A Therapist Reveals Her Top Hack For Dating With Confidence

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When we talk about "The One", it's normally in terms of trying to find someone else. We search for "The One", we hope for "The One", we go out of our way to find "The One". But implicit in all of this is a sense that we need to look, that we need to make ourselves ready, that we are the ones doing the searching. What we don't think about is who we are. We don't see ourselves as "The One", the right one, or the deserving one. And that can have a huge affect on our dating lives — and our relationships with ourselves.

Marisa Peer, one of the UK's top therapists, says the vast majority of her clients struggle with a lack of self-love or low self-esteem — they struggle to see themselves as "The One". And modern technologies and social media has only made this more difficult.

"Social media has made us all feel inadequate," Peer tells Bustle. "People post unrealistic pictures of themselves and their lives and we are all exposed to, what I label, fake images of perfection." It can make us feel like we're not enough.

But in order to approach the dating scene with the right attitude — it's so crucial to shift your perspective and build your confidence. If you start seeing yourself as "The One" then a whole lot of possibilities open up around you. It's important to feel like you're looking for someone who deserves to be with you, just as much as the other way around. It's not about believing in "The One" or soulmates or actually thinking there is one person out there for you — whether or not you think that is kind of irrelevant. In fact, whether you want you actually want to date at all is irrelevant. It's about so much more than dating. This is just about knowing your worth — and being able to present yourself with confidence.

The Pressure On Women To Settle Down

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There's a societal slant working against women, when it comes to feeling deserving and having self-confidence in dating. Society celebrates the bachelor and pillories the older single woman. Women are presented with a unique pressure to settle down, to find someone — and, as we get older, it can feel like there's pressure to find anyone. Plus, online dating can knock a person's self-esteem, because all of that swiping, ghosting, and people just fading out can feel like dozens of little rejections all the time.

Peer points to dating trends like "ghosting" and "freezing", these little ways that online dating makes us treat each other like we're disposable. As she explains, it's easy to feel fragile and disposable if you're constantly bombarded with little rejections — especially for women.

Between society's pressure on women to settle down and the difficulties of modern dating, it's easy to feel frustrated or not good enough. But viewing yourself as "The One" means holding out, being willing to wait for the kind of relationship you really deserve.

How To Build Confidence When You're Dating

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But building confidence when it comes to dating isn't always easy. If you've been single for a long time, if you've had a bad breakup, a cringeworthy first date, even if life has just pretty effing difficult recently — there are so many things that can throw your confidence for a loop. So how do you build it back up? Peer has some insight into what people can do to raise their confidence and start to think of themselves as "The One" — and it starts with a very simple step: telling yourself you are.

"Start wiring this very important message — 'I Am Enough' — into yourself by writing it everywhere and making it a statement of truth."

"Start wiring this very important message — 'I Am Enough' — into yourself by writing it everywhere and making it a statement of truth," Peer says. Little affirmations can go a long way, but it's not just about boosting yourself up, it's also about being mindful of how you view and treat yourself on a daily basis.

"If you want someone to fall madly in love with you, then the most important thing you must do is fall madly and deeply in love with yourself," Peer says. "This is easier than it might seem and starts by paying attention to the words you say to yourself. Pay attention to how many times a day you [critique] and praise yourself." If you find yourself being your own worst critic, take a step back and ask yourself why you're treating yourself more harshly than you would treat a friend. Try to take care of yourself emotionally and talk to yourself the same way you would your best friend.

For some of us, feeling confident and presenting ourselves as self-assured just doesn't come naturally. Whether we've had a rough time through our love lives or are just innately less secure, being confident can feel like a skill we have to have master. So it's important that we give ourselves some time. But, if we keep working on it, we should all be able to view ourselves as "The One".