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Say Goodbye To These Toxic Persons Before 2015

Say Goodbye To These Toxic Persons Before 2015
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As 2014 comes to a close, you may be jotting down New Year’s resolutions and pondering whether some of the relationships you have are worth keeping. Perhaps the sayings “birds of a feather flock  together” and “you can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends” have been torturing you as you evaluate these relationships with very toxic persons. While you can’t close yourself out to the people that surround you because of their flaws, you can definitely make a commitment to bringing more positive people into your life. Even if you can’t completely say good bye to them, you can learn to draw boundaries and keep your distance from these ten kinds of toxic persons that negatively affect your life; doing so will guarantee you more fulfilling relationships in the new year!

1. The Doubter Of Your Dreams

You know you’ve always wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, a singer; you know your calling in life. Yet every time you talk about your dream with this very toxic person, they roll their eyes and pessimistically tell you that you are wasting your time. They tell you to be “realistic” and that you should forget about your dream. People that are afraid of stepping out of the mold society builds for them can’t help but question the courage you have to pursue your calling. Refuse to succumb to their questioning and learn to ignore their doubt. While at times you may feel strong enough in your quest to fulfill your dreams, it is best for you to draw a significant boundary between you and this person. Otherwise, when the tough times come for you, it will be easy to find the “truth” in their false statements and you may find yourself giving up on your passions and dreams.

2. The Manipulative Ex

You still love this person. You thought you would be spending the rest of your life with them and it now seems like you were quite wrong about this, and yet you can’t seem to let go. You are broken up but they still call you at night to talk about their day, or perhaps they still post little things online that only you two would understand. However, when you ask if there is a chance of a future, they look at you as if you had broken all commandments by daring to ask such a ridiculous question. To this type of person you must say goodbye, even if it’s not a permanent one and even if it hurts; friendship can come after you are over them, but not now. They are master manipulators and know what to say and do to keep you longing for a relationship that they very well know is over. For your own sake, this toxic person needs to be on the “keep your distance” list. Letting go of them will open up the doors to a very happy single life and, eventually, to a new person, one that knows your worth and will never manipulate you simply to get an ego boost.

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3. The Guilt-Tripper

You are on deadline at work, your dog is sick, your car broke down and you can’t seem to live down the fact that you missed the family reunion in Alaska last weekend. This person cannot and will not simply say: “I understand.” They will guilt-trip you into thinking that you are a horrible person because you don’t ever comply with their wishes (to go out, to hang out, to do errands with them, etc.) and will constantly remind you that you are not what they think you should be. With their holier-than-thou attitude, they constantly make you feel inadequate, ungrateful, and worthless. This toxic person must go on the “gigantic boundary line” list. The truth is that you will never make them happy because they themselves are unhappy, and that is something they must work out on their own. Perhaps by you stepping away, they will be able to focus on their own lives and see that the problem isn’t you – it’s them.

4. The Ungrateful Boss

Let’s make this clear: yes you have a ton of bills to pay but at the end of your life you will not regret the bills that didn’t get payed but the life you didn’t live. If you are unhappy in your current job because your bosses can’t seem to get it in their head that you are truly invaluable: let go. Have faith in God that you’ll find the job you love and the boss who appreciates your abilities and your magnificent work ethic. If you can’t completely let go, draw a massive boundary which will allow you to carefully examine the importance of their opinion of you. This will set you free from their opinions and will empower you to have a more fulfilling professional life.

5. The Smartypants Commentator

“You weren’t ever really good at anything” or “Wow, your clothes seem to have shrunk a bit” or “Too bad you’re such a looser.” These statements are but a few examples of the nuggets of “wisdom” the smartypants commentator can’t help but share with you, with a smirk on their face. They claim to be joking, yet all statements are full of derogatory intentions that are sure to bring you down when you are having a tough day. This person may very well go on your “goodbye” list, they simply do not deserve your attention. Say goodbye to their negativity and hello to the person that builds you up and kindly jokes without crossing the line.

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6. The Liar-liar

Their lips are moving, which means they are lying. This person absolutely refuses to be honest; it doesn’t matter how much they are encouraged to be truthful or how many people they are hurting.  With this person, you may absolutely have to draw a boundary line that allows you to keep your distance and gives them the opportunity to feel they have lost you. This distance may in turn allow them to gain some insight and realize a change must take place and that honesty must be part of their lives or they may eventually lose all relationships. Do not make any excuses for their selfish lies; courageously walk away knowing you are doing the right thing, for your own sake as well as theirs.

7. The Reckless Friend

When you hang out with this individual, you know you are in for a “fun” time but one you will majorly regret after everything is said and done. Their inclinations seem to always be toward the reckless, the degrading, and the flat out morally wrong. While you may enjoy the thrill of the moment for a while and it may be fun to spend time with them sporadically, be sure to limit your time with these individuals. Be careful of the endeavors you agree to take on with them and remember that there is always a consequence for the choices you make in life, even if that choice was simply to be an accessory to whatever your reckless friend gets up to.

8. The Backstabber

You know who they are. The ones who are always gossiping nastily about your mutual friends, acquaintances or family. Do not indulge in the back-stabbing party or join them in speaking badly about others. It is very likely they are doing the very same thing with someone else and you are the subject of their talk. Don’t be naive in thinking that you are the only being in the universe they are actually honest with. If they are talking meanly about others, they are surely capable of talking about you behind your back too.

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9. The Me-Me-Me Friend

You seem to be an ATM for this person, emotionally and sometimes financially too. You’re an ATM that only allows for withdrawals. You give, and give, and give some more but you never receive in return. This friend depletes your energy, your emotional reserve and many times your bank account too. Their selfish demeanor and manipulative actions always leave you feeling like you owe them something. The truth is you don’t. A relationship is a two way street, and if they cannot see that or refuse to be giving towards you when you need it the most, it is time to say goodbye to this individual. Don’t continue to let them have power over you; simply let go. You will feel refreshed and renewed when you do.

10. The Pessimist

Life is full of pain, trials and tough moments but the one thing you can’t ever lose is hope. Hope that tomorrow will be better; that you’ll land the job; that you’ll find the one; that you’ll reach your goals. The pessimist who always sees the glass half-empty will pride themselves on stating that they are simply being realistic. The fact of the matter is that no one ever made history by being realistic; instead, they stepped out in faith, in hope, and pressed on. Fighting the trials and the pain, they found strength in the hope of a better future and that made all the difference. You don’t have to entirely cut this person out, but say goodbye to their moods and take their opinion with a grain of salt. Know that you know better, know that hope will always conquer.

As you think of the people that you do not want in your life or that you feel should avoid, be sure that you are not on someone’s list of people to get rid of. Regardless of how much you want to say goodbye to these types of people, remember to be kind and tactful. Relationships are some of the most difficult yet rewarding things we can work out and while you need to guard your heart, remember to always show love to all that surround you!

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Featured photo credit: Gerd Altmann/ree for commercial use / No attribution required via pixabay.com

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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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