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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Insecurity and Confidence: where do they come from?


What we believes matters.

For the most part of my adolescence I’ve been a rather shy kid. A lot of people told me that I’m good looking, and that was great; but I didn’t know what to do with that. As I grew older I asked a few girls out, but for the most part it seemed rather awkward. I mean I was an all right guy, good looking, Christian, fun- but somehow I never got to go beyond an awkward asking somebody out just to be moved in the “friends zone.”

A few weeks back we’ve talked about the fact that Christian guys lack confidence. Another way to say that is that they are insecure. This happens to girls too, and the usual outcome is fear based behavior. No bueno. Then you see the other people who act all-confident like they’ve been around since the first day of creation. That’s not confidence either, not healthy one anyways, let me explain why.

Insecurities and confidence are two sides of the same coin: they reflect what we believe about ourselves. Now we can believe something that is true or something that is not true in accord to reality.

The people who are overconfident usually believe something better about themselves than what  is true. They are confident, but they’re confidence is rooted in a self-created realty. It’s the guys in the gym who scream to hard after every squat or walk around like they swallowed a hangar. And the girls with the “oh my gosh, you won’t believe who just asked me out” attitude. Worthless. These people need a reality check, and no worries, life will give it to them.

Then there are the insecure ones. Shy, submissive, quiet e.t.c. Again, no bueno. They believe again something not true about themselves, namely that they are less that what they are in real life. Maybe they’ve been lied to, made fun of, never been affirmed… There are lots of causes, but the same effect. Guys and girls don’t believe that they are able to to attract a really good partner. They hope for that, wish for that, but don’t really believe that.

So how do we address insecurities?

We must change what we believe about ourselves.

We must find what reality is really like and start from there. It may very well be that you’re body, mannerism or the way you dress is really unattractive. Don’t hang out with your looser friends who tell you that you’re OK. Change some things about you. It may be that you’ll have to fresh’n up that wardrobe of yours and maybe get a hair cut.

But this is just the begging. The journey continues with journaling. Yes, jouranling. Write down white you believe about yourself. Be honest. Be honest with yourself because it’s the foundation of any change. Confront those beliefs about yourself. Call them out, make them clear.

Changing a belief is not an easy thing. It’s not easy at all. It took years for that belief to form. Many times the process was subtle, tacit, blended. There are several factors, context plays a role, there are a lot of things going on. To change a belief that somebody has about themselves takes time and the right approach. You have to want this, work hard at it and face reality regardless how harsh. You have to look yourself in the mirror, tell yourself the truth and start doing something about it.

Most of the time we don’t want to do that. Reality is too harsh to look in the face. We don’t want to question the environment we grew up, our culture, our failures over time and what they really add up. We’d rather blame context, culture, the liberals, the world, the Devil and the list goes on. Yes, the might have had a role to play, but don’t be a victim of your circumstances.

You are your biggest problem and you are your way out. Do something about it. Curing insecurities and gaining true confidence comes from facing the reality about ourselves and doing something to change it. It may take a while, but when you’ve gone through the process, you will be a better person: stronger, wiser, more confident.

What we believe matters.

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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Jack

 

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Where did all these DATING ideas come from?


Who are we and Why Christian Dating?

First you should follow me on Twitter here!

I’m James. I write some of the posts on this blog. In response to a reader question on our “about” page, I’d like to tell you a little of where my ideas come from.

I’ve spent most of my life in Christian or pseudo-Christian sub-cultures. This means living in places full of churches, spending time with people who try to follow Christian standards, and even going to a Christian University.

One thing I noticed is that dating in the Christian environment is quite messed up. In fact, it seemed like there is perhaps more confusion and stupid games going on in the Christian world than in the secular. I recall hearing of couples who broke up because God told them to. Or girls who would come up with the most absurd technicalities to ensure they were still virgins because somehow that made them more appealing to good Godly suburban worship leaders. Technical virgins?

My personal journey involved several failed relationships which were all vastly different but gave me some serious insight on the dating world. I realized that most guys are full of insecurities and social blunders that hurt their chances with women. I noticed that nice guys finished last. I saw girls time and time again choosing jerks, despite the fact that to your face they said they never would.

