Sooner or later we all fall victim. That gnawing self-doubt in the back of our minds feeds on anxiety. Before long a few fearful inklings snowball and you’ve suddenly reverted back to a neurotic high-school freshman at a homecoming dance, over-thinking every interaction, devising schemes to conceal potential erections, and triple checking every facet of your appearance in a vain, Rain Man-ian fashion.
Irrationally, your psyche’s ratcheted up the gravity of your impending situation. You’re feeling now like you need this job interview to go well, or you need this Tinder match to use her mouth to end your cold streak, or you need this judge to drop all charges. Desperation festers, and that look is not attractive on anyone, even the prettiest of drug-addled prostitutes.
The snowball builds. Nervousness permeates out from your current situation into everything else. You’re convinced that all your friends are hanging out without you and ecstatic over your absence. You’ve concluded that this stomach pang is the start of some horrible appendix-exploding ulcer. You’re know, assuredly, that you left your stove on and that you apartment will be no more than smoldering garbage ash upon your return.
The monkey is in the banana patch. The elected official inadvertently used the n-word. There are motherfucking snakes on this plane and they’re all somehow carrying the Ebola virus.
How does one recover from a tailspin? Distraction is a good first step, although it’s not recommended for abating any literal tailspins. Stress eat, stress pill-pop, stress jerk-off, do anything that requires you to focus your attention outward.
Once you’re effectively sidetracked, try not to think about exactly how you’ve derailed that runaway train of thought. Instead, put the stressor in perspective. Ask yourself if you have other options. Question if this event will even matter in a week, or if it’ll even matter after a repression shame binge of Taco Bell.
Next you’re going to want to skew the blunt reality you’ve just grounded yourself within. Fabricate false confidence. Even if you know it’s not real, faking it works. It’s just like when you need to seem interested in a story about a coworker’s family, sad when you’re at a funeral, or when it’s late in the night and you’re tired of thrusting. There are days when I’m a wreck on the inside—a terrified ball of human, naked, and rocking back and forth in the fetal position, covered by nothing except a thin blanket and a cold sweat. Yet, like an adult, I never show my true feelings. Instead I’ll just gloss over my dread and pessimism with false confidence. Faking it until even I buy into it.
It doesn’t matter if deep down you know your confident façade stems from a manufactured lie. No one else needs to know that. All the world experiences is an attractive paragon of confidence ready for anything.
Believe your own hype long enough and the lie becomes the truth. It’s the same way a degenerate father rationalizes his decision to spend his kids’ remaining college fund leasing a sports car or how 900 people in the 1970s believed moving to Jonestown was a good call.
Commit to the confidence lie enough and you’ll have no trouble impressing any interviewer/Tinder date/district court judge.