The most attractive quality that anyone can have in dating is confidence.
It doesn’t matter how many relationships books or blogs you read, the underlying theme is always tied closely to your confidence. If you don’t feel like a completely confident person, and trust me no one does, there are other ways to connect with the people that you’re dating. Remember that confidence means that you believe in yourself. It’s a reflection of how you feel about your abilities. The most under mentioned element of confidence that I want you to consider improving upon is vulnerability.
[Updated] *I held a webinar recently where an attendee asked me about being vulnerable and if it works in dating. I started thinking about what I’d learned over the years about being vulnerable and how it helps to create dating success.
My answer was very typical me and it started with reframing what we believe it means to be vulnerable. Most people see vulnerability as being open to hurt, pain, rejection or judgment. We translate vulnerable to mean exposed and that thought is very scary.
If you’re willing, try to reframe what it means to be vulnerable. In my answer I also suggested that vulnerability could be practiced. When I was working in retail I had a co-worker who was applying for a new position. It was very stressful on her, because this would mean relocation. The waiting made her incredibly anxious and when I asked how the process was going, she admitted that she hadn’t been able to sleep. I also suffer from anxiety and often have trouble sleeping, which I expressed to her.
As a manager, I felt this was a great opportunity to bond without exposing a deeply personal secret. There are facets of our personality that we withhold for no particular reason. There are challenges and struggles that we’ve over come in our lives but we keep them to ourselves. When it comes to being vulnerable, you can practice moments of vulnerability by sharing information about yourself with the people in your life.
I want you to apply a new meaning to the term vulnerability.
Don’t think of being vulnerable as being exposed. Having a defense against vulnerability means you’re afraid and that means you’re not growing, or learning within the experiences because you’re unable to express your true self. You believe that creating defenses means you’re protecting yourself from being hurt or judged but you’re not. Think of vulnerability this way. You already know what you want to share but you’re afraid to share it. How many times have you heard someone share a story and thought, “I’ve felt that way,” or “It’s happened to me.”
You can’t prevent an emotion from being felt, no matter how hard you try. You can however prevent it from being fully expressed. When that happens you hold onto it longer than necessary. By being vulnerable you’re expressing yourself in a way that can heal your insecurities. Doesn’t that sound more pleasant than what you’ve imagined about being vulnerable? Vulnerability can get you closer to the love that you want by allowing you to fully express what and how you feel. Here’s a few ways to start becoming more vulnerable, more open and more confident.
Don’t. Lie. Ever.
Little white lies are what we use to protect ourselves from a truth that we don’t want to accept. Because we lie to ourselves, it’s easy to lie to others. When we’re afraid that we might be judged or rejected we tend to lie. If we believe the other person will be hurt or mad, we lie.
Have you ever been asked where you were last night or what you did and suddenly felt ashamed or embarrassed? So you lied? You didn’t lie because you’re dishonest, but because you lacked confidence in that moment. Little white lies prevent vulnerability.
Don’t say you like things that you don’t like, don’t embellish the truth to sound cooler, don’t make up anything to seem important and certainly don’t mislead the people that you’re dating. Don’t be vague because you don’t want the other person to form a negative opinion of you.
This behavior is sending a message that you’re not good enough so you have to tweak the truth to your advantage. When you lie, you hide. Avoid the temptation to paint situation in other way than it actually is. This is vulnerability.
Release Your Shame
Confidence in its simplest form is believing that you can handle what comes your way. Many of our insecurities comes from feeling ashamed of our experiences. We think back on our lives and constantly wish we would’ve done things differently.
So what if you don’t have a high paying job, or perfect credit. Who cares if you dated a married man, or woman, or cheated in your last relationship? Big deal if you made mistakes in your past; everyone has. There’s no such thing as the moral police.
You might feel ashamed, or regret what happened, or what you’ve done in your past but you can’t continue to hide from it. Let go of the shame you feel and choose to accept and love yourself anyway. That might sound very fluffy and kumbaya-ish but the reality is this: it only matters because you give it meaning. Stop holding on to emotions that don’t serve you.
What causes us to lie in dating is our shame but being ashamed of yourself doesn’t make you a better, more humble human being. The truth is everyone’s a mess in some capacity. I’m a mess, you’re a mess we’re all a mess. It’s nothing to feel bad about.
When you start feeling shame in any capacity remind yourself, “I have nothing to prove.”
If you feel completely ashamed and embarrassed about what you want to share with your partner then reframe how you share it. Tell the person that you’re dating that you are ashamed of it and share it anyway. Don’t hold back any part of who you are because of fear that you will be judged.
Ask More Questions
Getting to know and deeply understand the person you’re dating is the best thing that you can do for any relationship. The fastest way to accomplish this is by asking more questions. Ask questions that are important and thoughtful. We typically avoid important questions because we’re afraid of the answers. We’re afraid that if our potential date reveals a fact about themselves that we don’t like then we’ll have to make the hard choice to stop seeing them. We’re afraid that if the answers to the questions are too different from our own then we’ll prove incompatible.
What I’ve noticed from working in the dating industry is that most single men and women don’t ask the tough questions because they don’t want to answer them.
- What if our answers are not what the other person wants to hear?
- What if our responses causes them to stop seeing us?
Being vulnerable means letting others know what you want. Even when it’s different from what they want. Instead of being afraid of the answer feel free to honestly admit that you don’t know the answer. Being vulnerable might also mean expressing that you don’t have the answers to everything and sometimes its exhausting to act like you do.
Being vulnerable, in its simplest form, means being honest. Practice it often and start with yourself. I hope this was helpful.