Posted in Self Esteem, Self Help

The Confidence Gap

Yes I have one. A big gap in my thinking. I spoke the other day about lack of confidence in my datability. I have always had these hang-ups but once I met the wife and it was clear that we were for the long-term and had even possibly both met our soul-mates in our first relationship, it became far less of an issue and then later on, a completely irrelevant issue. And then it all went so wrong and I found myself lost and confused, a single man in his late 30s feeling destined to be on the shelf forever.

Of course regular readers will know of my life-long self-esteem problems and what I have done about it. The book has worked – mostly. There is still that one area that it has not been able to crack. This is because I have had no prior experience to draw on. There are no previous girlfriends… no dates where I can look back and think “she fancied me”, “she asked me out”, “I was with such and such for X amount of years and she was crazy about me”. Challenging negative self perceptions as through the method of Melanie Fennell relies, quite reasonably, on remembering past experiences and pushing forward the little victories in life. As I have none for this particular issue, I have been unable to stop thinking of myself as undateable, ugly, too different to ever find another relationship.

I said at the end of that last post that I need to see myself as a good catch before anybody will want to go on a date with me and I cannot see myself as a good catch until somebody does want to go on a date with me – lack of confidence in one’s abilities is a vicious cycle.

So I have decided that this cycle needs to be broken from the inside. I’m obviously not going to get lots of dates with a snap of the fingers so I need help in the confidence department.

I’ve spent the last few days looking for books on building self-confidence. Most are woolly-thinking affairs that focus on (what I consider) the thin veneer of “positive thinking” or absurd new-age junk like The Secret. This approach has never done anything for me. You can’t force yourself to see the positives when you feel your world is falling apart around you. And as I have a scientific mind the only way I could think positively is to confront the evidence for my thinking and challenge it along the lines of a critical evaluation. This is the approach that works for me.

After several hours of scouring psychology messageboards and book reviews, I came across a book called The Confidence Gap by Dr. Russ Harris. It was the most intriguing and this review swayed me to buy it. He is also the author of the highly acclaimed The Happiness Trap.

So here we are. My second self-help book. I don’t expect to be “cured” of this any more than I expected to never to feel stupid or that I’m not good enough ever again but this is another challenge to face up to, another life-obstacle to be overcome and though these issues might never go away, I want to live as productive and as happy as life as I possibly can.

Aside from the relationship hang-ups I lack confidence in other areas too. I haven’t taken some life opportunities because I’ve been convinced that I couldn’t do it. I haven’t pushed myself or I’ve waited too long to get a leg up in life. I can’t live like this any more.

Game on…



I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

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