I started Nofap in hopes of improving my social anxiety. It wasn’t until a couple weeks down the line that I realized that I didn’t just have social anxiety. I had anxiety alone.
It was then that I realized that anxiety isn’t compartmentalized. If you have anxiety in social situations, it’s likely that you have anxiety alone as well. It was tough for me to realize this because I couldn’t understand why I felt anxious when I was completely alone. I felt empty and lonely. There was no easy fix to this.
So I just spent my time more wisely. Instead of just sitting there and dwelling on my thoughts, I’d do something small like my laundry or the dishes. After I was finished, I would feel that tiny bit of satisfaction you get for accomplishing something and it kept my anxiety at bay. The anxiety was still there, but I had learned how to divert my attention to something else which minimizes it’s effect on me.
I continued this for a rough 3-4 weeks until it just wasn’t rough anymore. I became used to diverting my anxious thoughts. My general level of anxiety had decreased. I still didn’t feel comfortable enough to be around other people yet, but I could be with myself. And I felt confident about this. This was a huge win for me. Because it would later pave the way for me to overcome my social anxiety.
Around the same time, I picked up this book, “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” Read through it once. Loved it. It talked about how many of us feel shame and how shame limits us from reaching our true potential in relationships. I realized that shame is just another type of anxious thought. So I practiced controlling my shame when I was alone. Something as simple as going out to eat could make me feel shameful, for spending money, for eating out. Whatever. My mind could come up with an excuse to make me feel ashamed about it. But I went through with it anyway and reinforced myself by telling myself that I’m doing this for me. It’s okay to do things for yourself. It’s okay to say what’s on your mind. It’s okay to feel a certain way about something. It’s okay. You’re okay. Actually, you’re alright.
These mental exercises really helped me to develop self confidence when I was alone. So I started to allow myself to be around others. I had already practiced on controlling my negative thoughts when I was alone, so how is it different when there are other people around? You do the same thing like you do alone, control your thoughts. Except in social situations, you can’t dwell in your internal turmoil. You need to be externally engaged. So just like washing my dishes or doing my laundry, I would divert my attention away from my anxious thoughts and onto whatever the person in front of me is saying. This made me a better listener. As I listened more intently, my responses became more relevant, coherent, understanding.
And here I am. I’m not the best socializer, but I can hold my own. I’m a great listener. I give relevant and meaningful responses to others. I’m no longer self-absorbed in situations in which I dwelled in my own anxiety (*this is social anxiety). I’m engaged. Just like I’m doing the dishes or the laundry.
I. No Fap Benefits:
- Increased energy: I would say that this is the pivotal benefit out of all the benefits of NoFap that will help your growth the most, simply because it will give you the energy to try more. To read that extra self-help book, to go outside for that jog, to push yourself to cook that meal at home instead of ordering out. And what’s great about this is that it’s like weight-lifting. Your stamina will only increase as you use more of your energy and push your limits. NoFap will give you that extra energy boost you need or rather, conserve your energy by avoiding that terrible deflated feeling you get after you masturbate.
- More comfortable in my own body: I can spend time alone now and feel just fine with myself. I can look at myself directly in the mirror, which feels great. I’ve never been self-conscious about my own looks, but I was never really able to look at myself in the mirror until now. I suspect this has something to do with feeling subconsciously shameful about how I spent my time (smoking weed, watching porn, being lazy).
- More in control of my emotions: instead of resorting to weed, porn, alcohol, or even friends, I can sit with myself and analyze how I’m feeling. Feeling bad doesn’t feel that bad anymore, simply because I know that it won’t last. I’ve learned that emotions are fleeting and that a large part of being human is learning to embrace them, whether good or bad. Each emotion is unique and consummates our experience as a human on this planet. It’s how we relate to others. It’s not just our joys that connect us, but also our shared sorrows. (See ‘The Guest House’ by Rumi)
- More confident around others: I look people in the eye when I speak. My voice seems to have gotten deeper. I feel still and calm during silences. I feel respected by others.
- More humble: This journey has taught me so much about myself and my own flaws. Somewhere along the way I realized that I’m not the only one that has flaws. Everyone else does too. This was a profound realization for me. Ever since, I’ve felt more humble around others, less judgmental, and more appreciative of the bravery that it takes to be yourself amidst our conformist culture
- Better conversations with girls: I was at a party last week and for the first time in my entire college career I held a conversation with a really attractive girl where I had no sexual intentions. I asked her about what she liked to do in her free time, what projects she was working on in school as an aerospace engineer, and we made comments about others at the party as we just sat next to each other and people-watched. I could tell she felt really comfortable in my presence and she was enjoying our conversation. On top of all that, I didn’t drink a drop of alcohol. I had water. The host offered me a drink and I graciously declined. She told me she really liked me for that, and that’s how we started talking to each other. Unfortunately I didn’t get her number because she left while I was in the restroom, but I didn’t trip about it. I appreciated our conversation and time together for what it was and didn’t feel needy whatsoever about it. Who knows, maybe I’ll see around again. But for now, I feel great about meeting someone as interesting and attractive as her and holding a great conversation without any alcohol.
