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I’ve been noticing a trend in many of clients who are struggling with dating lately. Many of my clients come to me after a series of unsuccessful dates. They tell me that they don’t think anyone will want to go out with them because there’s something “wrong” with them. They begin to evaluate themselves only based on whether a man wanted a second date. My diagnosis? What’s holding them back is a lack of confidence.

As a therapist, I’m here to tell you, when it comes to making a guy fall for you, there’s no substitute for believing in yourself and what you have to offer. In fact, Verily recently asked guys what they like about women’s fashion, and—hands down—the most common answer was that a woman seemed confident. So, how exactly do you build confidence in a healthy way so that you shine on dates? I reached out to a few other relationship experts for their advice.

Celebrate Your Strengths

No matter how much you struggle with low-self esteem, you have positive qualities you should acknowledge and celebrate. Jessica Elizabeth Opert, a dating and love coach, recommends coming up with a simple mantra you can repeat to yourself with three things you have to offer to the world. She says these three things should be things that you value in yourself like, “your sense of humor, adulting like a boss, your successful career, your compassion and kind heart, your empathic listening skills . . . and yes, even that killer smile,” Opert suggests. She recommends repeating these three qualities to yourself while you’re getting ready for a date and before you head out for the evening. I know people who write it on their mirror too. This will help you keep focused on what you like about yourself and not on all of the things that could go wrong.

Invest in Yourself

While your ultimate goal may be to find a lasting romantic relationship, Jonathan Bennett, the brain behind The Popular Man, emphasizes that it’s important to invest in yourself. “No one is perfect and everyone has areas to grow,” he says. He recommends creating accomplishments and experiences for yourself which will increase your overall confidence. Do what you enjoy whether that’s going to concerts, checking out the latest art exhibit, hiking, or trying new restaurants. And if you’d always wanted to try something new, go do it! When you are happy with the life you are living, that translates into being confident when you interact with others.

Don’t Take Rejection Personally

Dating can be stressful and overwhelming (or underwhelming, if you know what I mean), but don’t let that negatively affect your confidence in yourself. Bennett says that, when it comes to confidence in dating, one of the biggest issues he sees is women taking rejection too personally. “Guys reject women for a variety of reasons,” he says, “and it doesn’t mean that you’re ugly or have a bad personality.” Isn't the same true of women letting down men? Yes. So if a new date doesn’t work out, don’t let that one experience detract from your self-worth. In times like these, celebrate your strengths and remind yourself of all of the other successful dates you’ve been on.

Try This Easy Trick

Everyone experiences a little nervousness or fear on a date, even if you are a master at self-confidence. Stacii Johnson, a dating and relationship expert, recommends an easy trick for snapping yourself out of your first date jitters. She tells her clients to think of cold ice running down their back (really!). “Usually, it takes their mind off the fear,” she says, “and creates a lighter emotion of laughter, a smile, or something that will lighten the mood." It can break the cycle of fearful thoughts that might be happening in your head and help you focus on the great conversation happening right in front of you.

Confidence is more important than wearing the right dress or saying the right things. Being authentic is the most important thing you can do on a date, not pretending to be someone else. Try these expert tips to build your confidence. You deserve it!

Photo Credit: Local Embers Photography