When undertaking any emotional shift or change in behavior, there’s going to be an initial “pain period.” The pain period typically happens in the beginning of forming any new habit. It’s the period of greatest resistance and discomfort and the period in which most people give up.
Whether it’s bodybuilding, learning a new language or starting a new job, there’s going to be an awkward and difficult period where you’re going to struggle, fail at times, and most of all, feel vulnerable.
Most people absolutely hate this feeling and avoid it as much as possible. Being vulnerable hurts. It’s embarrassing. That first time you approach a girl in a bar in your life, chances are you’re going to be freaking out. And if she doesn’t react well, it’s going to be quite painful. And that’s all right. That first time you pick up the phone to call a girl you like. The first time you go in for the kiss. These are all nerve-wracking moments that are not very pleasant to go through.
It’s especially difficult if you’ve already had success in the past through performance or False Confidence. Practicing vulnerability often means that you will have to “get worse before you get better.”
And chances are, the more you’ve bottled up your emotions throughout your life, the more painful these actions are going to be. As vulnerability researcher Brené Brown says, “The less you talk about your shame, the more of it you have.”
GentleOwls presents a myriad of ways in which to change your life: how to dress better, express yourself better in conversation, approach women on the street, make women laugh, become physically intimate, build a network of friends who make you happy and much more. But all of these things have one thing in common: they’re going to require you to open up to being vulnerable. Whether it’s forcing yourself to make some new friends, or forcing yourself to go in for that kiss, you’re going to be making yourself vulnerable.
And the feeling is going to suck. A lot.
You’re going to feel uncomfortable. You’re going to come up with rationalizations about how you’ll do it next time. You’ll plan ahead, procrastinate and then re-plan and then procrastinate again, and then decide you need to read our posts a couple more times — all because you’re scared to death of that vulnerability.
Maybe you’ve already been through this. Maybe you’ve already spent months or years avoiding taking action because you’re afraid of the consequences. Maybe you’ve put off that career change, that wardrobe upgrade, joining that dating site. Maybe you’ve missed opportunities with women who liked you because you were too afraid to make a move. Maybe you convinced yourself that you needed to “know how” first. Maybe you convinced yourself that you needed to see someone else do it first.
These are all forms of avoidance. And we’ll get into them and pick them apart ruthlessly. But the point is, making yourself vulnerable is really, really, really hard and can be really, really, really painful. And the less vulnerable you’ve let yourself be throughout your life, the harder it’s going to be to start.
But accepting the inevitable pain period is the first step towards getting over it. Most guys, instead of accepting the awkwardness and the discomfort, try to educate themselves on ways to skip it.
We all have weaknesses, embarrassments and vulnerabilities. An unconfident man is terrified to show them because they care more about what others feel about him than what they feel about themselves. A confident man is comfortable showing his flaws because he’s more comfortable with how he feels about himself than how others feel about him.
Sharing yourself openly with others forces that transition between the two: from unconfident and afraid of what others think to confident and comfortable in how you feel about yourself. The reason is because sharing these truths about yourself forces you to own them and accept them, and also demonstrates that feeling embarrassed or ashamed is just that, just another feeling, another part of your humanity, not the end of the world.
The real question is: do you have to work through this emotional baggage and neediness with the women you’re dating? Not always. You can work through them by sharing them with friends, family members, or a therapist. But there are some issues that can only be dealt with by women you’re seeing: particularly intimacy and sexual issues.
But slowly, you will chisel away at yourself. You’ll humble yourself, expose yourself, and then learn that it’s OK. It’s OK to be rejected. It’s OK to make mistakes. It’s OK to say something stupid. Don’t give up. Women will not dislike you for your rejections and mistakes or saying something stupid.
They’ll like you for your ability to be OK with being rejected, to make mistakes, and to say something stupid. The man who always has the perfect line to say to her is a man she will not trust. Because he shows no vulnerability and his words are inauthentic and therefore needy.
The man who has some good lines and some bad lines and is able to admit the latter and laugh at the former, this is a man she will trust and a man she will open herself up to, both emotionally and physically. Become comfortable with being imperfect. It’s your rough edges she’ll be attracted to.
That’s because a man who becomes comfortable with his vulnerability develops True Confidence. Being vulnerable forces you to accept and prioritize your own perception of yourself over those of others.
Why? Because you have no choice. As you make yourself vulnerable, you will experience both success and rejection. And as you experience success or rejection, you will be forced to upgrade your own sense of self-worth. There’s no other option. Slowly, but surely, you’ll chisel a “Don’t Give a Fuck” attitude out of yourself that is genuine yet giving at the same time. A benevolent selfishness.
But this can only be done by consistently exposing yourself and opening up your emotions and true thoughts first to yourself and then to those around you.
This isn’t pretty at first. The worst part of the pain period is the fact that most people who have been stifling their emotions their entire lives have pent up a lot of anger, frustration and shame over the years. Typically, the older you are, the more you have pent up. And when you start to express this anger and shame, it can get ugly and