An obvious lack of confidence can be a huge turn-off.
Women are turned-off by insecurity and turned-on by self-confidence.
That’s why self-confidence is SO important.
Are we as confident as we could be?
What if I told you that being a LGBT female might have hurt our confidence at a young age, before we were able to protect ourselves or do anything about it?
Growing up as lesbian or bisexual or queer in a straight world left our self-confidence vulnerable to deep injuries that other kinds of people didn’t have to face.
And back when we were little we didn’t have the tools to protect our self-confidence because we didn’t understand what was happening.
(Back then most of us didn’t know we were lesbian or bisexual or queer, and even if we did, there weren’t any resources available to help us.)
Events happen in the “present moment.”
We experience things “as they’re happening”, but then they’re over. Forever.
All that remains are our “memories” and “conclusions”…
Our “memories” are our ideas about what happened.
Our “conclusions” are the beliefs we formed about ourselves based on what happened. (If this happened, then it must mean X, Y, Z about me.)
The past is over. But the conclusions remain.
The beliefs we’ve formed about ourselves (based on the things that happened in our past) are still in our heads.
And they still shape how we see ourselves today.
It’s important for us to be able to recognize the events in our past that made us feel bad about ourselves.
Recognition brings power.
The more we can recognize what happened, the more we can "reframe" the stories we tell ourselves about what happened. (In other words, we can look at the story with the wisdom and perspective we’ve gained over the years.)
And that is the best way to take control back over the way we feel about ourselves.
This is the path to increasing self-confidence.
I’ve discovered that there are three little-known reasons why growing up as lesbian (or bisexual or queer women) left our self-confidence more vulnerable than it would have been if we grew up "straight".
The first reason is that for most of us, our earliest girl crushes were unreciprocated and unrequited.
9 out of 10 females are straight.
My friend Dani was telling me the story recently about when, in 5th grade, she fell completely in love with her neighbor, Sara, who was in her class that year.
At first Dani and Sara became best friends and were totally inseparable.
She and Sara would run around together every day after school, and Dani thought Sara was the coolest and most beautiful person in the world. Dani remembers feeling like she had never been happier…
But later in the Spring, Sara got a crush on a boy in the neighborhood named Eric. And from then on, anytime Eric came around, Sara would stop everything to talk to him, or watch what he was doing or talk about him and how much she liked him. She started ditching Dani to hang out with other girls who were friends with Eric’s friends.
The only person who was eventually able to get Sara's attention away from Eric was an older guy named Andy, who went to her church.
Dani was totally devastated. She didn't just lose her best friend. She lost her first love. And the most painful part about the loss was knowing that the only way she could have made Sara love her was if she was a guy. Something she could never be...
A lot of us lesbians get crushed the way Dani did when we are younger. Because 9 out of 10 women are straight, just like Sara.
Do the math.
There's a 90% chance that the first girl we had feelings for wasn’t LGBT.
Because girls who are not LGBT are not "wired" to feel romantic feelings for other females.
Lesbians are. Bisexual women are. Queer females are. We LGBT females are all wired in a way that allows us to fall in love with other females.
Straight women are straight because they don’t have this same built-in tendency.
There is no way for a straight girl to feel quite the same way about us as we do about her because her brain and biochemical structures aren’t built the same way.
So what happens?
There is a 90% chance that our first crushes resulted in:
And what do these experiences lead to?
And that totally messes with our self-confidence.
Nobody is safe from unrequited love. (Even straight people have to deal with rejection.) Everyone can relate to being rejected by early crushes.
But when the chances are 9 out of 10 that the first females we have crushes on are not wired to feel the same way, this sets us up for more injuries to our self-confidence than we would likely have been hit with if we were straight.
The second reason why growing up as lesbian (or bisexual or queer women) left our self-confidence more vulnerable than it would have been if we were straight is that girls are mean…
Girls can be really mean.
Girls are mean in a different way than boys are.
And human girls are mean in a different way than females of other species.
Here’s how it works…
All females in nature are competitive. In every species the females compete for dominance, because the dominant females get more food to eat, which means they are more likely to survive and produce stronger offspring (and stronger offspring are more likely to survive and reproduce.)
