First off, HELLO!! :) To make a little introduction, so you don’t think I’m just some random person hi-jacking the blog, my name is Cait and I just freaking ADORE our girl, Katie, over here. We’ve been friends for years, and she is a person that I can’t tell you how much I admire and respect. Be it laughing or crying, needing support or a vent session, or just a person to act silly with. What’s more, as you can all attest, she’s incredibly perceptive and rocks at giving advice.
Myself, in a nutshell: I’m a writer, artist, and runner. Pretty much sums me up, I have my own blog The Arty Runnerchick where I cover all of that stuff. What I don’t talk about as much is that I also have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and have struggled with plenty of anxiety issues and even depression. Everyone has their own crap and baggage, so the first thing I want to say is that you are NOT alone, and struggling with anxiety and anything else is neither an anomaly nor something to be ashamed of. It’s just more a matter of where on the spectrum of ‘I’m nervous/stressed’ you fall and how you deal and cope with it.
Getting myself back on to the topic of this blog, dating. So if you’re already an anxious person, you can imagine just how much more nervous one gets around anyone you find cute, attractive, or dare we say drop-dead-sexy. I’m just kidding, but feeling nervous and self-conscious about dating is normal for everyone, but it can be down-right torturous if you’re already an anxious person. You may feel like you’re out of your element and have no idea how to act.
Typically a big source of the anxiety is not knowing what the other person is thinking. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that most likely your mind jumps straight to criticizing yourself and assuming the other person couldn’t possible be attracted to you. Heck, your mind is probably much more brutal (if it’s like mine) and could saying something like, “Don’t even try and fool yourself, they probably think you are a freak, weirdo, and have NO interest in you.”
Wow, so NOT supportive, and it’s really sad that that’s how we talk to ourselves. What I’ve had to learn to do is to refute that immediate reaction of, “There’s NO WAY that person likes you.” And that applies even to just people I meet who I want to be friends with, not just dating-wise. We are supposed to be our own biggest supporters, if you don’t like yourself first, other people pick up on that. Confidence is an attractive quality.
It’s tough to un-wire yourself from these critical thought-patterns but the first step is catching yourself when you do it. And I’ll guarantee that once you start REALLY listening for the harsh words you’ll be surprised by how often you tear yourself down. Then tell yourself to STOP being so dang critical.
What really helps me is I try to think of myself as another person I care about and love more than anything in the world, often I picture my sister, and I ask myself if I would ever talk to HER like I’m talking to myself. The answer is quite frankly, “He** no.” So then why do I deserve to have to put up listening to all these hateful words? The answer is I don’t, and YOU don’t. Nobody deserves to that. Well, unless you’re a secret masked murderer or doing some REALLY horrible, which I highly doubt. ;) [Sorry, just so you know, I’m incredibly sarcastic and darn-it, no sarcastic font…]
So in wrapping this first post up, if you’re struggling with wanting to date but have this inner critic telling you that you are “sooo undateable” that’s not right and it’s not fair to yourself. You ARE worthy, and you need to first start treating yourself like you are. That starts with talking yourself UP rather than down.
Interacting, dating, and being around someone you are attracted to is nerve-wrecking for everyone, but to take the edge off of that you’ve got to at least have confidence in yourself. For crying out loud, of COURSE that person wants to get to know you, you’re awesome!! ;) Even if you don’t believe the nice words you tell yourself at first, say them anyways, repeatedly, and eventually they will feel much more believable.
I’m so excited to have this post on the blog! And I especially appreciate the tip to think of how you’d treat someone in your life that you love. Thanks for a great first post!
I was quite honored when I got your message asking to contribute. :) Glad you like that tip, thanks!!
Pingback: Two Truths and a Lie: Running, Endorphins, Depression, and Self-Esteem |
Pingback: Dating, Maybe… | Masochist Musing
Thanks to you both… I’m 30 and dealing with horrible dating anxiety right now… always comes up around date 5, when I actually start to feel something. I just don’t know how to get out of all the negativity I feel towards myself, the repeating thoughts, etc. but it helps to hear that others had it and overcame it.
Oh, hang in there Angel! Anxiety is something SO MANY of us deal with and as for those negative thoughts, start refuting them and believing you are worthy of being loved and cared for…because you are!
It’s easy to, at times, feel like you’re missing some big, obvious, key that everyone else has to staying calm and positive. When, really, it’s just a lot of small steps continually taken over and over. Plus, remember that even the most “together” people can be beating themselves up internally for one thing or another.
Every day I have to remind myself to be grateful or to stay in the moment. It’s constant, but the more I practice the easier it seems to get over the years.
Pingback: Table For Four: Ditching the judging, critical, killjoy | The Anxious Girl's Guide to Dating