Time was once when the very thought of talking to a girl, not even necessarily a hot girl, would fill me with anxiety and dread. Waves of nerves, bordering on panic, would sweep through me, sweat would spring out of the pores on my hands, and a thick fog would descend over my brain. I was far too petrified to even contemplate approaching, and I never did, unless I’d had a skinful and managed to dampen down that pesky frontal lobe.
As I gained in confidence and stature, the feelings lessened, but only around girls who I considered to be at or lower than my own perceived level. Any thoughts of approaching a girl who I genuinely thought was in a league above my own would instantly bring back the crippling anxiety.
I used to berate myself inwardly for being a pussy, a wimp. What kind of guy did I call myself. Man up, you fanny. Take charge. Force the nerves away, stamp them out, squash them ruthlessly.
None of it worked. It just made it worse. I eventually ended up dreading the onset of the dread, and managed to neatly create a cyclical self-fulfilling prophecy in my mind.
Fast forward to today. I’m stood on the platform in rush hour at a tube station. There’s a cute girl stood next to me, there are scores of other people all stood in silence. Everyone will be able to hear anything I say. The notion to say something to her enters my mind, and a wave of anxiety washes up from my stomach. Except this time, I welcome it. I feel it spreading throughout me, my heart race increase, and I smile, just letting it exist. Observing it from afar, amused at my body’s own reaction to the situation, but making no attempt whatsoever to crush it. I accept that I am afraid. I accept that I am not perfect, that this kind of thing makes me nervous. And with the acceptance, its power over me diminishes. It doesn’t go away, but it feels almost like it’s happening to someone else.
All of this flashes through me in a second. I turn to her and start speaking. Some moments I am calm, other moments I am surfing a wave of anxiety. I accept either state. Neither one is better than the other, they just are. I use attention training to keep my focus on the interaction, and my mind remains clear, uninhibited by the dreaded fog that can leave us mute when it matters most. The girls face lights up, attraction writ large across her features. Everyone is listening to me. I don’t care.
The key to a lot of this self-improvement and pickup malarkey is to just accept yourself as you are. Embrace your weaknesses, acknowledge them and allow them to exist. Don’t necessarily engage with them, but just permit them to be there. By trying to crush these feelings down, all you will do is give them more power over you, and stifle yourself.
Don’t fight it. Just roll with the punches. When you accept that something is the way it is, and you can’t change it, it loses power over you.