When it comes to dating, poor self-esteem is a number one cause of having difficulties around dating and consequently forming unhealthy relationships. Dating and relationship coach and CBT Therapist Ivana Franekova knows all about the pitfalls of low self-confidence in dating situations. As a resident therapist for the largest matchmaking group in the UK, she coaches clients through fears and self-doubts on daily basis.
If you don’t feel good about yourself, you will attract those that are not worthy of you. It’s not unusual to fall for someone who might even treat you badly, thus confirming your own belief of worthlessness.
Self-esteem takes time and hard work to develop. It doesn’t bring results overnight; it is a process. Having a healthy image of what self-esteem is and feels like and what it can do for our dating and relationships is the first step towards healthy confidence.
Of course, high self-esteem and healthy confidence alone do not guarantee a happy relationship; but they do equip you with important life skills to identify what you deserve and not to settle for less than what you deserve. It also gives you the strength to walk away from a relationship that isn’t right for you.
So let’s talk about 5 things you can do right now to boost your confidence in dating.
- Do not analyse if your date likes you- assume he or she does.
People with high self-esteem automatically assume they are worthy of love and project that feeling and energy onto others. They go on a date for themselves, and not to impress others. They will be themselves, they won’t pretend they are someone they’re not. On a date, they are curious, respectful and maintain a ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude throughout. When you assume someone likes you (or you do not care whether someone likes you or not because you know you are likeable), you will not get stressed or weighed down by unnecessary fears in dating scenarios. You will be relaxed and your date will be drawn to your attitude.
- Confident people set healthy boundaries.
Healthy personal boundaries and high self-esteem go hand in hand. Having strong boundaries means you prioritize your needs and your emotions and do not assume responsibility for someone else’s needs.
- Confident people master the skill of ‘listening’.
The secret of great communicators is their listening ability. If you’re worried about what to talk about on the date, simply listen to what he or she is saying, pick something out from their last sentence and say something like: ‘Skiing, I’ve never tried that before. Tell me more about it’.
As a rule, people love to talk about themselves and normally don’t need much encouragement. What’s more, your date will LOVE you because you’re making them feel special by putting them in a spotlight. Master the listening skill and you will be admired and respected on your dates.
- Confident people don’t lose themselves in a relationship.
They know what they will and will not accept and they won’t allow themselves to be pressured or quilted into doing things they don’t want to do. They act in accordance with ‘doing what fits with the highest version of themselves’. They don’t change their behaviour for a partner, or do things solely to keep him interested and happy. When you have weak boundaries, you may put up with treatment that you know is unacceptable. Confident people bring their fully formed self into the relationship and if their partner wants something else, they leave.
- Confident people know if the date didn’t go well; it’s because it wasn’t right, not because they did something wrong.
Not everyone is a match and sometimes, two people are just incompatible. This doesn’t make either of them flawed or bad – sometimes the spark is missing. Confident people don’t take it personally when their date doesn’t call or text them again. They realize it wasn’t the right match for them and move on with their sense of self firmly intact.
When a person is insecure and their date does not get in touch again (or keeps very sporadic contact), they spiral. They obsess, analyse and replay every bit of a conversation that went on in an attempt to uncover what they did wrong. Self- blame and feelings of worthlessness will inevitably follow. This is the worst thing you can do to yourself; accept it simply wasn’t meant to be and move on- each failed date brings you one step closer to your future partner!
Ivana Franekova is an established Harley Street Life Coach & CBT Therapist with over 14 years of experience.
Her main areas of focus are confidence, self-esteem issues, anxiety, stress, communication skills and transactional analysis.