Have you ever thought about hiring a therapist? If so, I’ve got a proposition for you: Why not choose public speaking instead?
No, you don’t get a cool couch to lie down on while someone pokes into your drama, but forget that. Humor me and I’ll make it worth your while.
Here are 6 reasons why I’m convinced that public speaking is an effective form of therapy and why you should consider it.
1. Life analysis
To come up with topics to speak about, it’s necessary to scour your memories.
I’m talking throughout your entire life—from your childhood to the present. Any traumatic experiences? If so, you get to examine them. What happened? Why did it happen? Was it your fault? How did you respond? What lesson could you extract from it in order to teach your listeners?
This helps you scrutinize your memories (both bad and good) as well as the emotions that you had. By doing this it’s possible to find out more about yourself and why you do certain things.
Maybe you’ve always thought that “everyone” in your life lets you down. But after examining those experiences, you find out you’re just a jerk-ass (I don’t even know what that is, but it sounds bad).
Anyway, there’s gold to be mined from your life experiences.
2. Get to know yourself through struggle
You find out a lot about yourself through overcoming the fear of public speaking. You get to meet your demons, so to speak.
How much pain can you take? You will no doubt ask yourself this question…that is if public speaking gives you the heebeegeebees like it does most people. I’ve seen many quit because of the discomfort brought about by extreme nervousness. I don’t blame them. Over time it can wear on you. I almost quit even after seven months of immersing myself in it. But that was because I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. Luckily I finally figured it out or I might have given up.
Much can be learned through the process. The mental and physical sensations caused by fear force you to become more self-aware. You start to notice how your thoughts can affect you physically. With this knowledge you can determine what thoughts to avoid, and what thoughts can put you in a more positive mental state. You can also learn how your body responds physiologically to stress and how you should respond when it does. A very valuable skill to have for other high-pressure situations, not just speaking.
What does this mean? It means that you have the tremendous ability to recognize when something is bothering you, and even better, to calm yourself down.
Who needs a therapist when you can do all that?
3. Honesty in its purest form
The best way to learn is by being completely honest with yourself, which is not easy. We’d all like to believe we’re flawless and can do no wrong.
However, in order to grow and improve your public speaking skills (or any skill for that matter), you must be honest with yourself. What I mean is that you must admit to yourself that you don’t know everything. Have you ever met a “know-it-all”? They aren’t too pleasant to be around and they’re usually their own worst enemy. Their real problem, though, is that they’re typically closed-minded which causes them to ignore constructive criticism.
The good news is that everyone can learn to have a beginner’s mindset. This is when you toss out the ego and pretend that you know nothin’ about nothin’. Now everything is NEW to you, meaning you’re free to soak up the knowledge without the ego filtering out what it “already knows.”
It’s tough to admit to yourself that you suck, but it’s useful for lowering the ego’s defenses. Public speaking keeps you honest.
4. You’re able to vent
Public speaking allows you to drain the brain.
Our thoughts are like a herd of cats that need to be corralled and then tossed into the wood chipper—our mouths being the wood chipper. By verbalizing our thoughts, we make them clearer—to ourselves and to our eventual audience. Another thing is that we get to express what we’re passionate about. What could be more liberating than that? The ultimate form of venting!
You don’t need to bottle up all your feelings as a speaker. You get to talk them out. Isn’t that what a therapist wants the patient to do? Exactly!
5. Self-esteem boost
Your self-worth will skyrocket. Seeing as public speaking is a major challenge for most humans, if you overcome it, naturally your confidence will grow as a result.
I think of public speaking as a gateway drug, or gateway challenge might be more accurate. Having conquered the almighty fear of public speaking, you’re now bold enough to take on more hardcore challenges. That’s not to say everything will be easy; however, once you do it, everything else just pales in comparison.
I can’t preach about this one enough. It’s the unsung hero. Some might say it’s merely a byproduct, not me. I see it as the primary reason you should even consider taking on the challenge of public speaking.
6. A course on kindness
Typically we are nice to people we encounter, especially when they haven’t given us a reason not to be. So why is it that we treat ourselves like crap? Our internal judge is tough to please. Does yours ever kick you when you’re down? I tell ya, from my experiences, making a mistake attracts self-criticism like money does the tax man.
When learning a tough skill like public speaking, surely you will make mistakes. And you will either continue to take beating after beating from your internal critic, or you will start to treat yourself with kindness and encouragement.
Beat yourself up and regress; be kind to yourself and grow.
I find myself saying this a lot, but public speaking is so much more than just speaking to an audience. The therapeutic benefits we’ve gone over should be enough to cure even the most violent forms of depression 🙂
And hey, it’s cheaper than hiring a real therapist, too.
P.S. I received the 2nd round of proof copies for the book! Unfortunately, I’ve already found an issue that will require another proof, argggg! No worries though. It is moving along quickly. Thanks so much for those that have already signed-up 🙂 – If you haven’t yet, I urge you to reserve yourself a copy during the pre-release—while it’s still FREE! UPDATE BOOK NOW AVAILABLE!
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