Fake it until you make it, or try to make it?
A while back, my gym was closed for a day due to excessive heat. I expressed my frustration to a friend of mine, commenting that I didn't want to miss the chance to work out, since I'm already a miserable failure at dating and the last thing I wanted to do was put on more weight and be even more unappealing. His response was that my problem wasn't my appearance, but my lack of confidence, and that i should be confident about the things I've achieved, like having a good job or owning a home.
Sometimes I look at my accomplishments, and thing that i have achieved a lot and should be a catch. But if I look closer, it's pretty obvious that the things I pretend are a big deal really aren't. Yes, I have a job, but unemployment is less than 10%, which means 90% of people have a job. Yes, i own a house, but so do over 67% of Americans.. Yes, I have a graduate degree, but so do 9% of Americans - and many of them probably have them in much more rigorous fields than business.
I feel like there are two ways to be confident - you can either convince yourself that you are successful and should be proud of yourself, or you can actually do things that make you proud of yourself - in other words, you can fake it or you can make it. The reality is that when I look in the mirror, I see more Chris Farley than Bradd Pitt - I see a short, borderline overweight guy with spindly arms. I figure until I'm able to change that, until I'm able to look in the mirror and like what i see, I'm not going to be confident - and once I do I won't need to.
The problem is I'm not very successful at turning myself into someone I'm happy with. I typically work out 2 hours a day, but still don't look good. I guess either I just don't work out hard enough or do the right things, or it's still not enough, or I need to change my diet more, or I'm genetically predisposed to having lots of belly and little muscle.
On one hand, I think that if I put all my free time into either working out or making money, I might become attractive enough or wealthy enough for a woman to be interested in me. After all, most women want to have kids, so they want a guy who can provide for them, and is attractive enough to pass good genes on to their kids.
But the problem with this is that if I spend all my time on those things, I tend to become even more introverted, and to have less activities outside work and working out to have in common or to interest a potential mate
The one thing that puzzles me about the whole confidence thing is that when I do online dating, I've tried to make my profiles as positive as possible - to not mention my insecurities, or this blog, or my odd hobbies that involve buying and reselling crap. I've got pictures that show me in a decent light (no shirtless and/or bathroom mirror pics, ect). But I don't get responses when I email women. Since they haven't met me in person or even talked to me, it can't be the obvious lack of confidence things - the not looking at, the mumbling, the umms - which means in addition to not being confident enough, I'm also not attractive or interesting or rich enough. I know some people will say that that's just because online dating sucks, but I know plenty of people it's worked for - which means the problem must be something that's wrong with me.
And then there is counterintuitive stuff, like this OKCUPID analysis of successful messages which shows that guys who are self-effacing in their messages are more successful. Which is pretty much the opposite of everything else I've ever heard of anywhere.
As far as confidence itself, i think it's overrated - I really feel annoyed when I read articles like this one which says that if you are a shy guy, you "haven't met your emotional needs and couldn't possibly meet anyone else's". Really? I'm not confident because women don't seem interested in me - on the rare occasions where one seems like they might be, I feel a lot better about myself. And when guys like me are nervous/tongue-tied/ect, it's because they are genuinely interested in someone and are trying to not screw it up. You know what women I feel least nervous around? The ones i have no interest in dating, either because they are in a relationship or because I'm not attracted to them - because I don't really care if they like me. So if you are a women and a guy acts like he doesn't care if you like him, chances are it's because he doesn't. Guys who act confident often act that way because they are cocky jerks - the reality is that there is often no actual link between how successful a person is and how successful they think they are, and confidence is usually based on the latter.
So what does this all mean? I'm not sure. I guess it means I'm where I've been for a long time - alone, and with no idea what's wrong with me, with what I need to do to change it.