I always feel afraid talking in front of people especially during class presentation my classmates once laughed at me because I stuttered. This thing haunts me until I finished studies. I don’t know how to overcome that.Anonymous
First things first, if you’re in front of me right now, I’m gonna ask you this question “How many presentations have you done in university?” I’m gonna have this imaginary conversation because you’re not in front of me.
Me: “How many presentations have you done in university?”
You: “Uh, ten.”
Me: “Okay, ten. How many presentations your friends laughed at you?”
You: “Uhhh, two.”
Me: “Okay, two presentations. What’s the percentage of that?”
You: “Hm, 2 out of 10, that’s like 20%”.
Me: “Okay, so, twenty percent of your presentation, your friend laughed at you. But you used that 20% to affect all the 100% of your experiences. Does that make sense? Because you have 80% of your presentations that your friends didn’t laugh at you. Right?”
That’s one tactic I like to use. Using statistics to give you the reality of the situation. Because right now, your emotions are covering up the reality. Your emotions think that every single time you do presentations, your friend laugh at you. But it’s not every single time is it? Think about it. Is it really every single time? Isn’t there a moment where you kinda did a good presentation?Think about it. So, that’s the first thing.
The second thing, if you’re in front of me right now, we’re gonna have another conversation.
Me: “Okay, so when they laughed at you, what were you thinking about?”
You: “They laughed at me because I’m bad.”
Me: “Alright, who said that? Did they said it or did you say it to yourself?”.
It’s your inner dialogue that I’m most interested in. Not what they said or what they did. Yeah, they laughed at you. It’s bad. It’s painful. I get it. But how did you translate that into your inner dialogue. What did you say to yourself? Are you saying to yourself, “It’s fine, they laugh at me now. They’re not gonna laugh at me tomorrow or in the future. I’m gonna prove them wrong!”?
See, your inner dialogue. It’s the same situation. They’re still laughing at you.But with that inner dialogue, you’re not gonna be fazed by what they did. Actually, you’ll be more motivated to prove them wrong. To prove that you can. Prove that you can be better by practising and improving yourself.
If your inner dialogue is like, “Oh my god,they laughed at me.” “My mother was right, I’m such a horrible person.” You are downgrading yourself. Yes, they’re at fault for what they did. I’m not trying to defend them. Obviously, I’m not. Horrible thing they did. That they laughed at you. It’s not nice. True friends don’t do that. But I’m just trying to focus on you right now. How you deal with the situation and how can this be more productive to you?
So, you have to re-investigate your inner dialogue. Try to figure out what were you thinking at that time and what are you thinking right now. Because what you thought that time, obviously sticked to you until today. You said, even after you finished studying, you’re still afraid. Meaning, that thought is now part of your second nature. It sticks.
When it happened the first time, you didn’t take the time to process it properly. You just ignored it or you didn’t realise that its there, but it’s there and it’s growing. After some years, it’s grown to become a part of you. You just don’t realise it. That’s why even after you finished studying, you’re still afraid. Because from that first experience, you didn’t process it.
You just either ignore it or you didn’t realise it’s there or you just act as if it didn’t happen. Don’t act as if it didn’t happen. It happened. It’s bad. It’s painful. Deal with it. Don’t deny it. Don’t run away from it. That’s how you become stronger. and I know it’s not easy. I know that. Maybe you need a counsellor’s help. Maybe you need a therapist’s help. Some people need those professional help.
But it’s not impossible. It’s something that you can do, if you choose to.