A topic that gets a lot of attention in this space is approach anxiety. We’ve covered it on the blog, so I’ll even risk looking like a hypocrite and admit that I believe it gets too much attention.
It’s a distraction, not the real issue.
Anxiety is just a label we have for a feeling of physiological arousal. When we feel anxious, we’re feeling the same sensations we experience when we’re excited about something.
It’s telling that there’s no such thing as “scary movie anxiety.” But when we watch a horror movie, we’re feeling IDENTICAL sensations in our bodies to approach anxiety. What’s the difference?
The label you give it.
We’ve said it before: Your mood is a terrible indicator of your progress. Call it whatever you want: your ego, your self-talk, your mind. At the end of the day, your mind will do everything it can to keep you in your comfort zone, because we’re hardwired to avoid anything that might be a threat. And your mind is the part of you that labels these sensations. Your mind will never tell you to worry about scary movie anxiety because it’s never been taught that label.
Your feelings and thoughts don’t affect your dating life, until you let them. What you need to do with approach anxiety instead of fighting it is:
1. Accept it’s there, and
2. Perform the behaviors you need to reach your goals.
It’s that simple! The only people who don’t feel anxiety are either psychopaths, or dead. When you feel anxiety, express gratitude for being alive and not being a psychopath. EVERYONE feels anxious at times.
All this time spent discussing “eliminating approach anxiety” tends to result in misplaced effort. Even worse, it has a tendency to make guys feel worse about themselves when they’ve followed all the advice out there but still can’t seem to eliminate approach anxiety.
“Approach anxiety” is a problem manufactured by self-appointed “dating gurus” and loser PUAs to sell products. It’s a joke.
Avoidance is what you should be eliminating, NOT anxiety. When you don’t make approaches because your mind tells you that you can’t handle the anxiety, that’s when it causes problems in your life. That’s when it interferes with your life.
Avoiding an experience because it feels shitty is an emotional process that operates below the surface of conscious thought. Humans don’t actually think their actions through rationally then behave in a rational manner. They act based on their emotions, then rationalize it using higher thinking (logic). This means that the reason your mind provides for avoiding an approach is always bullshit. It’s an emotional experience that your mind assigns thoughts to after the fact. This means that you can safely ignore your reason for avoiding and do it anyway.
I don’t care how much anxiety you’re experiencing, as long as you aren’t avoiding social interaction because of it, you will improve.
If you are willing to accept and experience your anxiety, your dating life will get better. And remember scary movie anxiety: the labels you use to describe your emotions matter.
Don’t fight anxiety. Fight avoidance.