

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These beliefs have no actual explanation, can’t be proved and are usually negative. They make us think that we can’t do certain things and that they are impossible, so there’s no point in even trying.

Some apply to our social life and define things like whether or not we will feel comfortable having conversations with strangers, find the right partner, impress others, have relationships that last, be loved, be respected, grab attention and so on.

Here, I’ll try to mention the ones that are a big part of our everyday life but that ruin our performance in front of people.

1. He/she won’t be interested in me.

You can never know that. And yet, we have all been thinking that way and as a result didn’t even approach people we like so many times. And, of course, missed a lot of opportunities because of that.
Who knows, maybe our soul mate was among them?

The thing is that people don’t think anything of us before we’ve approached them. They may have formed some vague impression but that means nothing. Even when you want to approach people you’ve known for years but feel that they won’t like you, so you don’t even talk to them, you’re wrong.

They never knew you at the first place so you can make a good impression for less than 5 minutes if you’re confident enough and have something interesting to say and show.

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2. Some people are just born extroverts and have great social skills.

No, they’ve simply become so.

Every skill in this world is learned and everyone is able to master it through practice.

Thinking that the sociable people you see all the time can engage anyone they meet in a unique conversation means that you also believe you can never be like them. And that thought itself is a strong limitation that prevents you from actually becoming more open and talking freely to others.

Until you eliminate it and substitute it for a positive one (like “It will take time but I can become more confident in myself and approach people and make them like me right away.”), you won’t make any progress.

3. I’m not ___ enough and that’s why he/she will never like me.

So wrong! That belief is what distinguishes the scared antisocial people who never leave their comfort zone from the ones who achieve anything they want, including the man/woman they like.

The empty space in that self-limiting belief can be filled with any word. You may think you’re not good-looking enough, not rich, fit, smart or experienced enough. Whatever it is that you believe, try to eliminate it and think that you are good enough instead.

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I know it’s not an easy thing to do but it’s absolutely possible. Only this little improvement will change the course of your life.

4. I’ll just be myself and the right person for me will eventually find me.

In “The Secret Code” – a great book about the art of seduction – the authors say:

“This (being yourself) only works if you know exactly who you are, what your strengths are, and how to convey them successfully. Most often, this statement is used as an excuse not to improve. What most of us present to the world isn’t necessarily our true self, it’s a combination of years of bad habits and fear-based behavior. Our real self lies buried underneath all the insecurities and inhibitions. So rather than just being yourself, focus on discovering and permanently bringing to the surface your best self.”

So you can’t just sit there, change nothing and wait for the right person to find you. You need to constantly work on yourself, to make small steps that will eventually turn you into a better version of yourself and will help you live the life you were meant to.

5. They’re talking bad about me.

That’s just an example and can stand for every time you think people are speaking ill of you, are looking at you, laughing at something you did, say or the way you look like.

Now that belief is ridiculous and yet one of the most common. I’ve felt it myself many times.

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But then I realized how funny it was. Because this makes us think that it’s all about us and people – even if we’ve never spoken to them – are talking about us. This means we feel so special that wherever we go, we grab the attention and all people around us stop the conversation they’re having and start talking about us. We’re also sure it’s a bad thing and as a result feel sad and depressed and our self-esteem decreases significantly.

Well, the truth is that 99% of the time we’re wrong. People are less interested in us that we think and making it all personal harms our own understanding of ourselves and ruins our social life.

We need to stop being so self-centered, stop taking things personally and realize that it’s not all about us.

Some of the times people may be actually talking about us, but who said it’s something negative. In the other cases, well, we can have their attention but will need to work on that a bit more than just showing up somewhere.

These are just a small part of all the self-limiting beliefs that pop up in our head all the time. It really affects our behavior and sometimes they’re the only reason we can’t talk freely to people and get out there and impress.

It’s a big step in our self-improvement but eliminating those thoughts will make us believe that we’re capable of much more and thus achieve it.

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So go out more, communicate with people and engage in conversations as much as you can. You can never fail on that quest, you can just give up before you’ve shown them your good side.

Featured photo credit: I Can’t See You…/Peter via flickr.com

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Lidiya K

Lidiya is the founder of Let's Reach Success, a blog on personal, spiritual and business growth.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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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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