Ahhhh confidence… this nebulous abstraction, this vague je ne sais quoi that some people seem to have and you wonder where you can get some.
Have you caught yourself doing that? Wondering – if only I were more confident with women, I’d feel so much better. I’d be happier and more at ease. Or maybe – if only I were more confident generally, with people.
It does seem tempting to focus on confidence, doesn’t it, given that the people that we know in our lives that experience genuine happiness all seem to have it.
The thing is, I think how can I be more confident isn’t really the question that you are asking, that any of us are asking, when we ask this.
I think the real question is: how can I be less afraid of rejection?
Now we’re talking. Let’s face it – rejection sucks. It hurts.
It might help to understand that rejection is a really normal part of life, and that it is normal to feel disappointment and sadness in the face of rejection.
Asking for anything that we want comes coupled with an inherent vulnerability, provided that the question is really a question and the person we ask it to is empowered to answer truthfully.
Stating our desires and asking for what we want is vulnerable because the other person can always say no.
But, it’s possible to reframe this. In fact, if you learn nothing else at all from me, I want you to really grasp the one single skill that has the power to transform not just your experiences of dating and sex, but really all of your relationships with all people.
Two words: Outcome Independence.
Outcome independence is the key to the thing that we all call confidence. I talk about it a bit here:
The more that you can do to cultivate the ability to be as equally happy with a yes or a no to any question, the more powerful you become.
This is what vulnerability is. It means speaking for your wants and desires, and understanding that you will not always receive a yes, and giving a voice to yourself anyway.
And, for avoidance of doubt, that fear of rejection? Or, that tinge of disappointment if you receive a no? Those never go away completely. With time, though, you prove to yourself that you’re able to survive that fear and that disappointment, and so they affect you less.
And, really, this is why vulnerability is sexy: because it requires courage.
ACTION FOR THE WEEK: Practice outcome independence as often as you can. Like any other skill, the more you apply it, the easier it becomes to do. Spend time each day thinking about what you really want or desire in any situation. You might be at a restaurant, for example, and you’d really like a dish but with one ingredient substituted. Or maybe you’re at the shop and someone cuts in front of you in the line, and you want them to take their place in the queue. That feeling you get, at those moments, where you might normally decide “not to make a fuss” and stay quiet? That is the discomfort that always precedes vulnerability.
For this week, try and be with that discomfort, and take the courageous step to speak up for what you want. If it works for you, keep a journal this week and note when you decided to speak up, about what, and what the experience was like. It can be revealing to read this back at the end of the week and see the progress you’ve made!
And now, for something completely different: break-ups.
They’re an integral part of dating and relationships. Like many of us, you probably have some break-up stories to tell. You may have been in relationships that ended abruptly and painfully, or alternatively ones that never seemed to really have a definitive end. Maybe your partner or date started freezing you out. Or maybe they seem to have fallen off the face of the Earth altogether.
Regardless of your background and personal experiences, you probably know that break-ups can suck. Whenever feelings (and the potential for hurting them) are involved, things can get messy. Dealing with break-ups gracefully (no matter which side you’re on) takes a lot of skill and practice.
I would also really love to hear from you if you take this week’s action, specifically, what did you speak up for that you wanted but were hesitant to ask about, how did it feel to do that, and how did it go?
Moreover, if you have any burning questions related to dating, sex, and relationships, don’t forget to share them below!
Feeling shy? You can always send the questions in complete confidence to email@example.com. I read every email, and your question may be answered in an upcoming post, video, or podcast!
Want to be kept in the loop and learn more awesome dating tips? Subscribe to my newsletter and never miss an episode!