There are precious few moments in life where events force you to see clearly for the first time that which had eluded you for years. Such a moment happened for me when I introduced my new boyfriend (and future husband) to my Irish grandmother one Easter Sunday.
We’d been dating only a few months. He was a Jewish city boy and I was taking him up to meet my country mouse family. I was so nervous that he’d judge me unsophisticated, too bland, or just too different to continue on with. As my 6’3″ boyfriend leaned down to grasp my 5’5″ elderly grandmother’s shaking hands, she looked at him with those sharp blue eyes, watery with age, and said: “She’s a keeper.”
My boyfriend and I laughed but my grandma did not. She was serious. She gave a small smile just to let him know that.
Suddenly I wasn’t nervous anymore. I was a keeper, darnit. In all my other relationships I had assumed that I was the one looking for them. My grandmother reminded me it was the other way around. They were looking for me. All I had to do was make sure I reminded them of that, stayed confident and stayed a keeper.
Because of the wisdom of my feisty Irish grandmother, I will never forget these four lessons on the importance of self confidence in new relationships.
The Importance of Self-Confidence in All New Relationships
Reframe: You are Not Looking for People, They are Looking for You!
Know that you are enough, and in fact, you are way more than just enough! If you know it, then your potential friends and loved ones will know it too.
I don’t mean you should be arrogant, just confident. There is a difference. Arrogant people are only confident in themselves. Confident people are confident in themselves and other people.
You need to be confident not only that you are a keeper, but also have faith that other people will see that in you as well. Give new acquaintances the benefit of the doubt that they are smart enough to appreciate what you offer, and offer it to them!
That brings us to what you should offer…
Be a Keeper: Be What You Want in a New Relationship
If you are looking for friends or a love that is kind, giving, loving, self-assured, helpful, knowledgeable, vulnerable, and empathetic, then you have to be that for them. And you have to be that for them first.
I know, that means you might get hurt. It’s possible. But if you always circle back to your reframe – you are a keeper – then it will hurt far less if someone rejects what you present.
That is because it is their loss. You are a keeper so if they pass you up, it’s on them.
Maybe they’re not ready for a keeper. Maybe they actually want a booster instead of a keeper, someone who will boost another person’s self-confidence by subordinating their own. But you’re not a booster, you’re a keeper. Make sure you’re conveying that, and have the self-confidence to really get vulnerable and display your true self to new people.
How do you display your true self and get vulnerable? With…
Irish Confidence & Blarney
The Irish don’t question whether a story should be told, even if its been told a bunch. It hasn’t been told by them to you. Or even if it has, the story hasn’t been told by them to you at that exact moment in the exact way they’re about to tell it.
Don’t question whether what you have to say is worth saying. If you are being a keeper, then what you have to say is worth saying. Don’t worry if you can’t remember if you’ve said it before. Even if you have, it will have a new spin in a new context.
In short, don’t clam up. You have to talk to be vulnerable and offer yourself to people so they can see that you are a keeper.
I have a lot of confidence in people but I’m pretty sure they can’t read my mind. We must speak to be heard.We must speak to be heard.Click To Tweet
What If I’m Just Unlucky in Love or Friendship?
Ever heard of luck of the Irish? It’s complete bollocks, as they say in Ireland. The Irish have endured countless hardships: brutal colonizations, famine, alcoholism, The Troubles, mass emigration, and economic collapse to name a few.
And yet the Irish are some of the most entertaining and joyful people you will meet. When you meet an Irish person, you almost invariably want to be around them. It’s not just the accent, though that helps. It’s that they retain and continue to offer to the world their best selves in the face harsh realities.
The Irish are not lucky, they’re confident. Luck doesn’t matter. Such is the importance of self-confidence. Project that and the people you want will find you.
Some people you don’t want might find you too. But if you remember that you are a keeper, and offer that, they will likely mosey along their way and you will be none-too-aggrieved for it.
It’s no coincidence that after I learned my grandmother’s lesson on importance of self-confidence the relationship I was in matured to marriage. Always remember, you aren’t looking for friends. They are looking for you.
Your job is to make sure they can find you by being confident, expressive, vulnerable and available. You are a keeper. Own it. And more importantly, be it.
Do you know you’re a keeper? Do you let others know that or are you too afraid of seeming arrogant? I’d love to hear in the comments!
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