Confidence builders

This section gives you some ideas about how you can go about building your confidence. For more in-depth suggestions about building confidence and getting ready to venture into the dating world, see Chapter 3.

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1 Catalog traits you like about yourself. Start with a pencil and paper and write down the things you like best about yourself. Be specific: No sentences like "I'm really a nice person" — what does that mean? It may mean that you're really good to animals, handle a calculator like you were born with it in your hand, make a mean burrito for your friends, have a great singing voice, or always clean your plate. So if you mean that you don't fly off the handle every time something goes wrong, write that. The more specific the items, the better for confidence building.

1 Help someone else. The ability to do something for someone else builds confidence because not only does the person you help say thank you and appreciate what you did for him, but he appreciates you in the process. So if you feel your confidence is a bit too soggy for serious interaction with the opposite sex, do someone a favor, find a volunteer activity, or deal with kids (so you can feel more powerful). The other terrific advantage of volunteer work is that you're not locked in: You can feel good quickly and not feel like you have to stay doing something forever.

Keeping some do-good stuff in your life is a way to be connected and keep a balance in your life, as well as maintain good feelings about yourself and the world at large.

1 Try a challenging activity. Try doing something you didn't think you could do. Even if you don't do a great job, you'll feel much better about yourself when you try something really difficult. Even succeeding at something easy often doesn't feel as good as attempting something hard. And if you succeed at the hard stuff? Well, gangbusters!

It is actually okay to feel a sense of accomplishment by doing something you know you can do. It's a good start for confidence. Just as feelings of incompetence seem to spread, so, too, can the more positive feelings. So get out there and get started.

Continue reading here: When youre confident enough to date

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