When I first started trying to improve myself, especially with socializing, I came from a very resistant place. I came from a place of anger, frustration, shame, and trying to prove myself. I was very outcome focused. Whenever I made a mistake, failed, or got rejected I was very hard on myself. I would dwell on every negative experience. I wanted to be amazing and have everything I wanted right away. I was seeking completion so things could be easy and certain (much like indulging in PMO). Everything I did was coming from a place of lack. Not enjoying the moment. Disatisfied with the past and longing for the future. The present moment was lacking. This led to neediness and being outcome focused. Which led to being overly cautious / excessively careful / perfectionism / procrastination / escapism. All this led to coping from reality, protecting myself from pain / problems / negative experiences, and making things a lot harder than it needed to be. I had flawed ideas of how things are supposed to be (perfect / smooth / easy) and resisting how things really are (imperfect / uncertain / hard work). So every time I made a mistake / got rejected / failed I would dwell on it and stop the process that needs to happen. Failure / mistakes / rejection is part of the process of trying to gain competence and confidence at something. That's why it takes courage at first. To challenge and grow in something that has no guarantees. Imagine you're a baby that's learning how to walk for the first time. What if after every fall you would dwell on the mistake, be really harsh on yourself, and try to escape from reality. It would take you forever to learn how to walk because it takes a lot of falls to be able to do it. You don't think "I should be able to do this competently right away and everything works out right away". You just keep going through the process of failure and mistakes until you get better. Same thing with socializing. It can get awkward, unideal, messy, uncertain, and non smooth, but if you escape / procrastinate every time things don't work out because you have a perfectionist image of how things are supposed to be, then you'll never get good at it. You would try to be too careful / perfect / smooth. That leads to procrastination because you become paralyzed from trying to make sure there's no imperfection. Looking for the perfect moment / circumstances / method / guarantee before acting. Thus you halt the necessary process of mistakes and failure that leads to actual growth. Allowing yourself to make mistakes and fail is key to growth. Rather than mistake - stop to dwell on it - mistake - stop and escape towards something more easy and certain (porn). When it should be more like mistake - mistake - mistake - failure - rejection - failure - rejection - mistake - mistake - failure - some success - mistake - mistake - getting better - failure - rejection - rejection - success - mistake - mistake - success - success - rejection - failure - success - success - success - success - mistake. It's not about being perfect. It's about being perfectly fine with your imperfection. People connect more with imperfection and being real. These days I say and do awkward, non smooth, and imperfect things all the time, but I don't stop to dwell on it, I just keep going and other people support me when I fuck up and I help them out when they fuck up in an interaction. The more you attempt, the more you'll fail, but also the more you'll succeed. The less you attempt (dwelling on each mistake / failure / rejection), the less you'll fail, but also the less you'll succeed. I say and do some dumb shit sometimes, but because it doesn't bother me nor do I make a big deal about it anymore the other person doesn't care either. So give yourself permission to be non smooth. Taking action that leads to mistakes, failure, and rejection is the way to gain competence and confidence.