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7 Ways to Stop Your Casual Relationship From Ruining Your Love Life

7 Ways to Stop Your Casual Relationship From Ruining Your Love Life

Just rewind back to when you were a child and you used to play with your Barbie and Ken dolls. You put so much of your imagination into those toys. You created story lines, plots and character arcs that would put the best writers in Hollywood to shame. For many of us, Barbie and Ken were the first relationships we experienced. As children, we believed that every relationship should be like Barbie’s and Ken.

Then, we were invaded by the hookup culture, where sex became as fast and as cheap as a Quarter Pounder with cheese. Now, our sex lives are equivalent to our fast food addictions.We know that they both offer very little nutritional value, yet we can’t stop eating because we are addicted to the taste. While fast food clogs up our arteries, casual relationships and 2am booty calls block us from receiving real love and intimacy. Casual relationships may keep us trapped in our own fantasy world, where our relationships are as superficial as Ken and Barbie plastic dolls. Lucky for you, you can save your love life by learning these 7 major tips.

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Don’t engage in uncommitted sex — you might regret it later.

Hookups and uncommitted sex became more frequent in the 1920s with the invention of the automobile. People were no longer restricted to having sex in a bed, when the back seat of a car was just as convenient.  By the 1960s, a full fledged sexual revolution had begun. The rise of feminism and widespread availability of contraception such as birth control and condoms gave birth to the era of the casual relationship. Today, the media is a huge source of sex education.  We are inundated with messages about uncommitted sex being healthy and enjoyable. But quantity doesn’t necessary equate to quality.  When a survey was conducted with 270 college students, 72 percent indicated that they felt a sense of regret after a casual hookup. (Oswalt, Cameron, & Koob, 2005).

Don’t use uncommitted sex as a cop-out. You’re worthy and capable of a committed relationship.

You ever notice how everything is great in the beginning when you’re casually dating? Then, when the B word (boyfriend) or G word (girlfriend) is uttered, everything changes. Suddenly there are these unrealistic expectations. And your Barbie and Ken fantasy relationship starts to feel like demented characters in some cheesy horror film. You feel like you’ve got to put on an act by wearing clown paint and a twisted smile. Besides, you have to cover up your unhappiness, misery and disappointment. Only the clown makeup feels like war paint, reminding you of all the wars you’ve fought, lost and won in all of your dead-end relationships.Labeling your relationship as casual is like putting a Band-Aid on a severed knee. It’s not going to make things better. You’re a human being with real emotions, and no amount of uncommitted sex is ever going to change that. Instead, address the real reasons why you’re having a difficult time making a real connection with another human being.

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Don’t give yourself a free pass. Use every hook-up as an opportunity to learn about yourself.

Many people say they like to keep things light. In truth, they don’t want to make any real sacrifices or investments into having a committed relationship. Ironically, they want all the benefits of a committed relationship such as sex, love, intimacy and security. You may very well feel entitled to a free pass because you’re in a casual relationship. However, you still have to put work into yourself. Now, you have the freedom to try different sex partners like they are a pair of shoes. Take this opportunity to learn from them. Learn what you like and what you don’t like. Use this information to understand what gives you pleasure. Then, you’ll know exactly what qualities to look for when you’re ready to engage in a real relationship.

Don’t engage in a casual relationship if you’re not going to enjoy it.

For many women, an orgasm is hard to come by. According to Al Cooper, Ph.D. Sex Therapist and author of the book Understanding the Female Orgasm, 75 percent of women need clitoral stimulation in order to have an orgasm. A study published in the Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia, titled Orgasmic Dysfunction, states that thirty-free to 50 percent of women experience infrequent orgasms or are dissatisfied with their partners after sex. Many people who engage in hook-ups often have a difficult time speaking up and communicating with their partner. People who are not committed in a series relationship may not be focused on pleasing their partner. In fact, they may want to hook up strictly for their own benefit.

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No strings attached, really means no strings attached.

Don’t play with fire. Many people go into a casual relationship with an alternative agenda. This happens because we are all looking for a sense of security. A lot of times, you may see people as who you want them to be, rather than who they are, so you may very well agree to a casual relationship with uncommitted sex. However, there is a part of you that secretly wants more. This is when your imagination will start to get the best of you. It will put in you in a perpetual state of denial where the only real pleasure you get from your casual relationship is from your distorted imagination. Sadly, your character plots and story lines can turn for the worse, when you refuse to be honest about who you are. It takes a strong sense of security to have uncommitted sex and be in a casual relationship. Be wary about getting involved in something that your emotions can’t handle.

Don’t think that hooking up is just about sex.

Women and men are still programmed to associate sex with security and commitment. Although the era of casual relationships is relatively new, your primal genetic programming is very old. In fact, we all inherit genes from our mitochondria mother. And her prehistoric memories are still haunting us today. Back in her day, sex was an honor that men had to fight for. They had to prove that they were powerful and could offer a sense of security through the courting process. As a result, men may associate sex with a sense of achievement, so they may devalue sex if it comes way too easily. For women, sex was always a huge risk. Our cavewoman ancestor was totally dependent on the caveman to protect her and feed her while pregnant. Also, the chances of her and the baby dying in childbirth were much higher. We can’t change eons of genetic programming overnight. Even though the risks of uncommitted sex have been minimized, we will always be subject to the cautionary voices of programming.

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Don’t think that you can live your life without real love.

People engage in uncommitted sex and casual relationships because they want to have a sense of security, yet they don’t want to feel like they’re sacrificing a great deal of freedom to be in a committed relationship. Of course, people with this mentality may also believe that they can eat 4000 calories a day and still lose weight. Be weary about engaging in a diet of fast and cheap sex. Be careful about buying into a fantasy with no real substance. Just remember as children, we played with dolls. We brought them to life with our own story lines and imaginations. Only the dolls were merely a reflection of who we were inside. We were discovering our selves through our imaginations and creating our own ideal relationships, just as we are now discovering ourselves through casual relationships and uncommitted sex. It is important to not get lost in la-la land. Instead, we need to take these experiences and focus on building a foundation that will allow us to have relationships of substance and value.

Featured photo credit: Casual Relationship via dreamstime.com

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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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