As a Psychologist, the listening I offer is deep, arises from my heart, is full of curiosity, and does not judge. This pure quality of listening allows people to feel safe and gives them the courage to speak without fear. What I’ve noticed is that most people don’t carry within themselves such a kind and compassionate listener. They walk around and imagine others are listening to them in the same way as they are listening to themselves–with a harsh and critical ear. Therefore, speaking in front of others or even thinking about it can frighten them.
The fear that you have about speaking is partly created by how you listen to yourself
The negative messages you send to yourself, and those you listen to inside of your own head are the source of your discomfort. If you hear a voice within saying that you are “going to stumble over your words,” “forget your points,” and “lose track of where you are,” then anxiety rears up. Even more threatening is when you hear yourself say, you are “going to fail,” “lose your job,” or “make a fool of yourself.”
What you hear yourself say is what you hear others saying to you or about you
If you can face your fear of speaking, you might see that what you think others may be saying about you is very similar to what you have been saying to yourself. This internal voice that judges you is severe and relentless. However, it is when you attribute these same thoughts to your listeners that you become overwhelmed with fright. All you can hear is the thunderous pounding of the doubting judges, only now they have surrounded you.
Learn to listen to the voice that supports you
When you can listen to yourself and hear the words that come from your heart rather than those that dart out from your critic, you will experience more self-compassion and acceptance. Know that within you, there is the ability to fully embrace your essence. Being who you are is magnificent and no one can rob you of this truth. You are enough…always…no matter what you say or how you say it.
Doreen’s Fearless Speaking Tip: Stop what are doing and take a moment to reflect on what makes you afraid when you think about speaking in front of others. Ask yourself what you think the listeners might say about you. Make a list. Now ask yourself if there is a judgmental part of you that is saying the same thing. Check your first list to see if the thoughts are similar. Listen now to the voice that accepts you as you are, unconditionally. What are the words that are there? Note these words. Keep coming back to listening for the support.
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