When was the last time you felt that you were lacking confidence when going through the dating process? How often do you feel like you are never good enough? When was the last time you thought that you will not be able to find a long-lasting relationship?
I remember days of feeling that I was not good enough and never deserved to be loved. I still remember that I used to be worried and lacked confidence whenever I went on a date. I had a low self-esteem, low-self image and often found myself in isolation, thinking if I can ever find the one.
Believe it or not, after years of shutting down myself from the world, I found out that how I looked has little to do with how confidence I was. I found out that confidence comes from my inner belief in myself and the good news it is something anybody can work on to improve their self-esteem and feel confidence in every situation. I believe that healing is possible and I want to walk you through the healing process. Therefore, I will share my 7 secret proven ways to boost your self-confidence for dating success.
1. Know your worth.
Know your worth refers to the value you attribute to yourself as a person, across situations and independent of what others think. In other words, it comes from within rather than without. By knowing your worth, you are less reliant on another’s approval, thus protecting yourself from the harsh blows of rejection. Yes, rejection may still sting, but it will not break you. By valuing yourself, you are subconsciously requesting that others do the same. And this is a highly attractive quality. You have to love yourself first. If you feel unworthy of being loved by yourself, you will find it hard to accept that someone else could love you and that’s not a great starting point for a relationship. Don’t rush into dating until you are ready. Take steps to build your own confidence and self-esteem and you will find dating much more enjoyable – and successful.
2. Stop comparing
Ok, this is easier said than done. According to the social comparison theory, the drive to compare ourselves to others and see how we measure up is a basic desire. It’s part and parcel of us trying to understand our place in the world. Being bombarded with unrealistic ideals on TV and social media, however, is giving us a skewed reality. Instead of comparing ourselves with real, everyday people we meet, we’re comparing ourselves with a polished version and, more and more, this is leaving us feeling inadequate.
Try focussing more on what makes you happy. Do things you love, rather than things you think you should be doing, and you’ll find the happier you become the less you need to compare yourself and seek approval from others. This is true when dating too! Focus on what you like about your date, rather than worrying about whether you’re matching up to their expectations and previous dates they might have had.
3. Shift your mindset from “Do they like me?” to “Do I like them?”
“So many daters obsess over making the other person like them back, they forget that it’s a two-way street,” says dating expert Yue Xu. She suggests instead to ask yourself, “How can we connect? Finding a connection on a date is much more productive than finding out the other person is equally as attracted to you. A connection is what makes humans human.” In the end, consider what is more important to you: feeling popular in a virtual dating world, or finding the person with whom you will share your life.
4. Stand tall
Did your mum ever tell you to ‘sit up straight’ when you were a kid? There’s proof your mum was right – it’s actually good for you mentally as well as physically. Standing tall or sitting straight rather than slouching or hunching your shoulders can be an instant confidence-booster. Because you’re presenting yourself in a confident manner, it helps you feel more positive and self-assured.
Researchers from Ohio State found that people were more likely to believe they were qualified for a job simply by sitting up straight in their chair. In a dating situation, it also means you can look into your date’s eyes and appear more engaged in the conversation.
This should be an obvious one when you meet someone new – they say a smile lights up your face for a reason. But did you know it doesn’t only make you look more warm and inviting, it can positively affect the way you feel as well. Researchers at the University of Cardiff in Wales in 2009 studied how facial expressions can affect a person’s mood and found evidence that suggests people who smile more can actually feel happier and more confident. Even if it feels a little forced to start with, the more we smile the more natural it feels – and we start to feel the added confidence-boosting benefits.
Make sure your smile is the first thing your date notices about you when you meet. It will give you the initial confidence boost you need and set a positive tone for the rest of the date.
6. Spend time with confident people
Research states we tend to mirror the traits of the people we spend the most time with. This is known as our circle of influence and is one of the foundations of Dr Keon West’s ‘Naked Beach’ experiment. Knowing this can help us choose our friends and companions more wisely. Make a conscious effort to spend more time with people who are comfortable in their own skin and who exude confidence, and you will find it starts to rub off on you.
This might not be a quick fix, but it will work long-term and help you attract more people into your circle of friends. Very soon, you will be the one others want to be around and emulate and when that happens, dating becomes much less daunting.
7. Listen to your inner self
We all have moments where we inwardly criticize ourselves, but when this becomes the norm it can impact your self-esteem and studies have shown this can even lead to depression. When it comes to dating, you can destroy your chances before you step out the door if you’re already telling yourself they won’t like you.
To be more confident, you need to start listening more closely to what you’re telling yourself and try and turn the tables on your inner-critic. Become your own inner cheerleader instead, because we believe what we tell ourselves, whether it’s true or not. When you go out for a date, remind yourself of all the loveable traits you have.