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The Change That Can Boost Anyone's Dating Confidence

Be the chooser.

Key points

  • Never feeling good enough and looking to others for validation, can lead to placing the opinions of others above your own.
  • Looking for external validation often leads to a fear of not being chosen, a 'please pick me' mindset.
  • To overcome the fear of not being chosen you have to become the chooser.
  • Taking stock of your value, dialing down your inner critic, and mental rehearsal are tools you can use to practice being the chooser.
Source: David_E_Angelini_Shutterstock

I don't feel good enough is almost a universal theme people struggle with in this modern era. I don't believe the internet is entirely to blame, but it certainly isn't making people feel better. As a result of this chronic insecurity that so many people feel, yet almost everyone believes is their own burden to bear, a very high value is often placed on what other people think. We all want to be validated, and the opinion of other people often becomes more important than how we feel about ourselves.

This leads many people to default in social situations to what I like to call--the please pick me mindset. Maybe you remember what it was like in grade school when you were praying not to be the last one picked for a kickball team. While almost everyone can remember the fear of not being chosen in school, that fear for many persists well into adulthood and is often prevalent in social situations, particularly in the world of dating.

The desire to be chosen is almost as universal as not feeling good enough. Likely because one confirms the other. If I don't get chosen, it's proof that I'm not good enough. We are also hardwired to want to be included, as from an evolutionarily perspective, being chosen and included in a group is more likely to ensure our survival.

But when you're waiting to be chosen you feel powerless, and it can take a major toll on your self-esteem. All of your attention is on trying to convince another of why you’re good enough when the reality is you’re already doubting whether you actually are. This can lead to a plethora of negative emotions and unhealthy coping behaviors. It can also create its own self-fulfilling prophecy where you go into a situation doubting you’ll get picked, and then your lack of self-confidence leads to behaving in ways more likely to result in rejection.

The desire to be chosen can be so strong it overwhelms other rational behavior. A client of mine cried in my office one day because a man she didn’t even like never called her for a second date. She didn’t stop to think about the fact that because she didn’t like him, she probably didn’t act interested. She just wanted to be chosen.

Be the Chooser

Luckily mindsets can be changed. Instead of seeing yourself as the person always waiting to be picked, be the chooser. Remind yourself that this is your life, and you don’t have to be a passive participant waiting for someone else to decide whether you’re good enough. The question you should be asking yourself is: Are they good enough for me?

When you go into a social situation with the mindset that you are the chooser, your energy changes. You’re no longer in a passive powerless position, but rather a proactive position of agency. Instead of focusing on your own behavior and whether you are pleasing them, your focus is on their behavior. How are they treating you? Are they acting with integrity? Do they seem genuinely interested in getting to know who you are or does their behavior seem more self-involved? Someone who doesn’t see your value, says nothing about your value, but rather that they are blind to it.

Becoming the chooser is a mindset shift that takes some practice. Below are three steps you can use to get you there.

  1. To start, spend some time working on getting to know your value and learning to feel good enough. Begin with dialing down your inner critical voice and dialing up your ability to be kind to yourself (To learn how to stop beating yourself up click here). Keep in mind that you can’t expect someone else to treat you better than you treat yourself.
  2. Then you’re going to need to spend some time really focusing on your positive qualities, which will naturally build your self-confidence (For a 30-day exercise to boost self-confidence click here).
  3. When you get to the place where you are really acknowledging your own value, then you’re ready to begin mentally rehearsing what it feels like to be the chooser. Practice with people you don’t know first. Get into the habit of observing and labeling the behavior of others. Is their behavior kind, self-serving, judgmental, or insecure? Ask yourself if this is what you’re looking for in a friend or partner. Is this behavior that makes you feel good about who you are when you’re with them?

The most important thing to keep in mind as the chooser is that you should never choose anyone who doesn’t choose you.

Facebook image: Dejan Dundjerski/Shutterstock

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