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If You Think Love Is Always Uncontrollable, You Don’t Understand Love

If You Think Love Is Always Uncontrollable, You Don’t Understand Love
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Today, it seems, we have an incredible amount of expectation of one another. The idea of unconditional love seems to have fallen by the wayside, as more and more of us want love, but are ill-prepared to give or even receive it.

To love someone under any circumstance is a true test of unconditional loving, and although it may seem simple, it is probably one of the toughest attributes to possess. This kind of love requires an unconditional love of yourself first, so you can have the strength of heart and mind to give the same to another human being. This is where we fall down.

Within our society there seems to be so much pressure to be perfect that to love ourselves has become a pretty hard task to achieve, but it is the key to total, unconditional love of all others.

Unconditional love is to love someone no matter what life throws at us.

What is love? According to the book Real Love: The Truth About Finding Unconditional Love and Fulfilling Relationships,[1] unconditional love is true love. It is caring about another person’s happiness without demanding for any benefits for themselves.

It is not unconditional love when someone likes you only because you can give them what they want. It is also not unconditional love when someone only loves you under certain circumstances, say when you’re happy, healthy or rich.

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Unconditional love also means accepting another person for who they are, their faults and weaknesses.

There are conditions though, no one should tolerate in a loving relationship.

Unconditional love does not mean “I love you if you hurt me.”[2]

Unconditional love doesn’t mean you should accept truly hurtful and toxic behaviors. When hurt comes in continuously, or when abuse and cheating are involved, commitment should end.

Unconditional love is never easy; but with a little bit of practice, it’s reachable.

If you’ve never received unconditional love, it can become hard to then give it out. Below are seven ways you can practice how to love in this way and truly change your life.

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1. Love is not how you feel, it is more about how you act.

Try to think of love in this way and you won’t go far wrong. If you treat love as a feeling, when you are getting something from someone else and then you stop getting it then your feelings will change along with your behavior. An example of this is when you try to be someone you aren’t, or perhaps you have to do something in order to receive love: these then make love conditional.

However, if you start to act a certain way and are not requiring someone else to be something they are not, then that love is unconditional. Your love is not based on what someone else does or says, which means you can continue to act the same way regardless of how other people behave.

2. Adapt your love to others.

Love is received and given to others in many different forms and, unfortunately, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ philosophy.

Unconditional love is a conscious decision you make every day and in every new situation that comes along. There are no rules laid out for everyone, you apply it person by person.

3. Give unconditionally to yourself.

If you are a people pleaser, which many of us tend to be, you’ll be more interested in giving love to others rather than to yourself.

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The love you give to others will not be unconditional, because you’ll be allowing how they make you feel rule how much love you want to return to them. This is not unconditional.

However, if you are constantly pleasing others you are lacking self-love. So give yourself unconditional love first, and the rest will come.

4. Love can sometimes be uncomfortable.

To truly love someone, you have to be able to take the rough with the smooth, and in this instance trying to protect someone from being uncomfortable is not a sign of unconditional love.

Pain and growth are part of life and shielding them from this is not love—if you only set out to make them feel satisfied and happy all the time you will do more harm than good!

Unconditional love requires you to let them experience pain so that they will find their own way and grow at their own pace.

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5. Learn forgiveness.

This isn’t about allowing someone to wipe their feet all over you; it’s about choosing to react in a better way, a kinder way for yourself.

If someone has hurt you or let you down, choose forgiveness by letting go of the anger and resentment you have towards them. How you act towards a specific person will change depending on what has happened, but if you choose to act lovingly and not hold on to negative feelings, you will love them unconditionally.

6. Show love to those whom you think don’t deserve it.

Normally when someone else is negative towards you or about you, it’s likely that these people lack something in their own life that prevent them from truly loving themselves. If you see this before you react, and put yourself in their shoes, it can help you in the situation because you know deep inside it is more to do with them than with you. It’s here where you decide to give unconditional love and give it more frequently.

Being this way will provide a good pay off for the toxic people around you, but most importantly, for you, too.

7. Practice unconditional love with a simple act every day.

Try to do this at least once a day: give something and not be wanting anything in return. It can be letting someone through a door first, giving way to another car in a traffic jam, or telling someone you love them without expecting to hear it back in return.

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Do something every day and I promise—even though you don’t want anything in return—you’ll get a huge amount of pleasure from just giving unconditional love.

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Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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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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