Another thing stood out to me: games. What I always thought of as games were either 1). Telling someone you liked them when you didn’t, 2) or purposely doing things to make them jealous or think of you to manipulate their feelings. What I soon realized is that the best game players were the biggest game haters (“I hate games” became synonymous with “I will play whatever games I must to get what I want“). But I also realized that to some extent these games work: if a girl doesn’t text you back you do think about her more.

Fed up with all the confusion I turned to Christian dating advice. Long story short, it sucked. But it made clear a few of the problems in Christian dating. One of the biggest problems is the “Just be yourself” culture. So many girls I noticed truly thought they could get these amazing fantasy Christian guys by simply reading their Bible and just being their selves. That was absurd to me. Wouldn’t an amazing guy want an amazing woman with more than selfish desires and Biblical knowledge?

Finally I turned to secular dating literature. And I found what was missing. All the sudden all the game made sense. Dating jerks made sense. Just be yourself became just be your best self. I learned the importance of confidence (the number one thing Christian guy’s lack). I learned how to avoid getting played and all the stuff that some guys who are naturally great with girls seem to know without thinking.

And I realized this: while I might not morally agree with the guy who picks up tons of women and has open relations with them, he just might understand something about women that the Christian author who married the one woman he ever loved totally missed.

And that’s when I wanted to write this blog. I realized that nice Christian guys were getting screwed because they had no idea how women think or how a real relationship works other than a few verses out of the Bible like “wives submit” and “men love your wives”.

But I also saw that girls were getting a bad deal too. All these “good” Christian guys were so caught up in their theology and black/white Christian thinking that they lacked the ability to empathize and relate to someone else and see from their perspective (especially a woman who they were interested in).

So I decided this blog should be geared toward both. It should combine firsthand experience with real live observation. It should answer questions and ask them. It should be based on Christian principles and books AND secular ones. It should be a place where we are free to talk about taboo relationship subjects and ask the hard questions. And it should be free of fluff and ideals that don’t translate into reality.

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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in James

 

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What relationships tell you about you


Have you ever hear the saying: “show me who your friends are and I’ll show you who you are?” Well, relationships are very much like that: they tell us something very important about ourselves.

One of the most rewarding things I’ve discovered in relationships is that as you engage in building friendships with others, you learn something about yourself – if you have the ears to listen. The feedback is constant and it tells you something about yourself. So many times we think we’ve figured ourselves out… after all we’ve spent a lifetime with ourselves. But there is more to the story. Life always brings new situations, new challenge, new scenarios. The way you react and interact with others tells something about who you are and how you react to the world. You’d do good to listen.

Often we try to improve our world by changing things around us. We try to change circumstances, or our friendships, or our friends. And these are important. But more important than that is how you THINK about all these things, and how you CHANGE. Changing circumstances will have something to do with who you are, but how you respond to your circumstances defines even more of who you are. Context gives you the opportunity for something to come out either good or bad. There have been saints that came from the slums and on the other hand there have been the worst kind of people that came from the best of families.

The wau you react to your circumstances and the people around you tells you something about yourself. The way you react to your closest relationships tells you something about yourself.

Take the time to listen.

Take the time to learn.

Take the time to absorb the lesson.

And take the time to change.

Before you try to change your friends or your circumstances,  change yourself. I can’t take responsibility for how others

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Jack

 

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“I’ll never meet another guy who understands me like he does”


The scarcity mindset: Ladies

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One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of women tend to fall in love (so to speak) with these guys that seriously seem way less than what they deserve. The guy may be lazy, inexperienced, a jerk, or just immature, but the girls is stuck on the idea that he is the one for her. Of course, we all get that passionate vague feeling of being in love with someone and thinking that they are our soul mate, and then regretfully realizing later we were wrong. But what about the girls who actually settle for and marry these guys?

I’ve talked to several women in dating relationships like this and have observed probably a hundred more. A common thing I notice is this, “he’s the best I can get, I’ll never meet another guy who [fill in the blank here] like he does, I know he’s not perfect but there aren’t many good guys left”.

Not to bore you with economics, but this is what would be called a scarcity mentality. What they mean is that you believe there are only a very limited number of opportunities for you to have a decent relationship. And if you pass up too many of them you might end up single and alone forever.

