Dating Yourself

I have never been a supporter of online dating.  I think the cons outweigh the pros.  

For example: You decide to say yes to meeting up with someone you've exchange a few messages with on some app.  You don't really know who they are.  You've only received the heavily curated pictures that said person has provided. You could actually be going on a "date" with a murderer or a kidnapper or a member of some sort of cult that is trying to steal people to grow it's population.  Anything is possible. 

At least when you meet a creepy dude in person, at a bar or a club or on the subway, your spidey-sense for creepy dudes can activate and stop you from making a huge mistake.

Dating other humans is hard.  Almost as hard as dating yourself.

What does that even mean?  

One of the most important ingredients in rejuvenating is the self-date.  In her book The Artist's Way Julia Cameron describes and artist date in which the artist spends some QT with themselves to replenish their stores of creativity.  Whether you consider yourself a creative or not, take yourself on a date. Wine and dine and treat yo'self like you would a potential SO.

Many of us spend time taking care of or giving to other people.  In my case, it actually feels INCREDIBLY uncomfortable to receive anything, a compliment, assistance, a gift, an accolade.  Part of that comes from the way I spend most of my days; I teach adults and children every day and in the majority of my relationships I am a giver, a caretaker, a healer, a compassionate person who actively listens.  Not playing that role is way outside of my comfort zone because it feels I have done nothing to deserve what I'm getting.  That is a poisonous thought because it tells me that I am not enough.  I am deficient in X and that is why I shouldn't receive.  That habitual thought pattern is hard to break.  Show yourself that you are worth it to YOU.  Once you feel worth it, receiving from other people is less overwhelming.  

So how exactly do I take myself on a date?

Great question.  

Your date can be anything.  Seriously.  It could be a walk by the river during sunset.  It can be a Broadway show.  It can be a concert or a free talk at at bookstore.  What is something that just feels good?  No value judgements involved.  Nothing that involves attachment to the outcome, like needing to create an amazing piece of pottery at a class.  Something that you do because it is fun or whimsical or reminds you of the softness that you possess.  

Schedule your date in your GCal.  Again, I do not joke.  Just like you would schedule in a meeting, a class, your kid's dance recital, it is important to actually make the date with yourself.  Putting it in the calendar and having a reminder pop up is a great way to enforce that this is important.  You are teaching yourself that you are worth the time to recharge and reset.  Giving yourself that time will only make you show up as a better version of you in your relationships, at your job, in literal every aspect of your life.

Ditch the phone.  During this quiet and exclusive date, it can be very tempting to check emails, scroll through Insta or FB, but do your best to put those things on hold.  The addiction to the phone is real.  Take time to separate from the check-ins and mindless scrolling.  It will still be there when you are finished.

Be MindfulDoing anything without being mindful is not a great use of your time or energy.  This date with yourself is a time to invest in your happiness.  Avoid "going through the motions" of making yourself happy.  Something I learned from listening to a friend going through a big breakup was that she stopped realizing how much of herself she was compromising in order to keep her doomed relationship afloat.  She didn't like going on long runs.  She did not enjoy the restaurant they went to every Saturday.  And yet, there she was. Showing up out of habit not out of choice.  Choose to show up for yourself.

The relationship you have with yourself informs all of the other interactions and relationships you have.  Date yourself.  Let yourself feel good, loved, appreciated.  Let yourself recharge and watch how every other part of your life blossoms.