Confidence. We know what it looks like and feels like in ourselves and others.
You may well be confident in your career, as a parent, pursuing your favorite hobbies, but confidence in one area does not guarantee confidence across the board. For many seeking a new relationship, it’s not easy to feel a whole lot of self-assurance. Maybe you have been hurt, or experienced a failed relationship you thought would last. Even though you finally feel “over it,” and know what your requirements, wants and needs are in a relationship, you freeze when it’s show time. Don’t let a lack of confidence in the dating arena do a number on your confidence!
There are some very concrete things you can do right now to build up your dating confidence. Take these tips to heart and your heart will be fortified!
- Make a list. Literally—on a piece of paper. This list will enumerate all the good qualities that make you YOU. Your talents (you can cook/write/dance/tie flies!). Your accomplishments (you built a treehouse out of twigs/founded an internet business/have a pilot’s license/sewed the curtains in your dining room!). Your special traits (you laugh till you cry/listen well/have an optimistic attitude!). Acknowledge the good in yourself. Why is this so hard for people to do? I don’t know, but it is. Step back from yourself and look at who you are from as objective a viewpoint as you can manage. Impressive, aren’t you? When you see the good in yourself, others will as well.
- Make another list. On this list will be all the wonderful things you can bring to a relationship. Appreciate your hard won wisdom and patience, your excellent listening skills, and your willingness to co-create a love-filled life with someone special. Realize one very important thing: you are quite a catch!
- Trust yourself to know when to say “no.” You can and will say no to what you don’t want. Being assertive is not being aggressive, it is merely saying you can’t or won’t do something. Assertiveness raises self-confidence and lowers anxiety and thus will empower you!
- Look at yourself in the mirror. Seeing yourself is not the same as picking yourself apart. That person you see is the perfect YOU. Stop overanalyzing your physical attributes and perceived “flaws.” You did an objective assessment and perhaps opted for an updated hair style and bought clothes that accentuate your assets and represent the real you. Good. Move on and walk the walk of your brilliant authentic self!
- Be conscious of your body language. Practice using the unspoken to convey your intentions. Look in the mirror. (Yes. Again.) Imagine yourself impressing a date with your wit and charm. Look at your smile. The way it touches your eyes. A smile like that is the best message you can send. Seeing yourself this way will boost your confidence in a face to face conversation.
- Set goals. (You might want a piece of paper for this, too.) Life goals. Dating goals. (Are they that different, in the end?) Decide what you like to do, what you want to try, and make a plan. Start small and work your way up. Tomorrow. It could be as simple as “I want to have the energy to stay up past nine.” Next week. “Get more exercise so I can have the energy to stay up past ten.” Next month. “Go dancing and stay up till 3:00!” And where do you want to be next year? Doing what? Small steps allow you to reach goals and feel the momentum. Rank your goals in terms of difficulty or how far outside your comfort zone they are. For some, talking to a co-worker at the water cooler may seem daunting in the extreme though they have no trouble running a board meeting. When you meet a goal, reward yourself in some meaningful way. Doing so will keep you on track. You will feel great about yourself and the places you are going.
- Try something new. This relates to #6, above, in that it is also about jumping out of that box you have been caught in. Never gone sky-diving? What the heck? Give it a try. Always wanted to learn to tango? Join a class. You’ll learn something new, meet a new group of people and find out even more about yourself! Too often we are so bogged down by “shoulds” that we miss our chance to try out the “coulds.” Working hard is all well and good, but it is when you do something for pleasure, and set challenges for yourself, that you build a sense of who you are. Who cares if you have two left feet? That does not mean you can’t get a lot out of learning how to tango!
- Open yourself. Being receptive to meeting new people and having new experiences is pretty basic when you are hoping for a relationship. Being open and stretching yourself will boost your confidence even more. How to do this? Try striking up a conversation with someone who looks interesting. Go ahead and accept a date with someone who is not your “type.” The more dates you go on the more confidence in dating you will have. You will overcome shyness and learn even more about yourself and what you want from life. You’ve heard the phrase, “Knowledge is power?” Well, self-knowledge is self-power.
True confidence is self-acceptance, self-assurance and self-love.
Your wisdom, your life experiences, your goals, your special heart—these things are worth feeling good about. Your acceptance of yourself will be evident in the self-assured manner with which you present yourself to the world. That is you. That is confidence.