So far, this article has examined various physical causes of erectile dysfunction, and discussed some of the treatment options, including diet and lifestyle changes. But sometimes, there may not be a physical cause for the problem. If you’re in your 305, fit and well, with great vascular function and you’re not carrying any extra weight or suffering from a chronic condition, yet you still have problems achieving and maintaining an erection, maybe you need to look beyond the physical.
Sometimes, lack of confidence can be the problem. It doesn’t necessarily have to be sexually related either. It may stem from a fear of not being good enough for someone you care deeply about. You want to please them so much — not just sexually, but in every way possible. You want to be a friend, lover and provider. They are the most important person in your life, and you want to be the most important person in theirs. The problem is, you want it so badly, that you doubt your ability to deliver.
You may have a great job that pays well, that you enjoy, and you’re good at, as well as being highly regarded by your boss and colleagues. You may even have a lovely home, and no money worries. You’re a good looking guy, not carrying too much weight, and you’ve still got all your own teeth. And you have the right work/life balance, so what’s stopping you from enjoying a great relationship with the woman you love? Frankly, you are! You’re trying to be the perfect partner in every way, and there is no such animal. Nobody is perfect. AH anyone can do, whatever their advantages or disadvantages, is to do their best. The problem is, you may feel that your best just isn’t good enough, and that’s when the problems start.
It may not even start with sexual performance — chances are that everything in the bedroom is rosy at first. It’s as you get to know each other better and move towards commitment that conﬁdence issues may arise. The thing is, when a relationship gets to this stage, you start to think about the future. Until now, you’ve been enjoying each other‘s company — and hopefully each other’s bodies — and all the thinking you’ve done is about how much you enjoy being together and how you can’t wait for the next time. Once you start thinking about making a life together, anxieties and doubts start to creep in. Not about your partner — you’re as sure as you can be that she’s the one. Your doubts revolve around yourself, and your ability to be the partner she wants and deserves.
The way to get over this is to focus your thoughts on something else, other than yourself and your perceived failings. It can be a person or a thing, as long as it stops you thinking about yourself and therefore undermining your conﬁdence even further. Some psychologists recommend losing yourself in a logic puzzle, or a difficult cryptic crossword or Sudoku. If you’re not into puzzles, try burying yourself in a really good book, or even a video game. The important thing is that every time you feel your thoughts tuming inwardly, you distract them before you get into that vicious cycle of doubt and anxiety, where you convince yourself that you’re a failure, and it eventually becomes a self-fulﬁlling prophecy.
If you can get involved in something that holds your attention, you can break the cycle of negative thoughts and feelings. It may not feel like it, but you can actually control your thoughts and feelings, and take them in another direction. While it‘s all too easy to slide into a spiral of negative thinking that can result in erectile dysfunction, it‘s more difficult to train yourself to think positively, and turn your attitude around. Difﬁcult — but by no means impossible.
The problem is, even if negativity doesn’t start in the bedroom, that’s where it‘s likely to end up, unless you can break the cycle. Men — unlike women — are not good about talking about their problems, especially when it comes to sex, because so much is invested in sexual performance, as far as most men are concerned. If there are problems in the bedroom, they see themselves as failures — no matter how successful they are in other areas of their lives, men who can’t satisfy themselves and their partners sexually consider themselves to be failures. VVhen it comes down to it, the good job, the nice house, the fancy car and the money in the bank count for nothing if they can’t get an erection.
There are only two requirements for an erection — you need to be aroused, and you also need to be relaxed. If you are lacking in conﬁdence, for whatever reason, you are not likely to be relaxed, and if your self-conﬁdence issues have been ongoing for some time, you probably can’t get aroused either.
Things you can do to increase self-conﬁdence
Many people don’t realize it but self-conﬁdence is like physical muscles — it can be developed through training. It can get better with continuous use or get weak as it’s left unused. The following are good ways to exercise your self-conﬁdence muscles and develop them even more:
> Continue learning new things. One of the ways you can feel conﬁdent is by knowing things that most other people don’t, including sexual tips and tricks. Who says learning can’t be fun, eh?
