Dating expert Evan Marc Katz wrote a post, Do You Overestimate Yourself?, in response to a recent post on the Freakonomics Bulletin (Freakonomics is one of my favourite books) about people’s tendency to seriously overestimate themselves.
Which got me thinking of course about Baggage Reclaim readers and the various problems that you come up against, particularly Mr Unavailables. In my new book Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl, I repeatedly talk about value and the correlation between that, your self-esteem, and why you will find yourself knock, knock, knocking at unavailable and assclown door again and again.
There was a standout line in this standout post:
“So we’re willing to put what might seem to be a disproportionate amount of effort into convincing ourselves and the world that we’re great, because we’d have to put far more work into actually becoming great.”
This is the whole Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl problem. Change seems far more scary than sticking in a bad situation so Fallback Girls put a disproportionate amount of effort into their relationships so that they can convince these men of their greatness.
I think on the whole, whilst it is good to be aware of your fabulousness and place a good value on yourself, we, as women need to be aware that we often place too much value in the wrong things, and not enough in the right things.
If I had a penny for every email that I had ever received where the woman told me she was great, funny, educated, great job, nice home, kind etc, etc, I could go off and buy me a serious 4-figure handbag.
It’s not that I want you to say ‘I’m ugly, I’m kinda funny, fairly educated, ok-ish job, house needs a bit of work and I’m a total bitch when I get my period…’ but… what you need to realise is that it is one thing to overestimate how great you are in terms of superficial qualities but it is another to overestimate how valuable you are to a relationship that hasn’t even got up off the ground, never mind out the gate!
What’s even scarier though is that somehow, as women, we often manage to overestimate our superficial value but underestimate our value as a person who is an entity of importance.
This is how we end up in poor relationships with inappropriate men.
On one hand we think we have the things that tick the superficial boxes, plus we overvalue the ‘love’ that we think we bring to these relationships, with us even trying to do enough love for him too, but on the flip side of the coin, we have low or even no self-esteem and don’t believe that we have value or are an entity of value if we are not part of a couple, even one that has some seriously rocky or absent foundations.
When we realise that things are not all that they seemed or are everything that we have come to expect from a poor relationship, instead of remembering that we’re people of value and that we have to do what is best for us and protects us from being detracted from, we go into overdrive to put in that “disproportionate effort”.
What results is misery.
Many of us are afraid of the consequences of change or the perceived cost of change. It seems more comfortable to be uncomfortable in inertia than it does to change our situations because it is uncomfortable, so we stay put and overestimate the wrong things to not only convince ourselves and him of our greatness, but to avoid having to do something about it and confront things about ourselves that we’re too afraid to see.
But even though the trade-off seems better because we fear the pain of leaving and the possible revelations about ourselves that will result from being more connected, there is a far bigger cost to not changing because as thousands of women have seen, when we avoid change and are trapped in inertia, we lose our sense of self, our values, our self-esteem, and ourselves.
We don’t look at the bigger picture and we look at the short term.
Yes it may hurt now, but the trade-off of making change is that by connecting to yourself, treating yourself as a person who is a valuable entity and loving yourself, actually changes your environment around you and who you are drawn to, and of course, who you attract.
If you stay, you will lose yourself, possibly your dignity, and anything else that you actually should be holding onto. The situation won’t change, he’ll still be the same, you’ll be miserable, or even more so, and life will zip by pretty quickly.
If you let go, whilst it will have it’s uncomfortable times, they pass, and by taking a leap of faith on yourself and building value in you, you not only learn to place value in the important things about yourself, but this change in attitude will reflect in the value of what others bring to your relationships.
You know you’ve made positive, albeit sometimes uncomfortable, change when you realise that you want to be around people who add positive value to you and your life as opposed to detracting from it.
Don’t overestimate the superficial, because you’re missing the bigger picture – you.
If you would like to get clued up about emotional unavailability, check out my book Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl.