I was once a very foolish little lady and I know I’m not alone. I wanted a boyfriend more than anything. I never stopped to wonder why, I just wanted it. Now this isn’t gonna be a tale about how I wanted it and it didn’t happen and then when I stopped wanting it, it did. My desperation did somehow result in a relationship and from there, chaos ensued.
Saying I wanted a boyfriend had a very clear underlying message- I wanted to be loved, desired, to feel good about myself, to have someone there to make me feel good about myself when I didn’t. During the course of our relationship my moods were totally contingent upon the way he responded to me- a compliment would lead to exhilaration. An insult? Well I’d fall to pieces.
Not surprisingly, the relationship didn’t last and it was only in the years after that I realized the reason why: I was looking outside myself for love and approval, a fatal misstep I see committed all the time. After this relationship ended, I truly learned the value of loving myself, and I found that with my newfound confidence, I was a much happier person out of the relationship than I had ever been when I was in it.
My motivation for this post came the other day while reading Feeling Good by David D. Burns (a book I highly recommend), specifically this passage: “People who have found happiness within themselves are usually the most desirable to members of the opposite sex and become like magnets because they are at peace and generate a sense of joy.” While these insights aren’t anything new, I felt compelled to examine this concept in more depth because for some reason, I think most of us put this very vital knowledge on the back burner.
We’ve all been told that before you can find a healthy, happy, loving relationship, it is essential to love yourself. But how does one cultivate such a love? I have faced my fair share of insecurity and self-doubt but these burdens are mostly a thing of the past for me now and I have evolved into someone who is (mostly) confident in every way.
This didn’t happen magically, it took some work and a major attitude overall which was done using the tips listed below.
Stop Thinking Negative Thoughts
Negative thoughts are inevitable. Sometimes we think them to ourselves and other times we lament out load in hopes of getting some reassurance- “I’m so Fat” “I’m so Gross” “I’m never gonna be successful,” you know how the good old insecurity song and dance goes. Well from now on, stop entertaining these thoughts! When a negative thought pops into your head, cut it off right then and there. A technique I like to use is to think the exact opposite when a bad thought enters my mind. If I start thinking, ‘Ugh, I’m so tired, I so do not wanna do any work today,’ I’ll identify that this is a negative thought that is of no value to me and then say the exact opposite, ‘I am so energized! I’m going to get so much done today!’ It may sound silly, but trust me, it works.
Thoughts are real forces, and they have a huge impact on your mood and mindset. When you are thinking negative thoughts, you are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. The good news is that you can control the thoughts that enter your mind and you don’t have to pay attention to the negative ones. Every thought resonates through your mind and body and creates a vibration which will make those thoughts a reality. If you don’t want to have a bad day or feel bad about yourself, then start thinking great thoughts!
Figure Out What Confidence Looks Like
It doesn’t matter what other people think of you, it’s the thoughts you have about yourself that make all the difference. If you want to be more confident, then make a list that details what confidence looks like and act accordingly. If you want to try out a bold look but feel hesitant, tell yourself: ‘A confident person doesn’t care what other people think and I’m a confident person and I like this outfit so I’ll wear it!’
If you’re afraid of approaching a guy because you’re scared he’ll reject you, well say to yourself, ‘A confident person doesn’t fear rejection because a confident person knows they’re fabulous and knows they’re a catch in every sense and whoever doesn’t see that is missing out. I am a confident person and I will be satisfied if this guy responds to me but it won’t effect me if he doesn’t.’ It may feel weird, or maybe like you’re being delusional, but trust me, in time, you will no longer be acting like a confident person, you will become one.
List your attributes
Talking about how great you are is definitely off-putting. Acknowledging your attributes privately, however, is a wonderful thing and is a practice you all should adopt. You can write down your positive traits or consciously let them run through your mind. Everyone has positive attributes, from physical features to personality traits. From now on, forget what you’re lacking, or what you think you’re lacking, and focus on all the incredible things that make you who you are. You should love and celebrate who you are and it should be something that causes you to experience great happiness and pride, never shame or despair.
Know that you CAN be happy alone
Having a significant other is a wonderful thing, but it isn’t the only thing and it certainly doesn’t make you complete, despite what the Hallmark cards might say. If you don’t have a special someone in your life, it’s okay, it’s actually great because you get to be totally selfish and get to live life only for you which is a luxury people in couples do not enjoy!
Before you can be happy with someone else, you truly need to find happiness within yourself. We are all wonderful, amazing creatures and given that, we certainly do not need a man to mirror this right back to us.