This post is derived from a question that I answered on Quora.com.
She’s intelligent, sprightly and very beautiful. I feel so happy looking at her eyes, but at the same time I feel a pain in my heart as I cannot tell her about my feelings. She’s gorgeous but I’m average-looking and don’t have 6-pack abs. We both study the same master’s program and seldom speak.
I feel your pain. Before I got married, I had a lot of ups and downs as far as dating goes. I fell in love too easily and often developed unrequited feelings for women. It took many years of personal development and growth before I had the confidence to pursue the woman I wanted.
One thing I want to get out of the way first, YOU ARE NOT IN LOVE WITH THIS WOMAN.
Read that again because I know it sounds shocking but based on the wording of your question, I can absolutely guarantee that YOU ARE NOT IN LOVE WITH THIS WOMAN.
You are in love with the idea of this woman. If you seldom speak, then what you know of her are only surface details. Her eyes, the way she moves or speaks, or just the energy she gives off through the way she carries herself may speak to your own particular sense-of-life, but beyond that it sounds like you barely know her let alone what kind of man she’s attracted to (or even if she is attracted to men at all). I was once in this boat of thinking that I could not get women to like me because I didn’t have the physique or the finances and I did not have any sense of social charisma. I can tell you right now that all of it are self-defeating excuses and lies. It’s bullshit. Continuing to believe in those lies will forever keep you from being able to have any kind of relationship with a woman.
The reason guys like you and I tell ourselves these kinds of lies is that we lack basic confidence in ourselves as people. We keep trying to fit into all of these predefined molds made from the expectations of others and so we fail to understand what we are.
I’m sure someone at some point tried giving you the cliche advice to ‘just be yourself.’ It’s less than useless, right? How can that possibly work if you are convinced that you suck?
So why do you suck, if that is the case?
Are you embarrassed about your passions/hobbies? Don’t be. I read Ayn Rand and enjoy maintaining my ancient Apple IIe computer from the 80’s. Yet I still found love despite the fact that one or both of those would turn most people off. Own whatever it is you love. If it makes her run for the hills, she was never the right one for you anyway. Sure, some of your interests might narrow the pool of potentially interested women, but it will make the quality of selection so much better in terms of compatibility. No one should ever be allowed to make you feel like less of a man because of your values.
Do you have problems with hygiene, body odor, over/underweight? The bad news is that if you have these problems, you have to accept that it is your fault, but the great news is that you can learn to do better. Think of this as an opportunity, not to attract women, but to show yourself some basic self-care and love and respect. Your body is the vessel that houses your mind and your soul. If you want to love yourself fully, show it the care that it deserves. Stop eating crap. Go to your campus fitness center daily, even if you can only squeeze in a few minutes. A crappy workout is better than nothing. Get sleep. Show your body love and you will feel better in it.
Speaking of the physical, one piece of advice I can give is learn to be mindful of your body and its language. This is something I’m still working on as it does not come naturally to me. The next time you’re walking to your classes or the library, think about what you’re looking at. Are your eyes looking at the ground in front of your feet? Then that means you are unintentionally giving off vibes that you are not confident. Try keeping your focus on people’s foreheads instead. Are your shoulders drawn in? Is your head tilted down and forward? Are you hunched forward? Do you find eye contact difficult in conversations? Do any or all of these apply to you? If so, then you are unintentionally giving off the vibe that you are a doormat lacking in self-confidence and/or potentially untrustworthy and/or closed as a person. What you’ve got to do is open your posture. If you have problems with this, I want you to try the following exercise:
- Stand like you would normally.
- Make your hands into loose relaxed fists
- Put your fists together placing the thumbs side-by-side and bring to your chin
- Pretend your fists are bombs and detonate them sending your hands apart.
- Make stupid explodey sounds
- Imagine the force of the small explosion tilting your head back, opening up your shoulders, and lifting your upper back so that your back is straight.
- Try not to laugh but then do so anyway.
The laughter, silliness, and the metaphor of the bomb all serve to help you relax and open up your posture. It may be silly, but it works and I would recommend trying it right before you talk to a woman.
Are you afraid of scaring her off with your lackluster finances? Chances are she’s in the same boat you are given that you are both attending the same master’s program. Even if she’s loaded with cash and you’re not, the right woman isn’t going to let money stand in the way if she finds happiness with you. Aside from women, if you’re not happy with your financial situation, develop a side gig and learn to invest the income from that into assets that yield dividends. If you’ve got a blog following, or a social media following, and produce good content, figure out how you can monetize that through a book, recording, website with premium content, etc. If you don’t, take one of your hobbies/passions (especially if you’re afraid it’s too niche) and learn how to build a business around that as a side gig. If your fine with your financial situation, then it shouldn’t matter to any woman that you want to be with.
Now even after thinking about your physique, finances, and hobbies/passions, you still are afraid that you have nothing to offer her, or that your basic personality is a turn-off, then what you have is a basic issue of self-esteem. Contrary to what you were probably told, self-esteem does not come from others nor from repeated self-affirmation. It is a value that has to be earned. If you do not love yourself, you have to figure out why. In fact, if this is your issue, then you need to forget about the girl for the time being and make this your number one priority. Use your campus counseling services. This is exactly what they are there for. In the meantime, I want you to make a list of at least 10 things that you have actually done in the past year that you are proud of, the more recent the better. It doesn’t matter what it is, claim any victory big or small. Now make a determination to add something to the list each day.
Are you starting to see the picture?
It’s not, “Just be yourself.” It’s, “Become a better version of yourself so that you can love who you really are. You won’t attract every woman, but only the right woman.”
Dude, I seriously hope this helps. I’ve been in your situation and I know how it feels.
Adam Buker is a freelance author living in Springfield, MO. When he’s not writing he’s usually cooking, playing with his kids, making music, taking photos, or otherwise pondering the mysteries of life.