Do you ever just freeze up with nervousness when faced with the prospect of talking to someone you actually like, especially if the conversation is going to be about how you'd like to get closer to them, ask them out, etc? Do you ever tell yourself that there's nothing to be jittery about, but you still can't help but feel or sometimes even act awkward in front of them because of it? Does it seem like you simply can't help but feel self-conscious and hyper-aware of everything you say and do?
Or, really, more generally, do you ever just want something or someone--anything or anyone at all--and the fact that you want them so much is exactly what makes you unable to reach out for it? Is the desire itself so overwhelming that the thought of not getting it is overpowering your ability to act because you're so afraid of screwing it up?
Does it seem like you can't have confidence in precisely the stuff you care about, even when you know it might require confidence to get it, so it's like this supremely irritating catch-22?
I only know what finally worked for me.
Here's the short version of the solution, if you'd like me to get to the point: Just don't care.
Or, rather, care, but not about not having what you want. Just assume you will get it.
That's easier said than done, so I will attempt to explain how to get to that point of being able to take ones ego out of the equation and just not care about failing.
Here's a little background:
What I First Noticed About the Nature of Confidence
The problem for me applied to a lot of things, but it was most obvious in the department of romance and social interactions.
Throughout a lot of my life I was socially awkward because I was just kind of a weird kid in my younger years and I liked a lot of unpopular things (like reading), so I basically avoided people for a long time and learned little about them at first as a result. Thus, as I grew older and started interacting, I didn't feel very confident at all in the beginning.
When I did actually start to engage, and started to, in particular, notice girls that would catch my eye, all these old feelings of uncertainty towards people started to surface once again...but it seemed only in regards to girls I actually really liked.
When it came to girls I wasn't that attracted to, I subconsciously felt like I had nothing to lose, and I was much more confident and reaped the rewards of it. In fact, I had others comment (positively) on my boldness, and I could get some girls to like me pretty easily because I didn't give off an awkward or inadequate vibe around them. I could get physically close to girls much more easily and fluidly, ironically, when I really didn't want to get physical with them in that way at all.
This irritated me to no end, that I could act completely normal and borderline overboard in the boldness department when I didn't care whether a girl rejected me or not, but froze up when I would realize that a certain girl was someone I actually really wanted.
I realized it was because I, like a lot of people, I think, had this tendency to frantically start focusing on just not messing up above anything else when interacting with someone I actually wanted, and it would suck the fun and natural fluidity right out of it. It would get awkward. I would freeze up and unknowingly appear distant to them and push them away.
I really was pretty much totally aware of the problem by a certain point. I knew what I was doing and that it was stupid, but I just didn't know how to break out of it. I even had an inkling of the solution; I thought: "If I can just not care about messing up and not over-analyze my interactions with girls I like, just how I already do with girls I'm not interested in, it would be so much better. If I could just not care what girls I like think of me, just as I do with everybody else, it would be great."
But it just seemed impossible, like a contradiction in terms. Of course you're going to care what they think of you if you want them to like you back!
I knew in my mind that, reasonably, there was nothing I could do to make them like me if we weren't naturally compatible and I didn't really have a desire to do that anyway (I tend to be, thankfully, attracted to people who are compatible); but, ironically, I was worried more about appearing like I had no confidence and turning them off through those means, which was exactly what made me lose confidence in the first place. A vicious cycle.
So for the longest time I just waded through it, vaguely aware of the problem (and eventually completely, clearly aware of the problem), having trouble getting what I really wanted and not willing to settle for what I didn't want as much, but was willing to approach.
Slowly Starting to Get It
It struck me one day, as I over-analyzed yet another interaction I had had with a girl, that maybe somewhere in the back of my mind I was telling myself that I didn't deserve these girls that I liked. I never thought of myself as being someone with a self-esteem problem, since I've always thought pretty highly about myself when it came to most things, but I couldn't help but wonder if I was setting myself up to fail because I was just assuming that they would reject me from the get-go.
I thought: You may not know 100% whether she will reciprocate your feelings or not, but by focusing so much on the part of the equation that involves your not turning her off--basically, by focusing on the negative, almost solely on the possibility that she might reject you and how to prevent it--aren't you just sending signals to the back of your mind that you're likely to fail? She might be totally into you, and you're sabotaging it by concentrating on that minuscule possibility that she's not.
And then it finally struck me: What if you just assumed, instead, that you would succeed? Just treated it as a given that you would get what you want, that it was already a foregone conclusion? What if you left no room at all in your mind for the possibility of anything except success? And if she did happen to turn you down at first, what if you could view the situation almost in a detached, objective way and decide simply and confidently whether you wanted to try again or move on?
Again, it was easier said than done at the time, but it was a step in the right direction. How, on a specific, behavioral level, could I go about producing such a huge perspective shift? It seemed daunting, but then one day, as a consequence of something seemingly unrelated, the solution formed itself practically overnight.
What I Ultimately Learned to Do to Quell the Problem
Here, I'll just cut to the chase and tell you what to do, without going into detail on how I came upon this, because that's a whole other story in and of itself.
The trick, first of all, is to detach yourself and your self-worth from the situation. In fact, I had been told this before by others as advice, but I just didn't get it and didn't know how to go about doing it. Yet again, it didn't seem specific enough, seemed way easier said than done.
This will sound weird, possibly, but this is how you do it:
You really have to see yourself outside of the equation, almost like your body and physical self are separate from your ego, and the real you is really just some entity outside yourself controlling this character called [Your Name].
Further, look at all the people around you and assume they are a figment of your imagination, including and especially the girl/guy/whatever you are trying to build a connection with.
