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7 Myths About Love That Could Harm Your Relationship

7 Myths About Love That Could Harm Your Relationship

Remember those fascinating Mills and Boon love novels, the ones we hid under our school books to read at night and the romantic movies that literally swept us off our feet with their mushy love scenes? I don’t remember the names of those novels or the movies anymore, but I sure remember how they made me feel.

Somewhere in the back of my mind they made me build a wish list of the qualities I wanted to see in my better half—the way he should be, the way he should not be, the way our life will be together and the magical ways life will turn into a fairy-tale once we are together.

But real life was a complete eye opener. It is for a lot of us who unconsciously carry these ideals (even when they scoff at it) and get into relationships disillusioned by their own beliefs and expectations. This often leads to facing a fall in the real world.

It thus comes as no surprise that, according to John Cacioppo, an expert on loneliness from the University of Chicago, roughly 20 percent of individuals—that would be 60 million people in the U.S.—feel alone and credit this loneliness as a major source of unhappiness in their lives.

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It’s time for a reality check and to bust those Love myths that have been deluding our senses and blocking us from having balanced, healthy relationships.

1.  “Someone somewhere is made just for you; Love is about finding the missing half, the one person who will complete you.”

The Truth: This has to be the most distorted and yet the most widely followed description of love and relationships. In reality, a healthy relationship constitutes of two wholesome people. They share and grow together with time, and experience and aid each other’s emotional and mental growth along the way.

But in no way are they dependent on each other to find fulfillment in their own life. And if you do feel the need for someone else to complete you, maybe its time to introspect and find the real reason behind that feeling: an insecurity, a dream you didn’t persuade, an unrewarding job, or something else?

2. “Love at first Sight! I will see that person and knows it’s him/her. Some magical signs will alert me that he/she is the one I have been looking for all my life.”

The Truth: While people can be instantly attracted to each other, some scientists say that being in love means really getting to know someone over time. Since love is about finding your soul mate and a person you can connect with at a mind-and-soul level, it is impossible to fall in love at first sight because there is no way you can tell if a person’s values, beliefs, and thoughts match those of your own just by looking at them.

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For that you need to spend considerable amount of time together, meet often, or do activities together.

3. “ Love means everlasting happiness. Couples in love, are always happy and sharing laughter and giggles all the time.”

The Truth: This is one of the deadliest myths because it makes people believe that relationships should bring them happiness and somehow evade their sorrows and transform their lives into one long, romantic fairy tale.

The truth cannot be far from this. Finding the right partner is just the beginning of a relationship which brings with it its own responsibilities: the hard work that is required to understand the other person, particularly his or her ways of doing things, which you then must mold with yours so that you can somehow find a balance and create a zone of peaceful co-existence, where differences can stay together without colliding.

Yes, it requires that much thought process!

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4. “If it is meant to happen, it will. If I am supposed to meet my soul mate one day, I will. I just have to wait for the D Day.”

The Truth: It’s funny how we leave the most important decision of our life in the hands of fate and literally sit with folded hands waiting for the perfect one to just one day appear out of the blue.

In reality, we have to just keep looking to find someone we are compatible with. Just like finding our dream job, finding love too takes a lot of preparation, thought, planning and action. The relationship needs to be nurtured, strengthened and allowed to grow.

5. “Love is another name for sacrifice.”

The Truth: By dictionary meaning, sacrifice refers to “giving up on something that is highly valued.” If you think from this perspective, love will never demand or create a situation where you have to give up on something you value most.

A loving partner will never demand you to give up on something you treasure, e.g. an old friendship. In fact, he or she will ensure that you will always get to keep this precious relationship in your life. Adjusting and compromising to make the relationship is acceptable but sacrifice is not.

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6. “People in love never fight. They just live happily ever after.”

The Truth: Since no two people are 100% alike, it is natural that some friction will be created when they share the same space 24 hours in a day.

It is also impossible for them to be in the best of their moods all this while, but the couples who survive these rough patches are the ones who create something meaningful and useful even from arguments, and take a step forward in understanding each other better after a discord.

7. “Jealousy, Thy name is love”.

The Truth: Jealousy is just another name for irrational insecurities. It represents weak bonding and distrust.

Misunderstanding jealousy for Love is just spoiling its name and disrespecting the selfless emotion that love truly is. If you were to truly love a person, you would rejoice in his/her happiness, try to be a part of his success and joy, and accept his family, friends and loved ones as your own and value the things that are important to him or her.

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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)

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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