I have confidence in confidence alone.
- Fraulein Maria, The Sound of Music
How can you not have confidence in Fraulein Maria? If she could face the Captain, seven kids, the Nazi occupation of Austria, and win so gloriously, how hard can it be to pick up that guy from Accounting or that adorable doofus down the hall?
Gee thanks, you say. Nothing like a little extra “look what SHE did” pressure to make it really difficult to succeed.
We all have confidence issues, most of us erring on the “lack” side of the equation. But it may seem some people have more than they need. Don’t be fooled. It’s called overcompensating. A random few have it just right. So how do they do it? Let’s take a few tips from Fraulein Maria.
The upshot of confidence in dating is the following: don’t be needy. Neediness and confidence NEVER balance. But don’t take my word for it, let’s take this to the Fraulein.
First things first: inventory. It’s imperative to know that you have something to “bring to the table” as they say. To feel you don’t is to put you into the “needy” category. Men can smell neediness from miles away; but unlike poop and flies, neediness has the opposite effect on men unless they are scum looking for a booty call. In which case you will be right up their alley for about, oh, two minutes.
1.Know Who You Are
Do your reconnaissance. Know what your strengths are and be honest about them. Don’t have any? If you really believe that, you need more help than this article can provide.
Don’t be coy. There is nothing wrong with knowing where you shine. We have raised self-deprecation to an art form. Yes, I paint, but I suck at it <nervous laugh>. Gak. Works well for comedy routines, not so great for real life.
Fraulein Maria plays guitar, sings, has a joy of life, crazy capricious postulant that she was. She worked with her strengths to draw out the children and eventually win the Captain.
I hate using the word “weakness” except when it applies to my coffee.
We all have limitations. Some limitations can be overcome, some cannot. Fraulein Maria was very impetuous which caused bit of grief when she decided to parade the kids about town in the curtains. Clearly one of her strengths was being able to make patterns and sew. She is who she is.
One could say she was impulsive, one could say she was a problem solver. It’s all a question of perspective. Find something positive in your limitations while facing their obvious deficits.
Think that guy is perfect? Too good for you? Think again. Most of us, not counting my brother, are human and therefore fallible.
2.Accept Who You Are
If you are self-conscious about your height or weight, there is only so much which can be done. But ask yourself first: do you believe people judge you only based on externals?
Oh alright, people DO judge. And they judge based on some things outside your control. So let’s step back a minute and ponder success stories in the world.
Can you say “Oprah”? A woman of size. Very successful. Renee Zellwegger. Not what you would call tall. Madonna? Any art student will tell you she’s not terribly pretty. There are too many successful people who have just such “flaws”.
If you feel your weight is an issue, identify strategies to remedy the situation. If you feel you are lacking in knowledge in certain areas, educate yourself. If you think you’re too short or too tall, not much can be done there beyond clever accessories, or very painful and expensive surgery not recommended by this article (or the human dictating to the cat typing it).
Confidence does not come from outside. We say that but we don’t feel it. We need to remind ourselves that confidence is internal. If we can tackle the external issues which trouble us, or recognize what is beyond our control, then we can move forward making us more confident and less needy when it comes to finding that right (or right-for-now) guy.
For example, your intrepid author here knows she is short and could lose 19 pounds (not to put too fine a point on it). Sure, I have wrinkles. One side of my face is totally lop-sided from having oral surgery which damaged a few nerves. Oh well. I still fill a room and for some crazy reason people still invite me out. I don’t dwell on my wrinkly crooked face and floopy post-partum tummy except anecdotally. If I let them burden me, they will. I am more than the sum of my parts (goodness knows I weigh more than they do…oops, did I say that?).
This is all irrelevant though. Yeah, someday I’ll lose 19 pounds. Or not. The important thing is that I enjoy life, who I am, what I do. Law of Attraction dictates that my self-acceptance will be attractive to other similarly whole individuals.
Do you seek out snivelling self-loathing creatures? Needy men? Of course not.
3.Be Who You Are
You must know who you are, be honest about who you are, and then be that person. You needn’t change yourself if you are shy. Be shy. If you are a loud party girl, and that suits you best. Do it. Be who you are. Wild and crazy? Shy? Bookish? Silly? You cannot attract, or even seek, the right person if you are not honest with yourself about who you are.
Fraulein Maria, my hero (as you are figuring out by now) was a simple postulant, shy when the situation was sexually charged, not up for a battle with the Baroness. But she assessed. She temporarily withdrew from the conflict to see yes, she wanted to be back with the family. She loved them. When it was clear the Baroness was the future bride, she squared her shoulders, and rather than cry and beg and declare her love for the Captain, Maria graciously withdrew. Ultimately her quiet resolve, her inner strength (and her cute, totally manageable pixie cut) won the day. She didn’t size up the Baroness and attempt to emulate her in an effort to win over the Captain. She remained true to who she was.
The Baroness did not win the Captain for two reasons:
1) The obvious: she was the right fit for the Captain (and the narrative arc of the film);
2) She needed to be needed on a materialistic level. And she needed someone to be dependent on her because, one could imply, she lacked the confidence that someone would stay with her for herself. She needed her money and social position for the glue. A relationship based on neediness only works when both people are complementarily needy. The will only be sought for her money and that great hourglass figure. Oddly enough, she accepted that; but to give her props, she is self-aware on that point. She will succeed. No shortage of anyone, male or female, seeking money and looks as a substitute for a loving partner.
Maria didn’t “need” the Captain to fill the gaps in her life. Her life was full. She wanted the Captain, he wanted her. She had enough strength NOT to “need” the Captain (“you complete me” BARF). The Captain was drawn to Maria because she was a complete fully individuated woman with skills, happiness, warmth, and a four-octave range. She had confidence. He was drawn to her. She didn’t have the money, height or figure of the Baroness. She was attractive to the Captain for herself although an uncharitable outsider may have said “but she is short, flat-chested, and badly dressed”.
4.Walk The Walk
Not quite there yet? Try walking The Walk. Don’t swagger. Swagger is a dead giveaway. Swagger says “I’m not confident, I’m projecting cockiness.” If you feel inadequate in a certain situation, remember that many of your perceived limitations are things which are only apparent or important to you. Sometimes you just have to take that existential leap that you are just as you should be. Take that chance, then chin up, shoulders back and walk with confidence.
If you walk hunched and cringing, people will perceive you as being worthy of it and respond accordingly. If you carry yourself well, people will sense confidence and be drawn to it and treat you with better deference. So if you do nothing else today, take time today to catch yourself slouching. Correct it instantly. Square your shoulders. Chin up. Posture does wonders. Treat yourself as though you are worthy (and by the way, you are).
Walk the walk and the talk may follow. And if it doesn’t, at least your back will thank you.
Besides which you see I have confidence in me!