Confidence – if you have it, nothing else matters. If you don’t, nothing else matters. But how does a normal person with the normal number of self-doubts, life failures, and inadequacies date in a way that radiates self-confidence? Dr. Stuart Fischer shares his thoughts…
Self-confidence is the feeling that you can accomplish something that might be challenging or impossible for others. It is based on prior successes, but it also comes from overcoming occasional setbacks. In fact, learning from negative experiences is a useful tool that enhances rather than weakens self-confidence. Think of all the times a baseball star doesn’t hit a home run, an operatic tenor can’t hit a high note, or an actor stars in a mediocre movie. They don’t give up, they merely try again.
The legendary humanistic psychologist Dr. Stanley Krippner makes an important distinction between self-esteem and self-confidence. “Self-esteem reflects what you think and feel about yourself. It is more open to self-deception because it might be based on inflated personal myths rather than actual experiences. Self-confidence reflects what you think and feel about your abilities.” It’s a waste of time to figure out why your self-confidence may be imperfect. It’s time well-spent to work on improving this crucial quality.
When you go on a date, especially for the first time with someone new, self-confidence will be as important a part of a “first impression” as what you are wearing. With that in mind, here are some ways to radiate self-confidence, so that your date feels that he or she is also very special.
1) Learn how to walk with self-confidence. In the weeks or days prior to your date, spend some time watching people walk down the street. Who among them would make a good role model for you? A successful, well-dressed businessman? An athletic-appearing person strolling rather than jogging? Pick someone out, stay about 20-feet behind them, and try to copy their walk. Notice the posture, stride, fluidity of motion-and try to copy it. After a while, turn around and wait for another seemingly self-confident individual, then mimic their walk as well. You may find that you are thinking more positively as well, since improved physicality can often improve our emotions. When you meet your date, this is the way you should walk, especially when greeting them for the first time.
2) Remind yourself of tasks that you have mastered, using these as a springboard for self-confidence in new surroundings. “I was able to give a speech in class last week, so talking with someone attractive will be much easier and enjoyable.” “I’m a creative graphic designer, a unique talent, and I need to radiate the same confidence in an intimate social setting.”
3) Speak less than usual; let your body language (sitting “tall”, maintaining eye-contact, smiling) be evidence of self-confidence, not any self-serving statements.
4) All of the components of image need to be attended to (hair, skincare, clothing etc..) but none should detract from your projection of self-confidence. Truly self-confident people will, in fact, turn the conversation around so that the other individual is in the spotlight-a highly flattering and charming way of impressing your date. Simply put: whatever your strengths, focus on someone else, a nice of way of saying “I’m not the center of attention, you are.” This is quite easy for self-confident people and is an interpersonal skill that yields excellent results.
5) Be familiar with topics of conversation, areas of mutual interest, or defining characteristics of your date before you meet, as well as the restaurant menu or movie or neighborhood where you will be meeting. Conversely, don’t arrive without having any idea what to talk about, at least initially. You’ll appear much more self-confident if you are well-prepared. And take the time to be well-prepared visually. Choosing the right outfit might take a considerable amount of time, but it is time well-spent.
6) Your self-confidence reflects your accomplishments and sense of pride, and so does your physical health. People who have neglected their appearance by gaining excess weight and avoiding daily exercise might give the impression, right or wrong, of poor self-esteem and impaired self-care. Security in a relationship depends in part on how much each individual cares about himself or herself, not the other person. And if someone is not motivated to take care of his or her own health, a potential new friend might wonder how he or she is capable of caring about them.
7) Self-confidence can only come through positive and negative learning experiences. “Try, try again” is something we are taught from childhood-and it is certainly an appropriate statement to remember if you are trying to find a special someone to share time, feelings, and perhaps your life with. “Practice makes perfect” so don’t waste time berating yourself or making yourself depressed if a date is something less than special. On the contrary, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and immediately make plans for the next time, reviewing the information and exercises we have discussed.
Self-confidence is perpetuated and strengthened by resilience. The most difficult challenges of life are those where temporary failure is indeed a possibility. But learning to move forward with added wisdom and insight makes self-confidence the extraordinarily important character trait that it is-and one that you can start developing right now.
Now, in his 30th year as a practicing physician, Dr. Fischer has been a featured guest on numerous television, radio and Internet shows, including The Early Show, FOX and Friends, Inside Edition, CNN American Morning, Good Day New York, CBS2’s Healthwatch, The Montel Williams Show and WebMD. For five years, he served as the host of Vital Signs, the popular weekly series on New York’s WEVD-FM, in which he answered call-in questions for thousands of listeners.
He has recently launched The Park Avenue Diet Show with Dr. Stuart Fischer on WOR Radio in New York City.
A graduate of Yale University, Dr. Fischer completed his residency in internal medicine at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y. and served as an attending physician in the emergency room of Cabrini Medical Center in Manhattan for four years. He also worked with the late Dr. Robert Atkins as the associate medical director of The Atkins Center. For more information on Dr. Fischer, please go to: www.parkavenuediet.com.
Check out our article on Why You Should Care About Your Self-Esteem