I’ve noticed something lately. Something surprisingly common, especially amongst geeky guys. Especially among geeky guys who’re trying to get better at dating.
There’s a lot of you venting your frustration about your dating lives, in your letters to me and in the comments on the blog. You’ve been taking my advice. You’re approaching the women you’re interested in. You’re working on your banter. Hell, you’ve been hitting the gym for the first time in forever.
But nothing’s getting better. Friday night’s still the lonliest night of the week and you’re stuck at home, wondering what the hell it is that everyone else has that you don’t.
It’s all bullshit right? Who cares how much you work at “being confident” or not being “the nice guy”, none of it’s ever gonna help. Girls are just gonna keep throwing themselves at assholes and you’re stuck at home while everybody else in the world is having way more sex1 than you ever will.
That right there? That’s the problem.
Let’s talk about your attitude.
If you’ve spent any time in the self-help section of a bookstore or were online any time around 2006, you’ll have heard more than you can stand about how your mindset affects your life. Whether it’s Think and Grow Rich to the pseudoscience hokum of The Secret,you undoubtedly have been bombarded with messages about how your mentality and your attitude can affect your success in life.
You know what?
They’re absolutely right.
Now, don’t get me wrong. You’re not gonna cure cancer, win the lottery or sleep with Scarlett Johansson just because you really really want it 2. But your attitude and mentality will make a difference in your life, especially when it comes to your love life.
Y’see, your attitudes and beliefs color everything you do. It affects how you react to rejection. It affects how you respond to criticism. It affects how people see you. It affects how you see yourself.
Let’s look at the attitudes that hold you back… and more importantly, the ones you should have and why.
Negativity Is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Raise your hand (metaphorically speaking) if you’ve ever thought something like this:
“Women don’t like me because I’m too _______”
“Only ______ people get what they want.”
“If I do _______, people will figure out I’m a fake.”
“There’s no point in ________, it’ll never work anyway.”
Any of this sound familiar?
These are what’re known as self-limiting beliefs; ideas that become so entrenched within your sense of self and identity that they’ve become part of you. They’re the little voice in the back of your mind that keeps telling you that nothing you do is going to work and that you may as well learn to settle for your life as it is now, because it’s never going to get any better.
I know that voice pretty damn well. When I was younger, I had a group of friends. As with any group, we all had our roles.
I was “the guy who wasn’t good with girls”. I accepted that identity. It became part of who I was. And because I believed it, it became true.
Y’see, when you let negative beliefs like these take root, it starts to spread and influence everything. Every interaction I had with women carried the subtext of “It’s ok if you don’t like me. I wouldn’t like me either if I were you.” It showed in my posture – hunched over, compressed, eyes anywhere but on the person I was talking to. It showed in the way I spoke – too quickly, my voice a little higher than my natural register, sounding as though I were pleading rather than speaking. God knows it showed in my attitudes towards women, equal parts desperation and resentment. The few relationships I did have were unhealthy; either I stayed in relationships that had turned toxic because I didn’t think I could do better or spent my entire time consumed with the idea that at any moment I would get the dreaded “We need to talk…” as my girlfriend realized that she could do better.
Negative beliefs and attitudes become self-fulfilling prophesies because when you give into them, you make them come true. You will see everything in a negative light, missing out on opportunities (or not being willing to take advantage of them) and focusing on the bad. You’re perpetually on the look-out for the next shoe to drop or the next thing to go completely wrong. After a while, you become bitter and resentful of everything. It starts to feel like the universe itself conspires against you. And let me tell you, when you’re walking around with a chip on your shoulder and a little black rain cloud following you, you’re going to chase off people who might well have been attracted to you. And when you do, it becomes further evidence that these beliefs are correct and justified, thus reinforcing them and perpetuating the ugly cycle.
Even your language can reflect this mentality. Take the word “try”. “I’m trying to get better.” “I’m trying to get a date.” Trying implies that failure the inevitable result and any success is, at best, a surprise. To quote one respected philosopher and dating coach: “Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’.”
The first step is to make yourself aware that you’ve accepted these beliefs, that they’re holding you back and they don’t . You need to break yourself of this mindset, and it can be difficult. The longer you’ve held onto it, the more deeply ingrained it can be. If you have any issues with chronic depression, like I did, you may well need medication to help pull you out enough to start taking control again.
So how do you break the habits of years, or even a lifetime?
Well to start with, you change your physicality. Your body influences the brain. Adopt the posture and bearing of someone who not only attracts women but feels as though he deserves to. As I’ve said before, I am a huge proponent of “fake it until you make it.” Putting on the attitude that you’re awesome and you know it, even when it’s a front at first, will help you start you down the right path. Reframe negative thoughts and ideations; when you find yourself thinking “Women don’t like me because…”, stop and force yourself to change it. “Women do like guys like me because…”
The next step can differ from person to person. There’s no one way to break yourself of these beliefs. You may practice relentless positivity. You may use visualization exercises, picturing your ideal self. You may repeat affirmations to yourself. You may take outside supporting evidence of a more positive belief and reinforce it with Grant Morrison’s charged sigil exercises. Find one that works for you and run with it. The sooner you break your negative mentality, the better.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwNVE37BGVE – you’re welcome. [↩]
- ‘cuz if that were true, I would’ve beaten all of you to that particular finishing line… [↩]
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