This is a scary thought for many Christian women who grew up with dreams of a family and a Godly stable home. While these might be good things to desire, looking at the many couples who follow that path (getting married early into what an outsider might correctly guess to be a mismatched relationship) don’t seem to be very happy a few years down the road when the bills and the babies are due and their dream isn’t so desirable anymore.

So are there really only a limited number of good guys out there for you ladies? Perhaps. But by good I mean sweep you off your feel, romantic, strong, Godly, hardworking, emotionally understanding, sexy . . . basically a perfect guy who barely if ever exists. But if you mean good by most people’s standards, someone who’s a good companion, who you find attractive, who loves you and love God the best he can, there are hundreds and thousands of these out there. Trust me if this guy isn’t working out you have till you’re at least 30 to find another one. And chances are if you’re still in college now you could find 30 more such guys by the time you reach that age.

I know it’s easy to think in a relationship that he’s the only guy who knows you this way, and it will take time to grow a new relationship. But seriously, there are thousands of good guys out there if you take the time to meet them, and go where they are so they can meet you.

The danger with thinking that the good guy pool is limited is that you become desperate; you are easily persuaded to fall in love with someone who isn’t a good match for you. And then you may lose moral standards, you may lose friends; you may lose your first marriage. Remember a relationship is a lot of work so I wouldn’t recommend dating around carelessly. But if this one isn’t working don’t despair. There is not a scarcity of men in this world.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in James

 

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Oneitis: Prevention and Treatment (Part 2)


Read Oneitis: Falling in love too quickly (Part 1) first!

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Let’s think back over our own dating experience for a bit. Consider that first person you were in love with. Think about the amazing times you had together, the good memories, the laughter, and amazing way you found them so attractive. If you’ve had even minimal experience, that first love has come and gone and probably several more since then.

Imagine still thinking that person was “the one”. Imagine still pining over that loss of a guy six years ago. If you are you are not alone. However, if you are interested in perhaps considering other options and how to move on, please come talk to me, because I understand it can be hard. But honestly, if we look back we can see how those we were once enchanted with were actually, well quite normal.

Another thing that happens time and time again is hearing the words “I just know you’re the right one, I have peace about it”. Or even scarier in Christian circles is the God mandate. God told me to be with you. But looking back at what actually ends up in happening how many of those relationships that we knew were right or given by God actually ended in disaster?

In the moment it’s hard to remember these past experiences, we are in love and want that happy feeling. But maybe by keeping a brief journal you can remind yourself when you start to fall too quickly: until I say “I do” can I really be certain this is the “one” for me?

And the really scary thing is this: oneitis which creates a desperate desire to make sure you win your love’s heart, can actually do more to push it away! Especially early on in a relationship, we tend to push away those who are clingy and seem desperate. The more secure person (in this case the one without oneitis) is less emotionally attached. They may feel trapped by our passion so early on and may wish to leave us altogether just to be safe.

So how do I still romance this girl I’m into without developing a hard to cure case of oneitis? Or how can I flirt with this guy without getting emotionally attached before he does?

I would suggest having a strong support system of solid friends who are just as important if not more than your romantic interests. You know the phrase bros before hos? I would suggest that this is a good motto for early in relationships (however, a terrible one for long term). And keep them in the loop, especially if you know you tend to fall fast.

Another thing that I find helpful is to force yourself not to see them as often as you could perhaps early on. Maybe talk to a few other people at the same time (this is highly controversial among Christians I know!). At least keep friends of the opposite sex in the picture to some extent as a balance. Don’t ever lie or be a jerk about it, but if you find yourself becoming very attached after a couple of dates maybe not seeing that person for a few days or even a week would help you keep thinking clearly.

Meet new people. Realize that while we are special and unique, there are a lot of us and if one doesn’t work out God will in His timing provide the right person. We have an extra tool against oneitis that most people don’t: our faith. We can trust God to make decisions better than we can and even when we make mistakes to work it out for good. Sometimes I think our entire life is summed up in one short lesson “learning to trust God in EVERYTHING”.

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Posted by on January 18, 2012 in James

 

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Oneitis: Falling in love too quickly (Part 1)


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Oneitis is a phrase coined by the dating powers that be to describe a “social disease that affects millions of people – both male and female – that [blocks] a man or a woman from seducing or romancing a member of the opposite sex. Oneitis is that social malady that results in a feeling that this person is totally special and unique and therefore one must not mess up anything with them.” (From the Urban Dictionary which has several more detailed definitions as well).