So competition is a natural part of life, and something that helped our ancestors survive.
But there’s a difference.
In nature females compete by fighting physically.
But our modern culture is funny.
We developed these rules that say girls are supposed to be “nice” and “polite.” Girls are taught that being physically aggressive is wrong.
Boys are not taught this. Boys are allowed to be tough and aggressive, and usually the most popular boys are the strongest and most athletic.
Girls are forced to compete in different ways. According to the brilliant book Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons, girls are forced to use “alternative aggression” to compete with each other.
Instead of beating each other up, girls attack each other socially and indirectly.
Girls use their relationships to hurt each other. They say things like “I’m not going to be your friend anymore.” Or “I’m not inviting you to my birthday party.”
Girls attack each other socially by gossiping and excluding and ganging up.
Girls attack each other indirectly by ignoring each other and leaving each other out by choosing another person to be close with that day, using abandonment as a weapon.
And oftentimes the meanest behavior comes from within each girls’ immediate group of friends. So the wounds cut even deeper.
I remember one summer in camp when everyone in my bunk was especially brutal to each other. There always seemed to be someone who was being ignored and left out. Oftentimes it was me (I was pretty low on the totem pole).
It was so lonely and sad being ignored that I would have done anything to avoid it. I don't know if I had my own opinions about anything that summer because I was so busy kissing-ass and trying not to trigger a fight against me.
Those experiences were extremely traumatizing and it took me a long time to re-learn how to be myself without fear of getting rejected by the women around me.
Rosalind Wiseman is the author of Queen Bees and Wannabes (which was the basis of the cult classic movie “Mean Girls”) and she said “the lessons we learn from those early adolescent relationships can mess with girls’ boundaries and ability to handle conflict for the rest of their adult lives”
This affects all girls. Not just lesbians.
But for women who are lesbian or bisexual or queer, we are wired to fall hard for other females.
And when the girls we fall for are mean to us, their “mean girl” behavior can cut much deeper.
Plus we LGBTQ females eventually grow up to date and build romantic relationships with other women. So it is really bad news that traumatic “mean girl” experiences from adolescence frustrates our ability to handle conflicts with other women and draw healthy boundaries with them and trust them.
And that totally messes with our self-confidence…
The third reason why growing up as lesbian (or bisexual or queer women) left our self-confidence more vulnerable than it would have been if we were straight is that humans evolved not to want to be different.
Our ancient ancestors lived and survived in small tribes of about 150 people...
Our ancient ancestors couldn’t have survived on their own without their tribe. So the instinct to “fit in” developed inside of us as a matter of survival.
We have a primal instinct not to want to be different.
And yet 90% of the population identifies as "straight."
In a world of “heteronormative” sameness, we grew up with blatant inherent differences.
Whether it was having more intense feelings for other girls, or not wanting to dress as “girly” as most girls, or not having the same “girly handwriting”, or not having a crush on the same boys as everyone else, or not enjoying hooking up with guys the way our friends did, or simply feeling like we didn’t fit in, even if we couldn’t explain why… most of us can relate to wishing we could be more like the most popular girls who seemed like they did everything the “cool way.”
Being different is something we evolved to be afraid of.
And knowing we were different (even if we didn’t know why) is something that really could have hurt our self-confidence when we were little.
Here’s the good news.
Power comes from awareness.
Just knowing these things about ourselves and our past can help us “reframe” the conclusions we’ve drawn from the events in our past.
You’ll never be able to feel as bad about these things ever again, because now you have recognition and awareness.
There was never anything wrong with us – we were just adorable little LGBT females stuck in an environment where we didn’t have the right conditions to thrive.
We don’t have to buy into the stories from the past that mess with our confidence.
In the past our crushes might have been unrequited and girls might have been mean and we might have been different…
But that isn’t true or real anymore.
Recognizing this is the first step towards taking back control over our self-confidence.
How about you? Did you have to deal with any of these issues in your past, like unrequited crushes or your close girlfriends being mean to you or feeling like you were different? Are any of these experiences still haunting you today?
Leave a comment and let us know!
P.S. Do you want to learn how to master the secrets of same-sex female attraction? Watch this video to learn more.