- New take on women (and people in general): Before this journey, I never realized how sexualized women were in my mind. It wasn’t until I began to meditate that I observed my anxious thoughts and feelings around women and where they originated from. I realized that I sought validation from women in my social interactions with them (even more so the more attractive they were) and I didn’t really treat them as regular people. An emotionally healthy individual doesn’t need validation from anyone, not men or women. A confident individual reinforces and sustains his own emotional well-being. He doesn’t view his interactions with women as a telling point of his self-worth or capabilities. This realization has helped me to interact with women eye-to-eye (literally and figuratively). At the end of the day, women are human (just like men) that desire connection with other humans. Nobody wants to be objectified and degraded to a single line of thought, whether sexual or not. We are all multi-faceted, regardless of gender, and have value in various aspects of our lives that we want to be appreciated for. This outlook really helped me to connect on a deeper level with that girl from the party (see above). And I suspect that this outlook will continue to provide richer and deeper relationships with other women (and men) in the future.
- More studious
- Almost no brain fog
- Anxiety went from 8.5 to about a 2-3 (still improving everyday): In tandem with NoFap, I’ve also started to meditate pretty consistently (about 20 minutes a day). I highly recommend meditating for anyone that would like to improve their anxiety. It helps to slow down your thoughts so that you can sort through them and be more certain of how you feel about things. Huge aid before social situations if you’re feeling a little nervous or unsure of yourself.
- Better relationships with guy friends: I feel more confident in my own masculinity and myself as.. a guy. I believe this improvement stems from the improvement in my social anxiety, but I just feel more confident around other men. I stand tall with my shoulders relaxed if we’re standing around in a circle. My body language feels more masculine and confident. I’m not afraid to share my opinions. I’m not afraid to approach another guy. But on top of all this, I think the most pronounced benefit in this category is that I no longer feel like it’s necessary to “assert my dominance.” I don’t need to prove to other guys that I’m more masculine than them or I’m more disciplined than them or whatever it is that sets me apart from them. I accept myself for who I am and I bring myself, the whole asianamericanpsycho package, wherever I go and contribute when I need to. I don’t need other men to validate me or compliment me. I’m fine just being myself and exuding a natural confidence that doesn’t feel like I’m trying to put the other guys around me down. In fact, I want other guys around me to speak up and join in on the fun because that makes the time that I’m having better too.
- More pronounced jawline (result of diet + calisthenics)
- Strong sexual tension around girls but feeling perfectly comfortable and in control
- More patient
And much more (will continue to update this post)
II. Synopsis of “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (a must-read!)
Over the past two weeks or so, I feel like I’ve grown a lot. I read this book called No More Mr. Nice Guy, which is about how the current generation of men in society are basing their identities on what women expect from them. Men are unhealthily seeking women’s validation but aren’t harnessing their masculinity by living lives that satisfy themselves. The book continues to say that men aren’t giving voice to their own desires and are becoming more submissive and timid in situations.
Other parts of the book referenced how this attitude towards life translates to relationships, both romantic and platonic. In romantic relationships, “nice guys” place their woman on a pedestal, serving her every need and doing everything possible for her in hopes of receiving something from her in return, whether it be sex, validation, etc. These nice guys minimize their own needs in fear of creating conflict if they were to voice them and focus all their attention on fulfilling the needs of their woman. Eventually, these unhealthy habits lead to sexually repressed and frustrated men that aren’t so ‘nice’ anymore as they are more prone to anger outbursts and manipulative behavior to get what they want. Instead of practicing masculine traits such as assertiveness and confidence, these nice guys will conceal their manipulative behavior by presenting themselves as selfless partners that are willing to travel to the deepest ends to meet their partner’s needs. This act is draped in a false sense of nobility which disguises the manipulative intent of the man, which is the fact that he is acting to get something in return. He is not acting out of love or abundance, but rather from a place of desperate neediness in which he validates his behavior by shrouding it as good-mannered conduct.
These men are weak. They don’t have the confidence to withstand rejection. The idea is that it takes strength to act beneficially towards your significant other without the expectation of a reciprocal action from your partner. Now, this is not to say that relationships shouldn’t have this reciprocal exchange of kind acts toward one another. It’s to say that they shouldn’t be reciprocal. These acts shouldn’t be related to the last deed your partner did for you. You’re not buying her flowers because she gave you great head last night. She’s not giving you great head because you bought her flowers the other day. You’re buying her flowers because you love her and you want to see her happy. You’re giving him great head because you genuinely want to make him feel good. These actions are coming from a genuine place of wholeness. These actions are independent from one another. These actions require you to be vulnerable.