> Step out of yourself and be a better person by doing something good for other people. How does this help develop self-confidence? By regularly thinking and doing something good for other people, you train yourself to be selﬂess and the less self-centered you become, the less conscious you become about your perceived “shortcomings”, which lessens your tendency to be down on yourself.
> Hit the weights at the gym. If you want to look as buffed and macho as Hugh Jackman, Ryan Gosling and Ryan Reynolds, skip the marathons and hit the weights. You don’t build muscles with cardio — you do it with resistance training. I know it sounds superﬁcial but hey, looking buffed and macho can do a lot to boost self-conﬁdence.
> Get out there and meet people even if you’re an introvert. One of the best ways to overcome fear is by facing them head on and for most men who lack self-conﬁdence, one of their greatest fears is reaching out and meeting new people. Conﬁdent people aren’t afraid to make new friends and making new friends does wonders to boost self-conﬁdence. So next time you’re at a social event, get out of your comfort zone and meet new people. > Know what matters most to you. There are times that not knowing what you value most can lead to low self-esteem. How? By being all over the place, you may spread yourself too thin to achieve anything signiﬁcant. By knowing what matters most to you, you can focus your time, effort and resources on those priorities and increase your chances of achieving meaningful things, which can do wonders for self-conﬁdence.
> Identify things that are harmful to you and your self-esteem that aren’t really needed in your life and make an effort to get rid of them. Are you in an emotionally draining relationship with a girlfriend? Break up with her and ﬁnd your joy elsewhere. Life’s too short to be too preoccupied with unnecessary emotional stress and self-esteem bubble bursters.
> Do something you absolutely fear. Just keep it to safe and healthy ones, ok? Overcoming serious fears help bump up self-conﬁdences several notches. For example, people who have had near-death experiences tend to become more sociable and conﬁdent knowing that they cheated something that most other people fear most — death. Try eating an exotic dish that most people absolutely fear eating, go bungee jumping or approach that hot chick sitting at the bar to introduce yourself and get her digits.
> Do some self-searching to identify thought patterns or habits that normally cause you to feel unconﬁdent about yourself. After you’ve done so, imagine that someone close to you is thinking the same way and as a result, experience low self esteem. How would you talk them out of feeling that way? Do the same to yourself.
> Identify the things that really make you intellectually and emotionally come alive and make time to regularly indulge in them. Often times, doing the things that make you alive translate directly to higher self-esteem.
> Step out of the roles you play in life that you’re squeezing into just to please other people but aren’t really cut out for. If for example, you’re trying to be an insurance salesman because your parents expect you to become one just like your dad but being one isn’t really your thing, there‘s nothing wrong in dropping it in favor of something you really want to do and know are more equipped to succeed in. Continuously trying to conform to others’ expectations of you at the expense of what you really want (assuming what you want isn’t sinful or illegal) is a sure ﬁre way to emasculate yourself and is the ﬁgurative equivalent of being neutered.
> Develop the skill of catching yourself every time you say or think that you’re not good enough, talented enough or endowed enough to succeed. Learn to replace those self-depreciating scripts with conﬁdence building ones. One way to help you do this is by regularly basking in the memories of past successes. As long as you don’t overdo it, you remind yourself that you are worth something and that you are capable of achieving things, which can signiﬁcantly help you have a healthy self-conﬁdence.
