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No Guy Will Be Interested In Me

Question:

Hi. My name is Julia and I feel jealousy for any other girls that are self-confident, know exactly what to say at every moment and are not afraid of failure…because I am just the ‘opposite’. Even if I succeed in something I don’t feel satisfied , because there is always something that I could have done in a better way. I feel that no guy will be interested in me, that I am good only at issues concerning my career. I am also usually full of angst and unable to make serious emotional bonds, maybe because I think that I will be hurt. I want to change my character…no one has truly helped me till now.

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  • ‘Anne’ is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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Answer:

You feel trapped, stuck, unable to compete and a loser. Of course you feel jealous of people who are having an easier time than yourself. Lighten up a little if you can. There is cause for hope. This is a solvable set of problems you’ve got.

Would it be accurate to say that your insecurities are driven by your perfectionism? You state that you are afraid of failure and constantly second-guessing yourself and un-spontaneous in your actions, but that seems to be the case because you are holding yourself to some standards that are maybe unrealistically high, and have a well-developed tendency to punish yourself. If there is always something that you could have (and should have) done better, then you are never adequate, ever. You would be well advised to work on developing a sense of being "good enough". You don’t have to be perfect; no one is perfect. You just have to understand that you are "good enough". Without a sense of being "good enough", you will of course constantly feel inadequate.

Along side your perfectionism, seems to be a set of beliefs about yourself and your situation that might be said to be "irrational". Let’s take for example, your idea about how desirable you might be to guys. "I feel that no guy will be interested in me, that I am good only at issues concerning my career". This belief is absurd on its face. How do you know that no guy will be interested in you? Have you met every guy? Of course not. You probably haven’t even allowed 100 men to get close enough to you emotionally to know you as a person. Maybe not even 10. Maybe not even 5. Even though you don’t have evidence to support your statement, you still are willing to believe it, mostly because it feels correct, I’ll bet. Feelings are not a good method for testing reality, however.

What you’ve done in making your blanket assertion is to overgeneralize from a few cases to all cases. This is a logic error in your thinking with serious emotional consequences for you. Because you now believe that no one wants you, you feel helpless to try. If you could correct your thinking to the possibly more accurate, "no one I have met yet seems to want me", you’d be better off because that way there would always be the possibility that someone new you might meet would want you. It is possible, however, that someone you know does like you but that you are not clued in that this is the case because you have foreclosed the possibility prematurely. So even that statement might not be accurate. Maybe you should say, "I don’t think the men I’ve met want me", leaving open the possibility that you have been wrong about some of your perceptions.

What I’m trying to demonstrate here is a variety of what is called Cognitive Reframing, which is a cognitive behavioral psychotherapy technique that is useful for verbal people like yourself who are trapped in a web of irrational and inaccurate beliefs that set them up for misery. The idea here is that what you believe about yourself and your situation becomes your emotional reality. If you believe things that set you up to be miserable, guess what – you will be miserable. The cure for this sort of thing involves taking careful inventory of what you believe and subjecting those beliefs to careful logical scrutiny so as to evaporate the bunk and retain the substance. When your beliefs are more in line with what the actual possibilities are out there in the world, you will be more open to what is possible and less afraid of failure. As a result, some portion of your angst will go away and you will find yourself becoming a freer, happier person.

To best take advantage of this sort of therapy approach, you really need to engage the services of a cognitive behavioral psychotherapist who can coach you properly in how to work this and similar methods to your advantage. It is hard to do this sort of thing on your own, at least at first. You pick it up with several weeks of practice, but without that coaching and nudging in the right direction, people tend to stall and fail to make progress. Don’t wait on this, therefore; Make an appointment for yourself soon and stick with it for a couple months until the approach makes common sense to you. Good Luck!

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