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6 Easy Ways To Love Your True Self

6 Easy Ways To Love Your True Self
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The phrase ‘your true self’ is something that gets thrown around as part of neo-spiritual terminology for the soul, the spirit, the ether, whatever you want to call it, but it’s actually a little less spiritual than that. Your true self is the very core and fundamental tenant of your personality and your imprint as a human being.

However, actually bringing forth and loving your true self can be pretty darned hard, particularly when we’re being bombarded all the time by products that promise physical perfection and emotional serenity that is shallow deep. If you’re looking for a personal haul over and fancy getting in touch with your true self, here are six easy ways for loving your true self.

1. Forgive yourself.

We all do bad stuff, we all make mistakes – both big and small – and there’s no chance of going through life without making one. We’re human, we’re flawed, and the guilt we take on after making mistakes can stop you from loving your true self. The first step towards loving your true self is to accept the mistakes in your past and draw a line under the sand.

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Simply, you cannot change what has happened in the past, but you can change how you feel about it and how you let it affect your day-to-day life. Think about your biggest regrets and mistakes and feel good in the knowledge that you’ve learned from them and you won’t make those same kind of mistakes in the future.

2. Love yourself.

It’s a bit of a trite sentiment, but it’s one largely rooted in both self-care and common sense: love yourself. In order for you to appreciate and reach the best version of your true self, then you have to love yourself, as you are, right now. In this very moment. It seems hard and a bit of an obstacle sometimes because people are generally so critical on themselves that it seems impossible, but have faith.

Loving yourself is the way of opening up your true self because your true self will never be ‘true’ when it’s under a situation of anger, hate, sadness and self-criticism that swamps you in a big cycle. Go look in the mirror and see the person in there, away from the faults, away from the human errors and failures, and see the human being within. Then go and say those three little words. I dare you.

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3. Be kind to yourself.

Be kind to yourself, reader. There is something universal in the idea that we have to be kind to other people, kind to those of us who share this world we live in, and yet somehow we miss the point that we are supposed to be kind to ourselves. In a world where more and more pressure is put on people to be everything all at once – successful, kind, smart, confident, serene, strong, sensitive, and so forth, it’s absolutely impossible to be all of those things at once and to juggle all of our demands and expectations at once. Your true self can’t be there if you’re busy being incredibly harsh on yourself by strict, impossible standards.

If you wouldn’t say what you think about yourself to a friend, then don’t think it. Embrace your awkward, human faults because they’re yours and they’re what makes you unique. Kindness is something that needs to be practiced both outwards to your fellow beings and inwards to yourself. Your true self needs to flourish and become the best version it can be under compassion and kindness. Let’s all be kinder to ourselves. Deal?

4. Treat yourself.

I cannot relay how much I want people to treat themselves – life is too short, a blink in the eye of the universe, to be miserable and self-denying. That isn’t to say you should live beyond your means, but treating yourself a little and often is one of the best ways to nurture a compassionate relationship between you and your true self.

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Whether it’s a book, a glass of wine or a sweet candy from your favorite store, go ahead and treat yourself now and then because being super-restrictive all the time will produce no real positive results.

5. Express yourself.

Don’t start feeling that your true self isn’t what your heart desires – it absolutely is and you should express yourself in whatever way you want, as long as it doesn’t hurt another person. Self-expression is one of the greatest things that you can do and it speaks absolutely from the heart. Expressing yourself also helps explore who your true self really is and isn’t.

Go paint, read, write, draw, dance, explore – do whatever it is that makes you happy.  Expressing yourself is one of the sure-fire ways to ensure that your true self is being explored and adhered to. Keep the fires of your curiosity blazing and it will help you with actualizing your true self.

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6. Invest in your true self.

Keep working on your true self. It seems a little like a corny, like a tired New Year’s resolution cliche’, but investing in yourself is incredibly important because it shows that you are emotionally and spiritually entrenched in loving and honoring your true self to the best of your ability. Your true self needs investing in so it can grow, evolve and make you the best person you can be.

Think about those dreams you keep close to your heart and work on making them happen. Learn that language you’ve always wanted to learn, take that class, do that brave and scary activity you’ve always wanted to do. Invest in those things and by doing them, you will transform into the kind of well-rounded, healthy human being you’ve always wanted to be.  The kind of human being who is deeply in touch with their true self.

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)

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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