Why I Say Love is the Answer to Stage Fright & Fear of Public Speaking

Darren’s comment on a recent blog post opened the door for me to delve more deeply into my awareness of what causes stage fright and fear of public speaking.  In response, I’d like to focus on what triggers stage fright and what heals it, what releases us from the grip of negativity and unleashes our potential to communicate and express who we are.    What triggers stage fright is judgment – fear of judgment from others and expectation of perfection which is judgment of self.  A more subtle form of judgment of the audience (others) also exists, in that we are judging them as judgmental of us.  Get it?  We are expecting them to dislike and disapprove of us.  So, we are judging them!  We don’t feel safe with them because we expect them to be unsafe.    Judgment is the opposite of acceptance, of love.  Judgment imprisons us, making us tense and anxious.  In judgmentalism, we assesses things as wrong and bad.  Judging self is not accepting and loving oneself as you are.  We judge ourselves as not good enough.  We judge the audience as enemies, as judging us.      In order to heal stage fright, we must remove judgment so we can experience love, for self and for audience members.  The main judgment to remove is that there is something wrong with us if we are feeling tension or fear about sharing ourselves.  Once we learn it is OK to feel feelings and to express feelings in front of others, then we begin to feel free to be who we are at the center of attention. The process of transforming stage fright and fear of public speaking involves giving oneself permission to be who we are (without self-judgment) in front of others.    Giving yourself permission to feel your feelings, and be who you are in front of others heals the problems of stage fright. This is a much deeper level of work than simply learning mechanical speaking or performance skills. Traditional public speaking teachers and performance coaches will drill you on performance and presentation techniques because that is all they know how to do. But that will not heal stage fright.  Psychologists will help you analyze why you feel afraid, but that will not heal stage fright.  Hypnotists will program your subconscious mind, but that will not heal stage fright.  What will help is permission to feel your feelings, be who you are and express authentic thoughts and feelings in front of others.     So yes, at a level beyond the mechanics of public speaking (knowing what to do and how to do it), stage fright is about not loving yourself.  When you can love and accept yourself in front of others, you feel free to share your talents and gifts, ideas and expertise with others.  Once you are there, then, as Darren said in his comment, learning some mechanical skills make presenting easy, even fun!  As you feel free from judgment, free to be yourself, you are naturally energized and excited to share yourself.  It’s a wonderful feeling to be so free in front of others.