> Stop the habit of making important decisions without deliberately thinking through them. By thinking through such decisions and being deliberate with them, you reduce your risk of making wrong ones and consequently, increase your chances of making good and successful ones. Thinking through includes acknowledging your concerns and doubts in order to have as much of your decision bases covered. There’s a differences between being pessimistic and being pragmatic. Be the latter, not the former
> Stop beating yourself up over past mistakes such as wrong decisions, inability to perform as expected or passing up on a great opportunity because doing so won’t make things better but will only make them worse. The best thing to do is learn from them and realize that everybody makes mistakes every now and then. When similar situations crop up, you’ll be more conﬁdent knowing what caused you to screw up a similar situation in the past and that you’re now in a position to avoid making the same
> Don’t confuse being scared with not being conﬁdent. Even the most conﬁdent people can still be scared at times. I know of a person who preaches to crowds of thousands every week and still feel so nervous before going up on stage that sometimes he pukes before going to the auditorium. It’s ok to be scared — it’s an acknowledgment that you’re not perfect. What’s not ok is not to be conﬁdent.
> There will always be people who’ll make you feel unsure of yourself with the things they say to and about you. There’s a difference between constructive feedback and outright putting you down and you don’t have to put up with the latter. Either tell them to stop putting you down or leave them. You’ll be much better without them anyway.
> This may sound unrelated but trust me it is — ﬂirt! Why? The better you get at it with women, the more conﬁdent you’ll feel about yourself. Trust me.
> Be vulnerable to others. Being vulnerable allows you to overcome one of the biggest fears for most people — rejection. As you master the art of vulnerability, you don’t just master the fear of rejection, you’ll ﬁnd that people will draw closer to you and be vulnerable too. You have the side beneﬁt of enjoying more intimate relationships on top of increased self- conﬁdence.
> Be humble and admit it when you’re wrong. Conﬁdence for the sake of conﬁdence is a fake one and won’t last long. It’s like building a mansion on sand. What you’d want is a self-conﬁdence that sticks and lasts. Admitting your mistake has the same effect as being vulnerable — you let go of your fear of rejection and as a bonus, you earn other people’s respect and conﬁdence too.
> Regularly see yourself in your mind’s eye (visualize) as the successful and conﬁdent person you want to be. Truth is, our subconscious minds are the ones responsible for our regular behavior and feelings and it can’t distinguish what’s real or not. By visualizing your successful self often, you feed the idea of a successful you to your subconscious mind and over time, it will act out that conﬁdent self you’ve fed it.
> Learn to ask for help. Why? You wont’ be able to do everything by yourself. By enlisting the help of others, you’ll be able to achieve more meaningful goals, which directly increase your self-conﬁdence. Knowing you have other people to back you up in important tasks can also make you feel more conﬁdent about taking bigger responsibilities.
> Take risks. No meaningful achievements were ever accomplished without taking risks and the higher the risk, the bigger the potential success. If you want to be a successful person and feel more conﬁdent, you’ll deﬁnitely have to be comfortable taking risks. Just take well- calculated ones though. Taking risks doesn’t necessarily mean gambling your life and safety away.
> Spend more time with people who make you feel appreciated, important and significant. You can only go so far convincing yourself of such and the validation of others is a very powerful tool for building and increasing self-conﬁdence.
> Fake it till you make it. As you learned earlier in the CBE (cognitive behavior emotion) model, actions can go a long way towards inﬂuencing your thoughts and emotions. If you want to feel and think conﬁdent, start acting the part.
> Stop comparing yourself to others. It’s a well-known fact that there will always be someone who’ll be better at you at what you do best. As such, know that it’s very counterproductive to compare yourself to other people, regardless if the people you’re comparing yourself to are “superior” or “inferior” to you. The only person you should compare yourself to is yourself.
> Speak your mind during group discussions more often. For many people, speaking in front of many others can be quite a scary experience. If you deliberately go against your fear of speaking in public by speaking out your mind every time you’re in a group, especially a large one such as a seminar or class, you weaken the fear and will start to experience a sense of self-conﬁdence you‘ve never experienced before. Face the fear to kill it and be more conﬁdent!
> Learn to value yourself for who you are and not who people want you to be. Live your life according to your values and beliefs and start experiencing unparalleled freedom from people’s expectations, which will make you a truly conﬁdent person.