Dear Dr. Darcy:
I have been single for over a year and I’m not having luck finding a girlfriend. The last woman I dated was very critical of me, mostly of my appearance. Now her words echo in my mind whenever I’m out and I think that they get in the way of my ability to meet women. Some of what she said was right. I’m not hot, I’m definitely not beautiful. I’ve gained weight and I could probably lose 10-15 pounds. My clothes aren’t great either. I don’t even know where to start to improve my appearance. Can you help?
Let’s start at the top and work our way down…By top, I mean your head. That’s where the majority of your problem is. It’s an absence of confidence. You bought into the ex’s criticisms, which you would have been immune to if you had had a stronger sense of self. That her words resonated with you is indicative that your insecurity pre-dated the ex. I want you to understand this because so often people blame their issues on other people and on outside factors when in fact their problems were with them all along, even if only dormant.
Confidence is vital to the type of life that we design for ourselves. It determines our standards for ourselves and for every aspect of our lives, from our physical appearance to our choice of partner(s), to where we live, to how we live, to what our home looks like, to who our friends are, to how we spend our free time, to the type of job we seek, to the amount of money we amass, to our relationships with family members. It’s all driven by confidence, which is often (but not always) correlated with our self-esteem.
I want to talk about the ‘not always’ cases… We’ve all seen them. In fact, we know people like this. I had a friend who one day, seemingly out of nowhere, decided to lose 15 lbs. In 3 months she was in a new body. The weight loss wasn’t preempted by therapy or by a sudden spike in self-esteem ~ she just decided to lose weight. She essentially ‘faked’ higher standards for herself. And what followed was an authentic shift (upwards) in her confidence. You’ve heard the term 'fake it until you make it'? It’s no joke.
Being hot has virtually nothing to do with physical appearance. It’s all about confidence. If you’re waiting to feel better on the inside to change how you look on the outside, you’ll be waiting a long time. Internal change takes years. But while you’re working on the inside, engage in a few fake it till you make it behaviors. Take the time to pick out a thoughtful outfit. Just for today, eat some fruit – not because it will slim your tush, but because it’s healthy for you. When you go out this weekend, determine to exude confidence to everyone around you. Make eye contact with people as you walk into the restaurant/bar/club [insert your hangout here]. Speak in a more energetic voice. Use humor as an icebreaker.
The single most attractive feature, in any person, is their level of confidence. Dial it up too high and you’re looking at an asshole. Dial it too low and you’re looking at a lonely person. I suggest that you play around with your dial until you find the right volume. You’ll know you’ve gotten it right when one of two things happens: You attract a nice, healthy person, or you find yourself alone and content with it.