These insights also translate to platonic relationships. It’s possible to have unhealthy platonic relationships with others because of the desire for validation from others. People like to be given things, not have things being taken away from them. The nice guy wants to hang out with his friends because he wants to feel validated by them. He doesn’t hang out with them because he genuinely appreciates their uniqueness and the creative, light-hearted banter that ensues when he hangs out with them. No, he just wants to be in their presence and feel appreciated, even if he isn’t contributing anything to the group’s chemistry. These attitudes often go unnoticed to the individual himself, but they will eventually permeate through his thoughts and into his outward demeanor in these social settings. He will be less talkative, more concerned about others’ opinions about him as he keeps his engagement with the group entirely internal. He thinks he’s an active listener, which isn’t a bad thing, but his desire for validation and fear of unacceptance from his friends will keep him silent. He has no output, no social personality, nothing for the people around him to embrace and appreciate. He can’t be vulnerable. He can’t stand the fact that the next thing he says might go completely unnoticed and ignored. He can’t stand the fact that the majority of the group might not share the same opinion as his, and this tears away at his confidence as he’s internally contemplating whether or not he should speak up to share his own personal opinion. Most of the time, he’ll choose to stay quiet and although he feels like this is the safer option, it rots his social confidence and self-esteem. Interactions such as these will reinforce this mindset and he only digs himself into a deeper hole.
III. Personal Insights from Personal Failures and Book
These are the things I’ve noticed the past three months, through my own personal experiences. However, ever since reading this book about two weeks, I feel as though I’ve grown immensely. When I first read the book, I felt like it described my life to the T. I’ve always been described by others as a nice guy. I was a pretty popular and well-known guy in my first year of college and people knew me for being the really nice guy. And I liked it. I reveled in the fact that I was ‘different’ from other guys. I entered a relationship with one of the most attractive girls in my class for about a year until it ended horribly. After I read this book, I felt like it described my platonic and romantic relationships perfectly.
I wasn’t the good-looking, popular, masculine guy I believed myself to be. I was a narcissistic, approval-seeking, unassertive guy that lived for others. I wasn’t the dream of a boyfriend I thought I was. I was the ‘good-natured’ manipulative asshole that treated his girlfriend as an object and validation-provider more than a person. I was in a relationship with my ex for almost one and a half years. Yet, I wasn’t able to connect with her emotionally. To this day, I can’t say I know her that well. There was and is a large part of her that I feel like is missing in my experiences, which I never sought to address or figure out during the relationship. The best way I could put it was that my relationship with her was a Beautiful Mess (Jason Mraz). There was no vulnerability in our interactions. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had built walls between us so high due to my insecurities and unwillingness to be vulnerable that at the end of our relationship, I felt entirely disconnected from her. I took the breakup really hard, but not because I felt like I lost someone that was special to me, someone that I shared deep intimate bonds with. The breakup destroyed me because I had nobody left to validate me, nobody to make me feel that I was valuable. I felt worthless, useless, and unwanted not only by her and my peers, but worst of all myself. I didn’t want to be me. That’s how shitty my life felt like at the time.
Fast forward two years of frat partying and several meaningless drunken sexual encounters, I discovered NoFap. I was skeptical at first, but I was depressed, unmotivated, and desperate for a way out of my slump of a life. So I tried it. I quit my fraternity the summer before my fourth year, found a beautiful home that I luckily found with several other friends, and decided that I would turn my life around. Over the next quarter, I would start NoFap and invest entirely in myself. I quit partying. I quit smoking weed. I quit hitting up friends to hang out because I felt lonely and had nothing to do. I took up calisthenics. I took up a healthier diet. I began playing more basketball (huge hobby of mine, played since the third grade). I bought an academic planner and began to plan out my weeks. I studied harder. I found studious friends. I spent my time more productively. I deleted Snapchat and Instagram. I only use Facebook to keep in touch with a few friends, but I don’t actively post nor do I scour the newsfeed anymore to see what everyone else is up to. My life became my top priority and I got rid of anything that took away from that focus. Today, I’m on day 65 of Nofap.
If you’ve read this far, thank you for taking time to look through this post. This is the first time I’m sharing my journey with anyone and I’ve gotta say it feels tremendously liberating and empowering to share my successes with you guys. If you guys are currently struggling with NoFap, I wrote another post the other day about how there are some days where you feel like you’re back to square 1. Don’t be disappointed in yourself, it’s not your fault that you feel shitty. It’s all a part of the rebooting process. I’ll be continuing this for as long as I can and I plan on submitting another post around 100 days. Good luck my fellow Fapstronauts and thank you for all the insightful and funny posts in this sub that kept me going even when I didn’t think I could make it another day. You guys are the real MVPs.
Don’t let the title fool you. I don’t think that men should no longer be nice. That’s not what the book talks about. The book is about how men in this generation have lost their masculinity, are no longer assertive, have become dependent on the validation of women, and are no longer the attractive and confident men that they were truly meant to be. It focuses on changing men’s flawed perceptions of themselves and others (both women and men) to stimulate personal growth and help them to reclaim their self-confidence and self-esteem.