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8 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before Settling

8 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before Settling
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Before you pop the question or put the champagne on ice to celebrate whatever form of partnership you have chosen, do me a favor, will you? Read the 8 questions you need to ask yourself before settling. Take your time and think abut them. These will be the foundation stones for your time together. Who wants to live “unhappily ever after?” With marriage rates in the USA at an all time low and divorce rates rocketing, these questions must be asked.

1. How well do you know your partner?

And what does your partner know about you?  Well, you are a wonderful person, for a start! But let us probe deeper and discover whether you are a balanced person and if you are prepared to try and change some defects or not. Ask yourself the following:

  • How you deal with mood swings and whether you are often moody.
  • If you are prepared to love and cherish your partner.
  • If you empathetic or not.
  • If you are aware of any defects, how do you think they might affect the relationship and if you are prepared to talk about them.

You should feel at ease exchanging views on how you both want to be better people and how this could impact the relationship.

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2. How often do you argue?

Think of the last argument you had with your partner. Maybe it did not solve anything or maybe you ended up at loggerheads. Maybe the fallout was pretty toxic in that there was a lot of resentment and hurtful remarks which lingered in the air afterwards. If this is a frequent occurrence, you may well have to think whether you are both compatible. Look at arguments in the following way. They are perfectly normal in any relationship, but they should always be managed so that they provide a negotiated decision or resolve a problem to both partners’ satisfaction.

“Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; an argument an exchange of ignorance.” —Robert Quillen

3. What are your views on your careers?

“A career is wonderful but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night.” —Marilyn Monroe

Is there any risk that one of you might become a workaholic? At the other end of the spectrum, you have to look at a boring job which gives you neither satisfaction nor any prospect of a career. You have to think about whether your job is going to become the elephant in the room. You both need to be able to maintain a decent work-life balance if any relationship is going to stay the course. Talk about your plans and how these could:

  • Help you both with financial rewards and security.
  • Impact negatively on spending time together.
  • Lead to stress or worry.
  • Affect your children and their upbringing, if you decide to have a family.

4. What is your view of your partner’s limitations?

You need to think about this carefully. There may be problems with untidiness, distraction, forgetfulness and unpunctuality, just to name a few. The perfect partner does not exist and we will never know whether Cinderella and her Prince Charming split up! Now here is the question. If one partner tries to reform or convert the other, then problems will begin to bubble up to the surface. The key is being aware of these problems and attempting to change yourself first, rather than your nearest and dearest. Look at the give and take in your relationship and see whether it has been fairly balanced up to now.

5. Are you really happy with each other?

Many people have leaped into a marriage or partnership because of the fear of being alone or because of unbearable peer and family pressure. Sad, but true. But women are delaying marriage according to the Bowling Green State University. Think of it like this. Do not believe that things will change and that you will be able to adapt, if you do not feel 98% of the time happy, relaxed and satisfied now.

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6. How reliable are you?

In every sphere of life, reliability is the one quality that makes or breaks a relationship. You both need to know that you can depend on each other 100%. Reflect on how you have delivered on your promises up until now.  There will be times when you have to care for a loved one who is ill or deal with difficult children. There will be the day-to-day chores where each partner will have to deliver so that the home runs smoothly.  Give yourself a score on your own reliability and assess your partner too.

7. Do you share the same values?

One of the reasons you were attracted to each other was that you have similar views on lots of things, such as politics, cooking, gun control, equal human rights, and religion. There may be things that you disagree amicably about, but in general, your world view is pretty much in sync. But, if you argue a lot about politics or ethical values such as birth control or abortion, it may be time to reflect on how these could start to erode your relationship. There could be problems about having children if you have very different views on family planning, for example. Think of various scenarios such as “what if…” and ask your partner how she or he would react to these.

8. Do you want to have a family?

This is a key question. I once knew a couple where the wife deliberately sought to get pregnant in spite of her husband’s expressed desire to have no children. They ended up with three sons! Needless to say, the marriage floundered and ended most unhappily. Discuss your ideas about children and more importantly how to bring them up. Your own childhood will have an enormous influence on how you approach this. If it was an unhappy one, there will be a challenge to make sure that the same mistakes are not made. We often parent like our own parents did.

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“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.” —George Bernard Shaw

Have you any other questions that you think are important? Let us know in the comments    

Featured photo credit: Divorce books/farm8 via farm8.staticflickr.com

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More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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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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