Reply To: Help With Identifying Belief
interesting conversation you're having. Mark, you've been asking some good questions. I would however like to point something out.
I notice that many of the posts on this thread talk about assertiveness as though it means being loud, obnoxious, or offensive. That sounds like evidence of a limiting belief to me. It's true that, compared to someone who's quiet and shy, someone “assertive” may be loud by comparison. But that on its own does not make someone a bad person!
As someone who used to be noticeably afflicted with ADD and Asperger's Syndrome, I can speak from personal experience here because I used to think and feel similar to the way Mark does now. I thought of myself as a chivalrous gentleman who treated women with respect and didn't even talk about things like sex. In fact, I assumed that every relationship I entered would be platonic, because sex sounded like some terrible thing that people did just to be mean to each other.
Taken to its logical conclusion, this is what girls call “Nice Guy Syndrome” and it is considered a bad thing. Now, you may think, “How can this be bad? I'm treating them with respect while all these other people are being jerks and mistreating women…” and so on. Let me explain why this perspective can be an obstacle to companionship, and why you can be more desirable without becoming a horrible person.
First: as already observed on this thread, SOMEBODY has to initiate contact. I personally don't understand why people think that men have to do this, but “being the man” has major benefits. Just like in business or any other thing you find yourself doing, some people are organized and on the ball, while others are not. By learning how to take initiative in various ways (and I had to learn-I was definitely not born with the skill) you show others that you can be relied on, and that you're capable of getting things done. You can never count on a stranger to take initiative, but you can count on yourself to do so. Like setting up a date–sooner or later, somebody (often the man) has to get decisive and say, “I like pizza. Let's go to Tony's Pizza and have our date there.” If you've already established that you both want to go somewhere, in all likelihood she'll say yes. If you don't, you could sit around for an hour before you even decide where you want to go. She could leave before you make up your mind and who knows? You might never see each other again.
That is one form of being assertive. It's not obnoxious or loud, it's just taking the logical next step.
Second, yes, there are a lot of jerks out there. But a lot of the guys you see flirting with girls– maybe loudly and somewhat obnoxiously–are successful with flirting because the girls are having fun and receiving attention. You can stand there and respect a woman all day, but unless you give her some kind of a reason to be around you, she won't stay interested for very long. Respect is not a reason to be interested in you; it is a prerequisite to human interaction. On the other hand, smiling, a sense of humor, and common interests like animals, fencing or literature are.
Also, when somebody says, “Women just like men who are total jerks,” what does that accomplish? You're not a total jerk, so if that's true, then you're out of the running. You might as well give up on relationships forever. (By the way, it's not true.) If that belief is true, then it would be literally impossible for you to get relationships. Many limiting beliefs blame some external factor over which you have no control-that's why they're limiting. An empowering belief is one where you can do something about it. “If I smile more than I usually do, maybe women would like me more.” See, you can do something about it.
Mind you, based on what you (Mark) have said, you probably find that hard. That's something you'll have to work on. I had to work on more stuff than I care to think about. But look at it this way: would you rather it take some work to succeed, or would you prefer success to be totally impossible?
Hope this helps.