It is not just how we behave on a date that matters.
It is much more how we treat ourselves in our day-to-day life that determines our level of confidence in dating.
Here are seven ways to improve your confidence:
1. Monitor negative self-talk.
We all know that voice in our head that chatters all day long about the ways we are not good enough. The one that says, “You should have done better!” “Be more careful!” “This is impossible!” This is the voice that blames us when we make a mistake or when we are late. Each time this voice pops up in our head, it is reducing our self-love and our self-confidence.
Monitoring this voice is the first step to confidence. Instead, try this: each time this voice speaks in a negative way, immediately say two positive things. For example: “You idiot! You dropped your phone!” Say, “Okay, I’m an incredible dancer and an amazing parent.” Over time we begin to build more confidence by replacing the negative talk with the positive reinforcement.
Just paying attention to your self-talk will help you begin to change it. With consistent and simple attention, over time, you will begin to hear this voice less and less until one day it will just be gone.
2. Don’t beat yourself up.
Beating yourself up is a more extreme version of negative self-talk. This is when we really lay into ourselves. “How could you have possibly said that to your boss? He is going to fire you! Then you’ll have no income! You’ll be broke!”
Any time that voice starts, we can usually stop it by thinking something positive about ourselves. It can help to know that this voice is coming out because of a fear you have about something. Try to realize that the voice is attempting to protect you from something. It can sometimes help to say to the voice, “I am grateful that you are trying to help me but it is not helpful to do this anymore so you can stop. Why don’t you try to protect me in a different way? Can you do that?”
3. Be present.
When we are present, when we are in the moment and not thinking about the past or the future. In the present is where we are almost automatically confident. Lack of confidence comes from fear of what might happen. If we stay in the present, focus on what is happening now, and don’t worry about the future, we can be more confident.
A good tool to help us be present is to pay attention to all of our senses. Feel the ground beneath us and the air in our lungs, pay attention to any sounds we can hear, look at the environment around us and remind ourselves where we are.
4. Be aware of our emotions.
The most common reason for lack of confidence is nervousness. Nervousness comes from emotions that we have not been able to face. If we do not feel our emotions at the time when they occur, then our body stores them until we can release them somehow. Over years we fill up with more and more repressed emotions and it becomes more and more difficult to manage what is buried. This is where many emotional and psychological issues come from. When we become more aware of our emotions and allow ourselves to feel them, they are not added to our bank of stored emotions. This is an important step on the road to building lasting confidence. We must also learn how to release emotions we already have stored and have been ignoring. This can be done with the emotional release technique found here.
We can begin by trying to be aware of our emotions throughout the day. It does not need to be difficult, we simply set the intention to observe our emotions and we will notice whichever ones we do.
5. Be aware of your body.
When you are aware of your body you are in the present. Most of us lack confidence because instead of simply living in the moment and doing what we want to do, we worry in our head about what the consequences of each tiny action might be. This keeps us in our head instead of in our body, and being in our head creates a lack of confidence. The more we learn to be in our body and not in our head, the more confident we become.
It can help to pat our arms or torso with our hands as a reminder to be more in our body.
6. Don’t judge others.
When we judge others, we are actually judging ourselves. Here’s how it works: Compassion starts with ourselves. As we go through life, we learn to have compassion for ourselves and others. Each of these builds on the other—more compassion for others means more for ourselves and vice versa. When we get to a certain point, we then begin to have so much compassion for ourselves that we have extra love and compassion to give to others. When we eventually love ourselves fully, we become incapable of having anything but compassion for others.
Since this is a two-way street, if we stop judging and blaming others it will free up energy for us to begin to have more compassion for ourselves. When we have true love for ourselves we are always confident because we have nothing to fear. Most, if not all, of our irrational fears are caused by some perceived lack in ourselves, such as lack of safety or lack of control. When we love ourselves completely then none of these perceived lacks are there to create fears.
We can begin practicing by paying attention throughout our day to when we judge others.
7. Be gentle with yourself.
Part of having compassion for ourselves is being gentle. When we really care about and love ourselves, we are gentle, the way we would be with anyone we love.
This can be a useful tool. Always treat yourself the way you would treat a baby. Whenever we beat up on ourselves, mentally or emotionally, or by treating our body in an unloving way—stop and think, “Is this how I would treat a baby who I was holding in my arms?”
Keep this in mind throughout the day and see what happens.
I suggest trying these practices one at a time and seeing what kind of response there is. If we don’t get the results we want the first time, it doesn’t necessarily mean the tool won’t work for us. Try one of the others and go back to that one later.
If you do these practices on a consistent basis, they will help you build confidence, not just in dating but in every other area of your life. Everything you need to start is here. You can begin to change your life today with only a bit of effort and a little patience.