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Everyone Makes Mistakes, This Is How You Can Love and Forgive Yourself

Everyone Makes Mistakes, This Is How You Can Love and Forgive Yourself

It’s undeniable–we all make mistakes. It’s in our nature as humans to fail, whether it’s in our work environment, our family life, or our relationships. We are all doomed to disappoint ourselves at some point, but that doesn’t mean we have to succumb to self-deprecation. Living with a mistake is difficult, and learning to forgive yourself afterwards is even harder, I know. However, if you continue to let your messes define instead of better you, then you’ll only be making your life more troublesome than it would be otherwise. Instead of sobbing into a carton of Ben & Jerry’s and hoping the spoonfuls of milky sugar will somehow take the pain of the past away, follow these guaranteed steps toward self-forgiveness and you’ll be on the right road to recovery in no time. Who knows, you might just find the motivation to close the ice cream lid in here too.

1. Reflect on why you did what you did.

There’s always a reason behind any conscious wrongdoing. Always. Often we get so caught up in our emotions following the incident that we forget to acknowledge the causes leading up to it. If you hit another car while driving, think about what you were doing in the moments before the accident. Were you flipping through radio stations? Were you checking your phone? If not, chances are something else distracted you or blocked your line of vision. Take time to really think about these things and write them down on a piece of paper. It helps to identify the small details before you start looking at the big picture again.

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2. Spend some quality time with yourself.

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    The one thing I’ve found that continuously helps me cope with anything I’m experiencing is taking time to truly be alone, especially when I’m in the self-hatred phase. However, this doesn’t mean sit on your couch and binge-watch TV shows on Netflix. This means get out, go somewhere, and do something with yourself. Call it a “me date” if you must. I find taking runs or walks alone to be the best type of non-prescription medicine, but not everyone finds their therapy in nature. As long as you go spend time alone doing something you love, you can’t go wrong from there.

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    3. Talk to someone who has gone through something similar.

    Don’t get me wrong, spending time alone is great. But it’s not the only thing you should do to deal with your troubles. You need to talk to someone who understands what you’re going through, or find a forum online discussing a related issue to yours. You can even go to a counselor! I promise you, it’s not going to help to keep your feelings to yourself. People are always there to lend you good advice. You just need to seek it out.

    4. Be honest with yourself and those you may have hurt.

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      The most difficult task, besides self-forgiveness, is often the act of admitting the mistake. It’s so easy to come up with excuses or find ways to skirt around the subject. However, at the end of the day, honesty is the best policy and the one that will ultimately set you free. So be open with yourself and the people you may have pained along the way. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable even if it means the very worst. This goes back to the biblical saying, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” If someone wronged you, you’d want to know so why shouldn’t the same apply the other way around? Think about it. Karmic retribution is a thing.

      5. Have some good ol’ fashioned fun.

      So you’re feeling pretty down and probably guilty. You feel as though it’s only just that you take time to mope about the problem at hand, but the question is for how long? Yes, everyone is allowed to feel the way they’re feeling and act accordingly to their emotions. However, you can’t beat yourself up forever. At some point, you have to tell yourself that what’s past is past and nothing you do right now is going to change that. Instead of continuously reflecting on what could have been done to prevent the mistake, give yourself a break and go have some fun. Go to the movies, hang out with friends, take that exercise class you’ve been dying to try, and for a moment, focus on the present. After all, life is short. Why spend it unhappy?

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      6. Seek self-improvement.

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        The last and final step of the self-forgiveness process comes as a no-brainer, but one we all need to remind ourselves of. When we do something that conflicts with our values or ideals, we get so wrapped up in the temporary nuisance of it all that we forget to see the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak–that light being the result of our reparation. The only way to truly learn to forgive ourselves for mistakes we’ve made is to make amends as necessary. Take your faults as opportunities to seek betterment and work on them from there. It’s not easy, and no one ever said it would be, but learning from failure is what makes us all healthier and happier people in the end. I guarantee that if you start to see your mistakes for the positive change they inspire, you’re bound to find success later on.

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        Featured photo credit: Forgive./Tony Webster via flic.kr

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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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