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Before You Let Someone Enter Your Life, You Should Have These 15 Things First

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Before You Let Someone Enter Your Life, You Should Have These 15 Things First

If you think getting into a relationship will make you “whole” or “complete,” think again. So many people enter into a relationship thinking the other person will have the ability to make them happy, when in reality happiness starts from within. If you want a healthy, long-lasting relationship, make sure to have these 15 qualities before you start looking for that perfect match:

1. Self-worth

Knowing your worth means you won’t settle for less than you deserve. You won’t be looking for someone to complete you, because you understand that you are already complete. You know you’re worthy of the time, energy, and dedication a relationship takes. A good sense of self-worth also means you’ll be less likely to “settle” in a relationship.

2. Your own group of friends

Having a stable group of comrades will provide you with an equilibrium. New relationships tend to take up a large chunk of time in the beginning, and a good group of friends will remind you to stay balanced. Another benefit of fostering friendships before you enter into a romantic relationship is having people who know the real you. Good friends will tell you if you aren’t acting like yourself.

3. A realistic view of relationships

The honeymoon phase isn’t going to last forever. When the infatuation subsides and you settle back into a routine (except now another person has been added into your routine), this doesn’t mean the relationship is fizzling out. Long-term relationships aren’t meant to continuously function on an emotional high. Unfortunately, our society has portrayed an unrealistic view of romance through movies and literature. It is important to remember that real relationships involve real people, each with their own set of flaws and idiosyncrasies. Being realistic in your expectations is essential. In order to stay fresh, relationships take consistent effort from both parties.

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4. Financial independence

You’ll want to make sure you’re not only financially independent, but also that you have a well-rounded understanding of money management. A level head when it comes to money will keep you in control of your own financial well-being. Being financially independent before you start a relationship will give you a sense of security. You won’t have to depend on anyone else to keep you afloat.

5. Let go of that ex

In order to cultivate a healthy relationship with a new person, all feelings toward your ex need to be dealt with. You’ll want to have moved on completely from your past. Entering into a new relationship without resolving a previous one can lead to unnecessary animosity. You might start comparing your new partner to your ex or harboring resentments and projecting them onto your new relationship.

6. A handle on your behavior when tipsy

Hopefully, you’re done with the drunk make-out sessions and hook-ups. If these kinds of relationships are something you want to continue with, then you aren’t quite ready for one-on-one commitment. If you can’t trust yourself, then your girlfriend or boyfriend won’t be able to trust you either. Without trust, the relationship has no foundation.

7. Understand that a relationship is a want, not a need

You don’t need to be in a relationship. You are perfectly okay by yourself. A relationship is one of those bonuses of life. If you enter into a relationship thinking you need it, you risk becoming dependent on someone. This perpetuates a codependent dichotomy, which can cause harm to those involved. Your relationship is a beautiful addition to your already complete life.

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8. The ability to be alone

You’ll want to be comfortable in your own skin before you invite someone else into your life. This means you need possess the ability to be alone – and be comfortable with it. Can you sit at home with a cup of tea and a book without getting antsy? One of the hardest things a person can do is be alone, but it’s essential. Because even in a relationship, you’ll find yourself alone from time to time.

9. Balance

As stated earlier, your friends (if they are good friends) will help with this, but you have to make sure your sense of balance is intact before entering into a relationship. Naturally, a new relationship will skew your balance a little, but you should be able bring everything back into harmony with ease.

10. An understanding of what you are looking for

Do you have any ideas about what you are looking for in a partner? While remembering to stay flexible, also have some ideas about what you want in a match. Do you want to have kids down the road? Do you want to travel? Maybe you don’t think this is necessary to think about at the moment, but these are questions that will affect the relationship long term.

11. The ability to compromise

Compromise in a relationship is unavoidable. No matter how alike you and your partner are, there will come a time with your opinions differ on a particular subject. When a difference of opinion occurs, you will need to come to a compromise.

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12. An open mind

It’s good to have expectations in mind when looking for a partner, but also remember to stay open-minded. What you want might manifest itself in a person you didn’t expect. Be open enough to step outside your comfort zone. This doesn’t imply that you need to settle, just try something different.

13. Your own set of hobbies

Know what you like to do. Are you into yoga or paddle-boarding? Your partner will come with his or her own set of hobbies. It’s important to have your own as well. That way, when your partner really wants to attend the latest Comic-Con event, you and your friends can plan a paddle-boarding date.

14. Goals

It’s not enough to know what your goals are. You’ll want to have an actionable plan when it comes to achieving them. The right partner will help you achieve those goals, but sometimes your aspirations can get lost in the mix of a new relationship.

15. Time

Relationships take time. Getting to know someone takes time. If you are in the middle of a college degree and working part-time, or if you are in the midst of a strenuous career, you might not have the extra hours to dedicate to getting to know someone. This may well be one of the most important factors in letting someone into your life.

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Do you have any other suggestions for someone thinking about taking the plunge into a relationship? Share them in the comments below! 

Featured photo credit: Heart Cut/Lefteris Heretakis via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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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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