The problem with oneitis is this: your feelings begin to control everything you do. And you start to think “if I send one wrong text, make one wrong statement, ask her out one minute too soon, EVERYTHING is ruined and I will have lost the ONLY girl in the world who could truly make me happy.”

Before I go further let me say a brief disclaimer: I’m not saying there isn’t a special person who I right for you. I am saying that no matter how amazing he/she seems right now, if it ends up not working out most likely you just learned that person is NOT that special person and you are that much closer to finding them. So take cheer!

Oneitis usually effects people who think that the sea only has a few good fish in it and you better be quick before the good ones are gone. It also effects desperate people, girls who want a ring by spring, and guys who want sex and are tired of waiting for marriage. Secure, happy, and content people seldom get this malady.

Another way of looking at oneitis is to call it “falling in love too quickly”. Because eventually we want to fall in love and many of us would like to be committed to one amazing person for life, right? But what if you fell in love and start acting like you’re committed for life to a person you hardly know? You might start wondering why they don’t feel the same way and you might start missing out on other life opportunities (this is where phrases like “bros before hos” became popular). Oneitis makes us become controlling and almost desperate because we are acting like we are in love with someone who we haven’t even given the chance to fall back in love with us.

Don’t worry I’m going to talk more about what to do if you have this illness (I’ve had it a number of times so I hope to give some good advice). So look for Part  2 in the next couple of days!

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in James

 

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To love at all is to be vulnerable – C.S. Lewis


Here is a quote from C.S. Lewis “The Four Loves” that I cannot get out of my mind:

“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your hear will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your hear to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy or at least the risk of tragedy is damnation.  The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

I believe that the most lawless and inordinate loves are less contrary to God’s will than a self-invited and self-protective lovelessness. It is like hiding the talent in a napkin and for much the same reason ‘I knew thee that thou were a hard man.’ Christ did not teach and suffer that we might become, even in the natural loves, more careful of our own happiness. If a man is not uncalculating towards the earthly beloveds whom he has seen, he is none the more likely to be so toward God who he has not seen.

We shall draw nearer to God not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armor. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it.”

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Jack

 

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“Just let me be me”


This is quite a loaded statement. “Just let me be me” has so many sides to it. Let’s unpack a few of them.

First and foremost, when somebody says that usually they mean: “let me express myself as I want to do it.” This is natural in many ways.  When we have something to express, we’d like to say it as it comes to us, without the hindrance of limitations from others.

Another meaning of this is: “accept me as I am.” This is very powerful, because it explains the kind of relationship we all desire. We want to be loved unconditionally, we want to know that who we are is enough to be in a meaningful relationship. Hence the tension: we want to be accepted just as we are, we want a deep relationship. But sometimes we’re not ready for it. It’s a hard truth to grasp with sometimes, but facing the truth is the only way to truthfully improve. Nobody is perfect, but some are better than others at relationship. You be the one who is better at it- it’s normal to desire to be accepted for who you are, but if who you are needs some work, then do the work.

At some point you will have to accept somebody for just who they are, and hopefully they will accept you for just who you are. This is not “settling” in that sense. It’s accepting how life is and doing the best you can with it. In some ways since you’re not perfect you are settling, and somebody is settling with you. It’s a fact of life. The mature ones learn to settle down in a relationship that makes them happy… a lot of people settle in a relationship that is just functional – and that is “settling” in the negative connotation.

What I’m trying to say is this: know that as some point you will have to accept somebody for just who they are. Make a wise choice, and accept them all together. Know that somebody will make the same decision with you, so try to be the best person you can be, and always grow. Be a killer deal for somebody who will settled down with you so that when they “let you be you”, you are an awesome thing in the happening.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Jack

 

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The number one thing Christian guys are lacking is . . .


Confidence.

Simple huh. Christian’s guys can’t think for themselves. They don’t have the confidence approach a woman or the confidence to take a “no”. They are afraid of rejection, afraid of standing up for what they believe, and afraid of commitment.

