I think all Catholic singles have struggled with confidence at one point or another. One of the most striking memories I have of this in my own life is when I was in seventh grade. The new girl to school, I wanted so badly to fit in. I had a difficult time making new friends and feeling comfortable in my own skin as I navigated that awkward stage of junior high school. I remember wishing I could be like the more popular girls—more popular, confident, or pretty. It’s a memory that has taken on deeper healing in how I see myself in the world.
Deep down, we all have experiences or memories like this in life. While yours may look different from mine, growing into our individual self-confidence is a process. Today, let’s look at your reality as a Catholic single. Do you struggle with confidence on a personal level when it comes to dating?
Catholic dating comes with all kinds of highs, lows, and everything in between. Sometimes it goes better or worse than you expected. Living from a mindset of self-confidence will benefit your personal mental health but also is an extremely attractive quality in a partner. Confidence is not like a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser that suddenly makes you feel 100% great about yourself without ever having to take a deeper look at yourself. It takes discipline, focus, and intention.
Here are some ideas to start feeling more confident today about yourself. Try them on for size and see what works for you to build your confidence as a Catholic single today.
1. Practice affirmation statements you actually believe
My mom used to tell me to practice affirmation statements growing up, but I would always roll my eyes, thinking it was so lame. But as an adult who has since practiced affirmation statements, I’ve discovered that they have been so helpful for me.
Write and develop one or two (non-cheesy!) affirmation statements you really believe about yourself. Practice saying them out loud daily, even think about setting a timer. I did this for a period of time and found it helped change what I think and say to myself.
2. Build confidence by smiling and making eye contact
This confidence booster is simple, effective, and powerful. A bright smile and eye contact show people you have a certain warmth and ease about yourself. This also helps improve your interactions with others! A simple smile and eye contact opens the door to communication and contact. Start paying attention to these things, you might be surprised what you notice and learn.
3. Schedule ten minutes of your day for gratitude
Gratitude has the power to change us from the inside out. Studies show that people who are regularly grateful are 25% happier than the average person.
I’ve experimented with gratitude habits in different ways. Sometimes on the drive to or coming home from work I count what has made me grateful. Other times, I name them while in the shower or brushing my teeth. There was another time when my counselor asked me to keep a gratitude journal. Each day I set the timer for ten minutes and wrote down whatever I was grateful for in the past day. In time the disposition of my heart changed. I began to pay attention to all the little, medium, and large ways God was loving and blessing me.
4. Play to your strengths
Sometimes we too easily focus on our weaknesses and ignore our strengths. Throughout life, we’ll encounter tasks that we’re not as well equipped at as others, and that is normal and okay!
But as you’re building your confidence as a Catholic single, spend time focusing on your strengths. You’ll be able to grow in the areas where you’re gifted, and when you do, you’ll get a jolt of confidence in yourself. Know your strengths and play to them, yes, even in Catholic dating!
5. Watch your interior tone
When we think negative thoughts about ourselves or others, we project that negativity into our relationships with others. To build your confidence as a Catholic single, work on seeing things through a positive lens. Think kind and positive thoughts about yourself, your hopes and dreams, your creative pursuits, and your experience dating as a Catholic.
It’s important to realize that thinking well and positively isn’t about wishful thinking or hoping you get exactly what you want. Instead, it’s about realizing that the thoughts we have actually can impact what we believe about ourselves and how things play out. So focus on your inner thoughts and the tone you use when you talk to yourself. These thoughts play a much larger role than we sometimes expect.
6. Do one hard (or scary!) thing every day
I don’t know about you, but I usually don’t want to do the hard or scary things in life. But what if we faced those hard and scary situations head on? Think about challenging yourself to do one hard or scary thing every day. See where you are growing, being brave, and taking risks in new ways.
Maybe send that message to the person behind that one online dating profile you cannot stop thinking about. Perhaps this means doing an extra rep of weights or a running mile longer on your morning run. Doing something hard or scary could be as simple as striking up a conversation with the barista at the coffee shop you stop into regularly. When we practice being brave in little ways, it has the potential to grow and strengthen our confidence.
7. Make time for daily self care
Self care is more than painting your nails or taking a bubble bath. Self care includes actions and practices that nourish your body, mind, and soul. Take the time each day (as much as possible, I know life happens!) to do one thing that nourishes these different parts of your person.
Taking the time to care for your body, mind, and soul remind you that you are important and matter. When we take the time to care for ourselves, it impacts every other part of our life for the better.
8. Boost your confidence by facing your fears
When we feel in control, we generally do not feel afraid. When we have a certain level of comfort or familiarity, things do not feel scary. But if something feels outside our control, we don’t think clearly because our emotional brain takes the driver seat over.
Did you know that FBI agents are taught to move closer to a threat and that doing so actually increases safety? It does no good to avoid the scary things in life. Denying or ignoring them only makes things worse. So today, face your fears head on.
Something I have done and found helpful is being honest with Jesus about my greatest fears. Then, I ask him what his truth for me about those fears is. Face your fears head on, but always do so with Jesus.
9. Talk to yourself more
Talking to yourself can help you process things better, improve your memory, and help your focus. The documentary “The Human Brain” claims we say between 300 to 1,000 words to ourselves per minute. Navy SEALS and Special Forces are taught and trained that the power of positive self-talk is a way to help them get through difficult times.
Being positive in the words you say to yourself influences your neurobiology. Start to pay attention to the words you say to yourself, especially when stressed or overwhelmed. The words we say matter and have a lot of power over us. Look out for when negative self-talk creeps in your mind and then try to flip it around in a positive way.
When it comes to Catholic dating, you want to attract someone who is whole and healed as you are. You’re not looking for perfection, but you should desire someone who is on a similar path. You attract the type of people into your life by how you reflect yourself into the world. Confidence attracts confidence. Neediness attracts neediness. You get the idea.
As a Catholic single, you want to attract the right type of woman or man into your life. Being aware of how you project yourself in the world is important. If you are struggling in the confidence department, there is no shame in that. Become aware and see the work you need to do. When your inner confidence radiates out in the dating world, it can help you attract a like-minded confident partner.