There's a lot of talk about “approach anxiety" when is comes to approaching and meeting someone attractive. My personal belief is that we all too often have actually “rejected" OURSELVES before the potential meeting ever actually happens. This is tragic, because there is a simple yet effective way to make real progress from this kind of self-limitation.
As the title has already telegraphed, what we're talking about here is training yourself how to see yourself as others see you…and then how to see others as they see themselves.
So what does that mean?
You as a human being are in a remarkable position. Have you ever considered how wild it truly is that out of six billion plus human beings just like you on this planet, you will only ever see light through the eyes of ONE of them? You are confined to your own physical being, at least as far as the laws of physics apply in this life. The metaphysics of all this are, of course, a subject better suited to some other article that is not about dating and relationships. Fair enough.
But since we ARE focused like a laser on your total, utter and massive success in the dating world-up to and including complete control over your dating life-you'd best believe that there is tremendous value in exploring this concept more deeply from a certain perspective.
So many of us artificially limit ourselves from believing that we can possibly deserve the kind of partner we want. Going way beyond “approach anxiety"…going way beyond “getting beat by a girl" and indeed way beyond anything you've ever heard from me until now, it can be safely assumed that much of the problem is directly attributable to how you see yourself vs. how you see others.
Here's what I mean.
Since you know every intimate detail of your own thoughts, fears and weaknesses-as well as your strengths, of course-you know all of your own darkest secrets. Every imperfection, every prurient thought, every doubt and indeed-every single blasted thing that would cause you humiliating embarrassment if others knew.
Armed with this knowledge, what do you do? You go out and become completely disarmed by a “beautiful" and apparently “perfect" creature of the opposite gender. In your mind, he or she is flawless.
Then comes the vortex of self-doubt. “Oh man…I could never be in HER league. She's a veritable vision of perfection…and I can't even get into an elevator without feeling claustrophobic, come from a foreign country, need a haircut, have a big nose, have spring allergies, say stupid things when nervous, chew my toenails in private and once cheated on a math test. "
So once again you talk yourself out of being successful.
Erstwhile, your “vision of perfection" is inside her own state of being thinking, “Girl…get yourself TOGETHER! Your panty lines are showing, you have stupid looking ears, are habitually late for work, snort when you laugh, have two crooked teeth and wear contact lenses. NO WONDER you've been DATELESS for a MONTH now!"
Crazy stuff, isn't it? If only we could see inside each other's heads. Better yet, if only we could read the thoughts of others regarding US.
Well, you can't do that, but here are two simple exercises you CAN do:
1) Eliminate private knowledge as a “limiting factor" and take notes regarding how others respond to you
First and foremost, realize that your private thoughts are NOT public. Nobody else can evaluate you by them, so STOP using them against yourself. They do not exist in the minds of others because they CANNOT. Next, consider the comments you receive from people. Where you hear patterns repeated time and again it's time to believe what you are hearing. If pointing to ways you can better yourself, DO SO and deserve what you want. If you hear recurring positive comments and/or see recurring positive reactions to your presence and/or interactions, begin to recognize the truly positive manner in which others perceive you. This sounds so simplistic, yet how many of us go home and obsess over self-perceived “negatives" that we are repeatedly told are POSITIVES? If you think I must be kidding, actively begin to look for clues in your social life where you have previously been oblivious. Note the PATTERNS that you detect, and trust them.
2) Pretend you are walking in the shoes of someone you find attractive
Okay, here's the “power ball". Ready? My guess is that when you encounter someone who really motors your *** attraction levels, that person is actually more “perfectly imperfect" than “perfect". The next time you are practically paralyzed by attraction towards someone, I want you pretend for a moment that you were THAT PERSON instead of yourself. In your darkest, most self-critical thoughts, what would you be most self-conscious about? Go ahead and in your blind attraction make an effort to approach that concept with sober judgment. You will likely identify an entire litany of faults and potential attitudes that would make him or her VERY insecure, at least theoretically. Ironically, you may find yourself recognizing traits and/or features that some people may be self-critical about but which are at the same time EXACTLY what is making you so hot for this person. It's strange for sure. But it is an EYE OPENER.
What we're really exposing here is a dark corner of human ARROGANCE. We somehow believe that our own self-pronounced judgments both AGAINST ourselves and FOR others somehow carry greater weight than everyone else's, don't we? That's exactly what ends up limiting us, yet really yours or mine is only one of over six billion different perspectives-be it towards ourselves or others. For once, give yourself the gift of seeing things from the point of view of other people. Do so and enjoy the shock when you finally do meet someone who knocks you out…and you realize very quickly as you get to know him or her that many of the insecurities you saw from their potential perspective are actually ACTIVELY present in theirs. And feel the power and joy of being able to share with that person what others-namely YOU-see instead. How cool is that?
Typically, my recurring mantra is “deserve what you want" around here. Today you get a breather. Today I've let you in on a secret: You may already deserve WAY, WAY more than you have been giving yourself credit for.
Like what you've read? Scot McKay is the founder of X & Y Communications, a one-stop-shop for dating and relationship resources. He is the author of the books “Deserve What You Want" and “Cook For Your Date", and hosts the popular podcast series “X & Y On The Fly" with his wife Emily. He may be reached at scot *at* xandycommunications.net or on the Web at http://www.deservewhatyouwant.com/ and http://www.romantic-dinner.com/ . Stop by for a FREE GIFT and to subscribe to the podcast series.