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What Love Really Means…

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What Love Really Means…

I am sure that many of us have grown up reading and hearing about the term ‘once in a lifetime love’. It may be an ancient adage, however, I believe it’s true and definitely possible.

Love may acquire various forms, be it parental, siblings, family, friends or the romantic types. However, foundation for love remains the same.

In Indian history, the love between Radha and Krishna is immortal. Krishna was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu who came on earth to free the world from evil and to establish ‘dharma’ or righteousness on earth. Radha was an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi on earth, in the form of a cowherd girl.

Radha and Krishna were childhood playmates. Of all the cowherd girls, Radha was dearest to Krishna as she was devoted to him. When Krishna played the flute, Radha sang and danced with him.

Their love was truly divine and unconditional. It was at a platonic level.

After spending 11 years of childhood together, Radha was cursed to bear separation from Krishna for 100 years!

Meanwhile, Krishna fulfilled the purpose of his incarnation on the earth. Radha’s devotion to Krishna was unprecedented. She was a part of his soul.

After 100 years, they did reunite and spent 14 years on earth, before returning to their heavenly abode.

We aren’t even capable of imagining the amount of pain and emotional turmoil she must have gone through during their period of separation.

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    In today’s age when lust is perceived as love and ‘out of sight’ means ‘out of mind’, one would find it hard to imagine back then how pious and pure Radha’s love was!

    That is the reason that even after thousands of years, we still worship Radha and Krishna together. The name Radha-Krishna is inseparable.

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    Another story goes as:

    Once Lord Krishna had a terrible stomach ache. He said that only solution to this problem is ‘charan amrit’ i.e. drinking the water with which the feet of his true love have been washed.

    All cowherd girls refused to give the Lord water with which their feet had been washed, since it would lead them to hell.

    Radha was the only girl who readily gave him the water since she felt that it is better to go to hell instead of seeing her Krishna in pain.

    This is truly what love really means! :-)

    Love means.. A soulful connection with your beloved

    It is said that the hearts of people in love are very close to each other, hence lovers speak very softly.

    At times, no words are needed when eyes do the needful.

    Love means… Selflessness

    True love is all about giving without expecting much in return. It is beyond materialism or any conditions.

    Seeing our beloved happy is blissful indeed!

    Love means…. Madness

    Love is about giving in to that awesome power that brings two people together in the craziest ways!

    Have you ever blushed thinking about your loved one?

    Or found yourself smiling do no reason at all?

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    Traveled miles (or even oceans) just to catch a glimpse of your sweetheart? :-)

    Love means… Loving with all your heart!

    It is said that part of staying in love is believing in it.

    We genuinely care for someone; feel elated seeing them happy;

    feel restless or even have our mood off knowing that they’re sad.

    What love really means is pouring our heart out and loving them!

    Love means… Acceptance

    We are all human beings with various flaws. It’s perfectly alright.

    True love would overlook these flaws and love the other human for the gem of a person they are!

    That too, in the strongest way possible and complement them.

    A quote I remember goes like, “I chose to stay with him for all the things he did right and not leave him for one thing he did wrong.”

    Love means… Being yourself too!

    Agreed you have given your heart wholly to your beloved.

    How great would it be if you are able to retain your individuality even while being together!

    Because in the first instance, it was the original independent YOU that was so adorable for someone to fall for.

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    Love yourself!

    Love means… Courage

    In some unpleasant situations, love could lead to disappointment. It may make you realize the hard way that though you wholeheartedly desire, you can’t make someone love you.

    Standing the test of time is essential; true love wasn’t achieved overnight.

    Take a chance, be enduring and courageous.

    Love means… Hope

    A quote that has captivated my mind is that,

    “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it’s destination, full of hope!”

    Hope, even in the darkest hours, makes the happy ending worthwhile.

    Love means… Humility

    True love would be about zero ego; placing your beloved and his priorities above ours, thus being really humble.

    Love means… Tremendous Patience

    Some confrontations or misunderstandings with our loved ones tend to anger us.

    However, it is at ‘this’ point that one needs to have tremendous patience. It is like waiting for sunrise after the onset of night.

    Have faith in yourself that the end of this process would surely be worth!

    Give time some time for things to fall in place.

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    Love means… Trust

    Trust yourself and your loved one.

    One should not rely on constant contact with your sweetheart, either in person or via text, just to feel secure.

    Instead, set it free.

    See how beautifully it comes back to you! :-)

    A verse from the Bible says,

    “Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous.

    Love is never boastful nor conceited. It is never rude or selfish.

    It does not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasures in other people’s sins but delights in the truth.

    It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, to endure whatever comes.”

    Need I say more? :-)

    Featured photo credit: Pixabay: meineresterampe 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)

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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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