That's right. Assume that they are simply an illusion and that, in fact, you are controlling their behavior subconsciously, that they are acting and speaking in accordance to how you believe they will speak and behave.
Assume you are playing a God game (like The Sims, for example), and that the real you is a player controlling the game-character that you know as yourself in this virtual world. Assume that, in reality, you have basically complete and total control, in various direct and indirect ways, over everything that happens around you. Assume that if something happens, it's because on some level you believed it would happen. (And, therefore, to change a situation, all that you must do is change how you feel about it.)
Assume that there's no reason to care what she (or anyone) thinks of you or to focus on it, because she has no thoughts--she's just an illusion. She will act as if she thinks whatever you want her to think of you.
Assume that you are in a Matrix of sorts, or in a dream, and that you can affect this virtual reality if you just have the confidence to believe that you can reach out to affect it. Assume every object and person around you is a projection of yourself and your subconscious, even if you know that ultimately this may not be true at all "for real." Make yourself believe it anyway for the sake of this exercise; convince yourself of it; act as if it is true. Exercise your suspension of disbelief and just go with it.
Assume that believing something will happen and wanting something to happen and the actuality of something happening are all one and the same.
Again, this might seem like really weird, random things to do, but trust me--just try it. Once you can really get into that mindset (which can be less than easy sometimes, I know--it took me hours of conscious effort at first), if you're like me, you will notice some strange things that start to happen.
Suddenly, you don't care about the specific things you say and do and cease to over-analyze them. After all, if she (or he, or anything) is just a figment of your imagination, what harm could anything you're saying or doing have to your relationship? Just do what feels natural because, at the end of the day, if you feel positive about the interaction, she will seem that way, too, because she's just a figment of your imagination and will reflect how you feel. If you act and feel awkward, she will seem that way, too. If you act with confidence, she will respond likewise and positively. You have nothing to fear since ultimately you completely control her behavior indirectly.
Ultimately, you created her body in your head, so there's no reason to be intimidated by it and no reason to fear reaching over to her and touching her every once in awhile when you feel the need. It will come naturally. You believe she will invite you to touch her. You know she'll touch you back. And she does. Because, really, she's just an extension of you--something your mind made up.
Suddenly, you're not afraid of reaching out for what you want, when it comes to her and other things, because it seems like a given that you'll either get it or face no consequences if you don't get it at first. After all, it's just a game, and your identity is just a character within that game with no ego. You can do whatever you want and try as many times as you please without any embarrassment.
Now, I am telling you, so far in my experience, this totally, overwhelmingly works in terms of giving you confidence. If you really can get to the point where you suspend your disbelief and really act like these things are true, it will work. When you no longer focus on just the fact that you want something and how to avoid missing out on it, and instead focus entirely on allowing it to happen with no sense of self-worth attached, it will do wonders.
Also, as I alluded before, it works for other things, too, not just love interests and not just people. There are many things in life that we block from ourselves, sometimes without realizing it at all, simply because of our own limiting lack of belief in ourselves, when, objectively, they may be very easy to attain and right under our noses. In reality, it might be just as easy as taking a tiny step forward, but we're too afraid of seeming presumptuous or of admitting what we want, or of feeling like that much more of a loser if we don't get it.
Acting humble and not believing in oneself is a buffer for when we expect to fail, because then we can say: "See, I told you it wouldn't work out. I wasn't so presumptuous as to assume I could actually get what I want." The problem with this is that, then, you will exactly not get what you want usually. You are asking to fail when you make that, in your mind, a probability.
I know this hub was long, and it's possibly a lot to digest, and some of it may still remain under-explained. It's kind of a complex subject and maybe in the future I will expand on it with other hubs. For now, though, I wanted to share this because it just worked too well for me to not mention it on here, and I know there has to be other people out these with the same issues I had.
Let me know how it works out, if you choose to try it.
- 5 Things Immature Men do When it Comes to Women
- How to Never Get What You Want When it Comes to Love
- 5 Reasons to Tell a Guy or Girl How You Feel
- 5 Things Girls Might Do That Creep a Guy Out
Ciel on May 19, 2013:
Interesting article. I'll try it with this girl I have my eye on. :)
The whole 'imagine you're in the Matrix and you control everything' - wouldn't that cause me to have an overly inflated view of myself, if I were to seriously suspend any disbelief about it?
kaly on April 29, 2012:
like the push pull technique you were talking about earlier, do you know how you reject it from a person that is playing it on you, an you feel irresistible instead to the person playing the gamer?
MiseryHinata on October 22, 2010:
I'm hoping that this will work for me :) My first date ever soon, I hope, and confidence has always been an issue for me, so thanks for the great advice, sounds like it'll help me alot!
Dawn Michael from THOUSAND OAKS on October 14, 2010:
The hands very interesting hub and I can see what you are saying from a mans perspective. I think that for both men and women figuring out what you want in a relationship is the first step and then realizing that asking a woman out on a date is just that to find out if that person will fit into what you want out of a partner.
Jorge Vamos (author) on October 12, 2010:
Haha. I guess this theory has more applications than I originally thought. ;)
Dabii on October 11, 2010:
This is amazing!!
I read this at 5pm and by 7pm I won free stuff from a random draw I entered, God sent I tell you!!
pinoyboy007 on October 09, 2010:
Totally helpful,i've always felt that i was confindent in front of girls and since reading this i realized that i wasn't really confident and all i was doing was making the girl feel uncomfortable. now i know how to handle myself in the field without all the akwardness.
hubpageswriter on October 07, 2010:
Amazing. I'm going to have go to through this once again. Hub up for now.