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How to Love Yourself and Improve Relationships

How to Love Yourself and Improve Relationships
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Does loving yourself improve relationships?

It should come as no surprise that there is a strong link between self-esteem and the health of our relationships. If you have a low sense of self-worth, that affects a lot of your behaviors, which in turn affect your connections with others.

Specifically, having little love for ourselves tends to make us more negative in general. Think about how you react when someone around you is negative about almost everything. In contrast, you probably prefer to be around people who are comfortable in their own skin.

Below are a few steps you can take to start implementing self-love in your life, whether you have low self-esteem or even too much of it. If you want to improve relationships with those closest to you, then I highly suggest you start here.

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7. Affirm yourself.

A common symptom of low self-worth is constantly seeking affirmation and validation. You don’t believe that the things you do are good enough, so you obsess over seeking compliments from others. What you may not realize is that this really bothers people and can damage your relationships with friends, coworkers or a significant other.

Even if you are doing so with the best of intentions, people will typically view your behavior as “fishing for compliments” in order to suit your ego. That said, you need to take a look at everything you’ve accomplished and give yourself some credit. Otherwise, you can become susceptible (down the road) to social anxieties and even phobias that will make it nearly impossible for you to be assertive.

I know for me, I fear letting pride inhibit my ability to relate and connect genuinely with others. But it’s also important for us to recognize the good we’ve done and let it sink in. Once you start doing this regularly, you’ll find yourself being less reliant on the validation of others.

6. Serve others.

It may seem counterintuitive, but pouring yourself into other people is a form of sharing your love with them. Numerous studies have shown that acts of service and charity benefit the giver more than the receiver, at least in the sense of positive and emotional gains.

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Developing a personality built on service translates to all of our relationships as a result. Being a dependable and giving friend fosters a relationship that is built on goodwill and loyalty. Even gestures in a romantic relationship fit into this paradigm, as they cultivate emotional benefits contributing to a larger motive (such as commitment).

5. Keep your eyes up.

One of the best ways to improve relationships (and communication) is to practice good posture and eye contact. When you slouch and look down, you are subconsciously communicating to yourself (and others) that you are being submissive to them. This is how someone is able to determine instantly whether or not they can a walk all over someone else. The result is that you aren’t respecting yourself, and you’re letting others disrespect you.

Displaying poise and self-discipline will lead to self-respect and confidence. If you start to make a habit out of this attitude, then you will start to build relationships with others that are on equal terms.

4. Exercise and eat healthy.

Love yourself by showing love to your body. Being fit physically makes us fit emotionally, improving our moods alongside our health. Going to the gym and eating right gives us energy and relieves stress. As a result, we feel good about ourselves, and these positive feelings carry over to the people who are around us.

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3. Practice good hygiene.

In case you aren’t doing so already, start taking good care of your hygienic needs. Take showers every day, wash your clothes, iron them, wear deodorant and do all of the things your parents told you to do that you stopped doing when you moved out.

Seriously though, taking care of yourself is a form of natural survival and health, and it makes us more desirable to be around. If you’re unsure whether or not you’re practicing good hygiene, ask someone who will give you an honest and objective opinion. Like your parents!

2. Create something.

Whether you’re a painter, writer, movie director, trapeze artist, construction worker or professional singer, creating something that is wholly yours is self-love. You don’t have to literally create something out of thin air; it’s as easy as doing something you love to do better than everyone else. That sense of accomplishment and pride in your work plays a huge part in personal growth and maturity.

Producing things, whether they be for work or art, shapes into a person who has something valuable to offer to others. As you can imagine, this makes you a person that attracts people.

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It’s difficult to admit, but our relationships with others are conditional to a point. We favor those who enrich our lives. You can be that person if you start putting in the effort necessary to create something no one else has.

1. Be self-aware.

Start looking at yourself as a whole and identify your strengths, as well as your weaknesses. If you happen to have a lot of confidence, you may be inclined to gloss over the things you say and do that alienate others. But if you start to learn more about yourself, such as how you come off to others and what you instinctively say in certain situations, you’ll start to gain a self-awareness that will further your appreciation for yourself, as well as the people around you.

Recognize the things about you that are different and unique. Accept them and consider them a benefit because you are “you” due to these quirks. If you’re a little weird, don’t feel bad about it. Embrace the weirdness.

Self-awareness leads to other strong concepts that facilitate having a “whole” being, such as integrity. Being honest and consistent shows that you love yourself enough to be real with others, and this is easily the best way to avoid needless conflicts that would otherwise inhibit a strong relationship with someone close to you.

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To sum up, loving yourself is about accepting who you are and what you can strive to be. You don’t have to be complacent about becoming a better person, but you also don’t have to set unrealistic goals for yourself that will never get done. Once you’re at a place where you love yourself, only then are you ready to start giving everyone else more reasons than ever to love you too.

More by this author

Jon Negroni

An author and blogger who shares about lifestyle advice

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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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