At least from the girl’s perspective. Just a few days ago we posted on being a man. This is key to having a successful happy dating life and eventually marriage if that is what you want. A real part of being a man, according to women, is being confident. I think this goes way beyond attracting the woman that you want however. I think that women are attracted ton confidence because there is a safety in a confident man. She’s knows he won’t be a pushover, she knows he can provide should the need arise, she knows he can better protect should she feel need of that.

While evolution is certainly not the best explanation of how we got here and not supported Biblically, some of the ideas of survival and reproducing offspring are parts of who we are as humans. Women have to carry children and therefore are hardwired to want a protective, confident, providing man in an intimate relationship.

But instead we have a bunch of push overs. Why is this? We could blame it on feminism and say that there just isn’t a need for men to be men any more. Or we could say that toleration has become the new standard and it’s better to just blend in then stand out and face ridicule. However, it seems that regardless of what society may seem to tell us, most women still want a confident man who can stand up for what he believes and make decisions. A man who isn’t worried about offending someone because of what he values.

There are a lot of ways to be a confident man, and some have already been discussed and man more will be as we continue to look at relationships; but I want to leave you guys with one short piece of advice for being more confident:

Stop relying on cool friends and cool clothes and liking the right bands and movies to make yourself feel confident. Be confident in who you are. Own your manhood. In other words, don’t go to the hip church just to fit in with the cool kids if you prefer hymns. Don’t wear sweaters and skinny jeans just because all the other worship majors do. Be a real man and have an opinion. Don’t be an asshole about it, but seriously is it really going to kill if you think for yourself and stop worrying what other people think all the time?

 

Girls what do you think? What do you see Christian’s guys as lacking that perhaps non-Christian guys seem to have a better handle on?

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2012 in James

 

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Two lessons on Ex-lovers and Big Waves


Two quick lessons:

1. Leave the past in the past. Doesn’t this sound like your typical stupid dating advice that sounds so good in theory but is so hard to follow in practice?

Let’s put a more realistic spin on it. First of all: if there is someone in your past who is holding you back, who is a drain on your life, its best to just leave them there. I know sometimes you really want her back because she is familiar. Or maybe he understands a part of you that no one else does. Or maybe she is just the one that got away. But seriously, if this person is draining your life and causing you to miss out on meeting people, making decisions, and moving on, you have to let them go.

However, can any of you honestly say that there is someone from your past who is not a drain on you? Maybe they actually are a good friend and you’ve moved on from whatever romantic or otherwise entanglement you may have had? For some this may sound absurd. But for others . . .

Here’s what I can suggest in this situation. Don’t let your future be clouded by your past. In other words, maintain that connection with confidence knowing where you stand. If it is a guy who you can never go back to then always remember that no matter how good of a friend he is. Don’t let him ruin the real possibility you’re talking to now. But perhaps things will change. You’re past the point of getting hurt or being in love. But sometimes old friendships rekindle into something more and make amazing relationships. Just don’t bet your life on it or spend your life wishing rather than living.

2. Guard your heart. But in all your guarding don’t forget to feel. Ever heard the saying better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

Have any of you been hurt in the past so many times that you wonder if you really want to open up again? Or maybe you just guard you heart exceptionally well and don’t see the need to “feel” for someone.

Every once in a while though you will meet that person with whom you have an amazing connection. Maybe you’ve played the game and you’ve kept yourself from being hung up on one guy. But honestly you really can say “this guy is different” and somehow know your right. Remember first of all that these “different” people in our lives have the most power to hurt us. Unless the almost impossible thing happens and you both feel exactly the same, most likely the other person isn’t quite as crazy about you as you are about them.

But is it really worth guarding your heart that much? I think, from experience, that even if in the end you lose that person, those moments you had together actually make it worth putting yourself out there. I know this goes against a lot of my typical advice. And I would say even when you allow yourself to feel always know that forever is not a promise, even for good Christian people. The only forever we are promised is with Christ.

For most of us we could probably do without this brief lesson. We should guard our hearts more. We should not get so hung up on one person and think they are the world. But every once in a while you realize that the little waves along the shore maybe be easy and frequent and non-threatening. But sometimes you need to take a risk and go for one of the really big waves that only come so often, even if you know in the end it will break your board and leave you with a mouth full of salty water (to borrow from a mentor of mine). Just make sure you know how to surf before you try the big waves.

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Posted by on January 10, 2012 in James

 

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