Lack of confidence is often mentioned in dating and relationships issues. Difficulties with confidence indeed affect all the stages of a relationship, from the first hello to “I do” and beyond.
The good news is that confidence issues can be overcome.
You know that you can learn to ride a bike, play the piano, or speak a foreign language if you want to, but do you know that confidence – just like any other skill or quality – can also be learned?
Learning to be confident in order to speak and act from a confident state of mind requires a little bit of theoretical knowledge, a set of effective practices tailored to your situation, and the commitment to daily effort - just like it would be for learning… to play the piano.
I think that there are two kinds of confidence, and identifying the one that needs development is the key first step to address confidence issues:
- Skill-based confidence:
When we know how to do something reasonably well, we feel confident about our ability to perform that skill. On the other hand, if we repeatedly fail at a certain endeavor, our confidence that we can succeed in that specific activity takes a hit. Methodically learning the desired skill and becoming competent at it will most likely resolve this kind of confidence issue.
Although dating and relationships are perceived as things that we’re supposed to be able to do instinctively, they actually are skills - pretty complex sets of skills at that.
Some people are naturally good at dating and relationships – just like some people are naturally good at singing or playing music (other complex sets of skills) – whereas others need to carefully learn and practice these skills for a while in order to become competent and effective. Nothing wrong with that.
- Self-based confidence:
When we know deep down that we can overcome difficulties and learn new skills if we want to, we feel confident in ourselves. On the other hand, when we interpret a lack of competence or even a failure as being defective as a human being, we lose our sense of self-confidence. Losing touch with our self-confidence has dramatic consequences that permeate all areas of life and deeply affect our ability to relate well to others. Developing our self-confidence is absolutely essential to be successful in dating and relationships.
Self-confidence is hardwired in our spirit. Unfortunately, personality of origin, family/culture of origin and individual circumstances and experiences can affect it negatively, sometimes to the point where it feels that it’s been completely destroyed.
Self-confidence can be reclaimed - in the same way that a new competence can be learned - with adequate knowledge, effective daily practices, and commitment to diligent work.
How do confidence issues affect your dating and relationships?