For the longest time I always wondered why all the guys I liked didn’t like me and why only guys I didn’t like liked me. It was really uncanny how it worked out; it was like there was a tangible barrier between me and any guy I was remotely interested in. Yet I was a magnet for countless guys I was completely uninterested in. I couldn’t make sense of it. I was the same person, so what was the variable here?
For a while, I was convinced it was God’s way of telling me I was meant to be forever alone. But could it really be some act of cosmic sadism that my love life was hopeless?
Nope. The problem was me.
When I was around a guy I was interested in, I exalted him to such a level that I became insecure of myself. I became self-conscious, unconfident, and uncomfortable. I spent so much time tailoring my own words and actions that all I paid attention to was whether each movement he made and word he spoke meant he approved. I spent so much time micro-managing myself, I couldn’t think about the person I was with.
On the other hand, I was myself around the guys I wasn’t romantically interested in. I was relaxed, confident, comfortable. There was no caution. I wasn’t thinking about myself. I was thinking about the person I was with. And isn’t that what friends are supposed to be doing anyway? Just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company?
I was stuck in this mindset that if a guy didn’t like me, I was at fault and had to change. I was using another person’s approval as a benchmark against which to determine my own identity. I didn’t have the confidence that I was good enough. I don’t know why I didn’t figure this out sooner.
Confidence. Confidence was the variable.
So if I ever wanted others to love me, I had to love myself. Unconditionally. (Sorry for the cliche). I needed to toss the idea that I wasn’t good enough. That I had to seek approval. That another person would already have the upper hand before I even introduced myself. Why was I ingratiating myself to another person? What made him so special? Why could I never see myself as equal?
Once I realized that one person’s approval didn’t and shouldn’t change how I think about myself, I felt enlightened. Empowered. Emboldened. And I guess it showed. The curse was lifted. The stars aligned in my favor. I was immune to the fear of rejection. And ironically, my newfound disregard for caution made rejection far, far less common. I started finding myself with as much success as I could ever ask for.
It took me until my senior year of high school to figure this out: the only approval that matters is the approval you have of yourself. If a guy doesn’t like you for you, then he isn’t for you. And that’s okay.