We’ve all been there. You’re in a group setting, maybe in a classroom, maybe in a business meeting, the time comes for you to speak up and you can feel that spotlight hit you. You choke up, you can’t form any words, you start to sweat and the only thoughts that come to your head are attempts to get that focus off of you. Everyone hates to be put on the spot, especially if they aren’t prepared. The good news is that people can change and there are ways to overcome this fear, and become comfortable sharing your opinions.
Overcoming your fears
It goes against the very nature of the problem, but the only way to get out of your comfort zone is to get uncomfortable. The more you practice speaking in front of others, the easier it becomes. Speech classes are a safe space where people gain the confidence to deliver successful public speeches, and usually by the end of the class, students don’t even prepare a speech and address their audience in an impromptu style.
Everyone has reasons why they don’t want to share their opinions with their colleagues and acquaintances. We’re afraid of being ridiculed, of being ostracized, of someone disagreeing with us. It’s completely normal. However, you’ll find that once asserting yourself, none of your deepest, darkest fears have presented themselves.
How to take the first step
The best approach to facing this fear is to take small steps each day. Perhaps you’re in line at the post office, look around you and make an observation about the situation you’re in, and share it with the person next to you. That person will likely strike up a pleasant and polite conversation with you, and you’ll walk away feeling energized. Don’t be afraid if the person doesn’t react well, maybe they are shy or have something else on their minds. That is truly the key, to not internalize and look too deeply into another person’s reaction as a reflection on you. Everyone has their own problems, but it shouldn’t stop you from building up your self-esteem and asserting yourself. You are a person of value, and your unique perspective matters.
Sharing your life with others
Group therapy could also be beneficial, as you would be sharing incidences from your life in a safe space with like-minded individuals. If you have a history of substance abuse, outpatient drug rehab is an option where great care is taken within structured group sessions. This ensures that everyone feels comfortable sharing their stories, and also instils a sense that your opinions and experiences are worth being shared. Engaging in a group environment where there is absolutely no judgement of what the speaker is saying can help to rebuild your self-image and quell your fears. Hearing other people’s stories is likely to help you understand that we all share a common ground, and there are always people around to push you in the right direction.
Transforming your life
When you bottle up your feelings and choke down words that are important for you to express, it only turns into regret. Nothing good comes of it. Laying in bed at night we are plagued by the things we should have said in the moment, and taking steps forward to enable yourself to jump on those opportunities to present themselves will provide you with a clear conscience. Knowing that you stood up for yourself and let your opinion be heard is empowering.
Have the courage to change your life for the best, and live up to the potential that you know is inside of you and dying to come out. You will find that people respect your opinions, and your friends and family will be thrilled to see that you have cast your fears aside. Build a support team around you that encourages and wants the best for you, and you will never falter.
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