What is self-confidence, where does it come from, and how can I get it? This is the question that many people ask. I use to ask the same question until I began to figure it out.
If you are asking this question it's likely you are experiencing a lack of self-confidence in some area of your life. That's right some area of your life, it's quite possible to be confident in one area and not have any confidence in another. It's very common for someone to be on the top of their game at work and completely confident, yet when it comes to dating they are at the bottom of their game and have no idea how to make it better. This is because we often forget that the same tactics that made us confident at work are the same tactics we need to apply to other areas of our life. Let's use this example and apply it to self-confidence at work and the dating life.
To be on top in our careers we need to be educated, dedicated, and willing to do whatever it takes to make ourselves stand out. This means not only do we need to look good, but we need to be good. Take a look at how you became successful in your career and apply those techniques to your personal life as well. I am sure while you were at work you had a good work ethic and that you willing to put the time in because you knew it would pay off in the long run. Even when you went through difficult patches you most likely pushed on and tried other things to make you better at your job. I bet you never gave up and that it was the first thing you thought about in the morning and the last thing you thought of at night. You made it a priority to make sure that all the knowledge and tools available were at your disposal to become a success. You were paving the way to self-confidence and probably didn't even know it.
Unfortunately, in the dating world, maybe you aren't feeling self-confident. You aren't quite sure about how you look, how you talk, and how someone is perceiving you. Worry sets in and going on a date becomes a dreaded ordeal. What if you applied similar techniques to the ones that made you successful in other areas of your life? What if you read and educate yourself about how to be a great partner and friend? What if you developed the softer side of yourself that you always kept well hidden in your work life? What if you decided to be an expert on dating?
I can tell you there isn't a date out there who doesn't love to be asked questions about themselves, who doesn't love to be intently listened to, and who feels that they are a priority. Now I am not saying that every date you ever go on will be for you. What I am saying is that you can train yourself to give what you want to be reflected back to yourself. That's right, give what you want to receive instead of worrying that you may not give the right impression. Being real is always the right impression. Really listening, really caring, and really wanting to be at your best for another person is what dating is all about. You want to show up on top of your game. That means you want to spend time preparing and bringing your best version of yourself to the date. That doesn't mean just showing up and filling the chair. It means offering value, meaning, and all your best attributes.
By learning about what makes good relationships we can become more comfortable and self-confident in ourselves when we date. Being a good listener, putting another before yourself, a willingness to make sacrifices for the good of the relationship, are just a few examples of what it takes to be a good partner. Knowing what is important to those we date and what their interests are can be of great value. Directing conversations that take that into consideration will have a lasting impact. When we enter into dating with these principles in the forefront we will see positive results from the people we are meeting.
To be confident in anything is to know how to be the best at it. Instead of looking so much at ourselves we need to look more outside ourselves. What can I offer, how intently can I listen, and how may I best present myself in the most authentic way possible? When you educate yourself on what it takes to be a great date, you won't feel insecure. Talking to others who have had a lot of dating experience and also doing a lot of dating yourself will eventually through trial and error lead to more self-confidence. Exposure to situations that are uncomfortable is the way to break down the walls that are causing the discomfort.
I believe we all get situations that make us feel challenged and grow as people. If you are having a self-confidence problem in any area of your life, embrace it. It is unfortunate that so many people feel so bad about not being confident, instead of taking it as a sign that they need to develop some area of their life. Self-confidence is nothing more than a recognition that you are good and you have worked very hard to become good. In order to become self-confident, we must stop worrying about how others perceive us and be happy with ourselves. Really self-confident people are not concerned about the opinions others have of them.
In my late 40's I decided to take up tennis. It has been a 15-year journey into myself that I never expected. When I first started everyone in my group was like me so I didn't feel a lack of self-confidence. As time went on and I gradually became better and began competing, it was then that I felt the first pangs of lack of self-confidence. If someone was better than I was I would immediately feel uncomfortable and the negative self-talk would start playing in my head. I battled with this for quite some time until I came across an article that said if you feel a lack of confidence become an expert. So that is what I began to do. Every time I got beat or I ran up against someone that had something I didn't have in my game, I went to work on it. I read everything I could, I took drills and as I got better I felt the self-confidence rise. But can I realistically expect that I won't get beat by someone? So how am I going to maintain my self-confidence even when everything doesn't go well? This is the part that was tricky. I had to look at the root cause of my lack of self-confidence. At its root was a fear of not being wanted or valued. Once I realized this it really opened the door for me to dig deeper into where that came from. From here I was able to separate what was an old childhood fear that was robbing me of my self-confidence today. Just getting that understanding has helped me to settle down any negative thoughts that do pop up from time to time.
I remember one time being on a losing streak and asking my tennis pro what I could do to gain some self-confidence. That's when he told me something I had never heard. He said, " Go out and play some lesser players and take their's." At first, I thought this sounded awful, but I can tell you after doing it I realized it worked. Yes, you can actually take people's self-confidence from them if they allow you to. Remember this very important teaching because your self-confidence must be protected. Once you earn it, take care of it, and don't let anyone steal it from you. Build a strong foundation and mindset that no matter what happens in life, no one gets to take away what you worked hard to get. You will need to be able to deal with negative self-sabotaging talk that is bound to try to creep in when things aren't going well. This will take some time and practice, but it is attainable.
We all have different situations, age, handicaps, natural abilities, and so on, but within these differences, we can still be the best experts we can be and be rewarded with self-confidence. At its core self-confidence is a mindset, it's a realization that it can come and go if we allow it to.
So try to gain as much confidence through education and experience as you can and then keep it safe knowing that it can be taken away much more easily than it was gained. Ask yourself the tough questions of what is behind your fears and really the root cause of the lack of self-confidence? Having this knowledge will make you more aware when you start to falter and you can quickly get yourself back on track without losing too much of your self-confidence. The quicker you catch yourself the better you will get at maintaining your self-confidence.