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Last Updated on December 14, 2020

How to Love Yourself And Embrace Who You Really Are

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How to Love Yourself And Embrace Who You Really Are

How do you love yourself?

To love yourself is to experience freedom – freedom from doubt, self-hate, and oppression created by you.

To love yourself is to no longer hold yourself back from what you deserve.

To love yourself is to grow and enjoy your life.

Self-love is a necessity if you want to live a truly happy life. Self-love is a choice, a commitment to yourself that you are going to love yourself, despite all the social and biological obstacles in your path. It is not found in a place, person or item.

Can You Love Someone If You Don’t Love Yourself?

We hear this a lot – that you can’t love someone if you don’t love yourself. But that simply isn’t true.

You can love someone even if you don’t love yourself. To say otherwise would be untrue. You can experience and express love even if you do not love yourself.

What you can’t do is expect that person to fill the void in your life that isn’t filled with your love for yourself. You can’t find that love in anyone or anything.

Self-love is chosen, forged, practiced, and fought. It isn’t always easy, but you can never find it in the arms of another person.

What Do You Need to Do to Love Yourself?

1. Choose to Do It

Self-love is a choice; it isn’t handed to you. It is not found in someone else or an object.

You achieve self-love by deciding that you want it. After a lifetime of hating yourself for not being enough, you have to choose to let go of this toxic mindset. Choose to say no to all the internal self-hate, and choose to tell yourself the truth that you are not perfect and that is okay.

To start this, give yourself permission to love yourself. You are worthy of being loved, even if you tell yourself you’re not. Take a moment to tell yourself this and permit yourself to love yourself.

This is the first step in accepting that you can love yourself and that you are choosing it.

2. Achieve Self Acceptance

You are who you are, and there is nothing wrong with that.

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You don’t have to be something else to have worth or to be good enough. Who you are right now, is enough.

People may not like you and that is okay because the point of self-love is that it doesn’t matter what other people think of you. What only matters is what you think of yourself.

That starts with accepting that you are who you are and having faith that there is nothing wrong with that.

3. Know That Self-Love Is an Endless Journey

As we go through life, we grow, change, learn, and become entirely new different people.

We are all different people from who we were 10 years ago, which means self-love isn’t just learning to love yourself once. It is about falling and being in love with yourself as you change and grow.

You don’t achieve self-love; you travel with it as you discover who you are.

4. Let Go of the Idea of Perfection

You are never going to be perfect; no human will ever be.

Don’t let that stop you from loving yourself. It is easy to hate yourself for not being perfect or enough. But this only creates self-hate because instead of focusing on all that you have, you are focused on all that you are not.

Self-love blooms in a mindset of abundance, which means you have to see all that you have and feel gratitude for it. Self-love struggles, wilts, and dies in a mindset that is rooted in perfection, aka never good enough.

5. Identify the Difference Between Truth And Opinion

Self-love starts by changing the way you think and see yourself. This all starts with our internal narrative and the stories we tell ourselves.

An example of our stories would be:

“I can’t do this because I am too (something like clumsy, stupid, weak, etc.).”

These stories come in many forms, such as:

“I cannot have this in my life because (I am not good enough, this is not meant for me, If I was like this, I could get what I want).”

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“I am (Insert negative adjective).”

Taking a good hard look at your internal rhetoric can be revealing as to why you have struggled to love yourself.

When you are down on yourself, it is because, at some point in time, someone or something made you feel not good enough. It could have been a comment from a family member, a judgemental magazine article, or a random video you watched.

It made you question your worth, and you took this knowledge and used it to hate yourself.

What I want you to realize is that most of these thoughts aren’t facts. They are only our opinions of ourselves, but we treat these opinions as facts – irrefutable facts.

When we tell ourselves we can’t do something, we won’t be able to. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy that confirms in our brains that our opinions are facts.

When you say I cannot or I can’t or this isn’t meant for me, you kill 2 things:

  1. Hope – you decided you cannot, so there is no reason to try.
  2. Growth – you cut off the opportunity to try, fail and grow.

You become stuck in a fixed mindset with no choice but to succumb to your fate as a self-imposed loser. If you want to love yourself, this needs to stop because these aren’t facts.

Fact Versus Opinion

Let’s break this down to the basics:

A fact is a thing that is known or proven to be true.

An opinion is a view or judgment formed about something, which is not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

For example:

It is a fact that an orange has a peel.

It is an opinion that the orange is round and therefore unattractive.

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Let me translate.

It is a fact that you have fat on your body

It is an opinion that having that fat makes you an unworthy person.

Example 2:

I cannot apply for this new job, because I am not qualified

Let’s deconstruct, there is one fact in this sentence and that is I am not qualified. This is just a fact, you are not qualified for a position, you have then placed an opinion upon it.

I cannot apply.

I cannot = I am not good enough.

Your worth isn’t dependant on your qualifications. Factually, you can apply for this position even if you are not qualified.

We give power to facts, and we can decide if it’s positive or negative, self-destructive or empowering. It is time to let go of these opinions and change them.

Instead of “I cannot apply for this job, I am not qualified”, make it “I can apply for this job, although I am not qualified for it, I can always try! I will always learn something and that is always fun”.

6. Learn That Failure Is Your Friend

When we fail, we use that as an excuse to hate ourselves for not being good enough. But you have it all wrong.

Failure is growth. Instead of focusing on how you aren’t good enough, focus on what you learned.

How did you grow? How can you apply this knowledge in the future? The faster you fail, the faster you grow!

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Don’t let failure be the reason you hate yourself. Choose to love it and laugh at yourself when you fail. Laugh, get back up, think about how you can grow from this, and move forward.

You are going to fail a lot in your life, so you might as well have it on your side and when you do. It will grow and foster self-love.

7. Learn How to Not Take Things Personally

The thing about life is that it isn’t all about you.

We are bombarded with negativity, and most of the time, we find ways to be offended as well, even unconsciously. This is biology at work, but now it’s time to let go of this defense mechanism.

To stop taking things very personally:

  • Know that the comments that hurt you aren’t about you at all. See it from the other person’s perspective. 50% of the time, it isn’t even about it. It can be redirected aggression or maybe you just happen to be the one in that situation.
  • It may be about you, and you need to show yourself some empathy. Be vulnerable and kind to yourself, and talk in a non-judgemental way to the person who offended you.

By not taking things personally, you stop torturing yourself and therefore, you love yourself more.

Not every negative thing is about you. The world is bigger than just you.

Final Thoughts

If you want to learn how to love yourself, the most important thing you have to do is commit to learning all about it.

Like life, you will grow and change by continuously learning new ways to love yourself and express who you really are, and you will be happy.

For more information on how to love yourself, here is another article with more detailed instructions: Learning To Love Yourself.

And always remember: you are worth loving.

More Self-Love Tips

Featured photo credit: Jakob Owens via unsplash.com

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Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

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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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