For dating, confidence is key and one of the best ways to get that confidence is to live an authentic life. This means ditching the obsession of worrying about what others think, and getting comfortable with being who you want to be. This ultimately attracts people who like you for being you.
“Wait But Why” has an excellent post dealing with exactly this. It calls that obsession a “Social Survival Mammoth” and introduces the notion of a “Puppet Master”:
a person or group of people whose opinion matters so much to you that they’re essentially running your life. A Puppet Master is often a parent, or maybe your significant other, or sometimes an alpha member of your group of friends.
We crave the Puppet Master’s approval more than anyone’s, and we’re so horrified at the thought of upsetting the Puppet Master or feeling their nonacceptance or ridicule that we’ll do anything to avoid it.
It contrasts this with your “Authentic Voice” that:
knows how you feel deep down about things like money and family and marriage, and it knows which kinds of people, topics of interest, and types of activities you truly enjoy, and which you don’t.
The post explains why listening to the Mammoth and Puppet Masters – instead of your Authentic Voice (AV) – is so dangerous:
When you don’t know who you are, … instead of digging deep into the foggy center of what you really believe in to find clarity, you’ll look to others for the answers. Who you are becomes some blend of the strongest opinions around you.
Losing touch with your AV also makes you fragile, because when your identity is built on the approval of others, being criticized or rejected by others really hurts.
It describes ways to identify the obsessive thoughts that are running your life, by looking for these clues:
1. where your fear is — where are you most susceptible to shame or embarrassment? What parts of your life do you think about and a dreadful, sinking feeling washes over you? Where does the prospect of failure seem like a nightmare? … If you were giving advice to yourself, which parts of your life would clearly need a change that you’re avoiding acting on right now?
2. the way-too-good feelings you get from feeling accepted … Are you a serious pleaser at work or in your relationship? Are you terrified of disappointing your parents and do you choose making them proud over aiming to gratify yourself?
3. anywhere you don’t feel comfortable making a decision without “permission” or approval from others.
The post concludes with why it’s important to listen to your authentic voice, and be who you want to be, rather than being a people-pleaser:
Being approved of by one type of person means turning another off. So obsessing over fitting in with any one group is illogical, especially if that group isn’t really who you are. You’ll do all that work, and meanwhile, your actual favorite people are off being friends with each other somewhere else.
You can start to relish the feeling of being viewed as weird or inappropriate or confusing to people, and society becomes your playground and blank canvas, not something to grovel before and hope for acceptance from.
Ultimately, the “Wait But Why” post talks about being more secure in who you are and reducing your anxiety levels. This lets you live a more fulfilling life and also makes dating much easier.
Until next time my friends, keep dating!