In 2023, invest in the most significant relationship you have: the one with yourself. How to date yourself isn’t something you should learn around New Year’s or Valentine’s Day; it’s something you can learn all year long. Our current culture pressures us to have it all, often at the expense of ourselves. Some of us wake up in the morning and don’t know who we are anymore. This article shall seek to explore the ways and reasons to date yourself.
To help you better navigate the world of dating, you can begin your journey by first dating yourself. It’s difficult to evaluate the suitability of someone else as a partner if you haven’t taken the time to get to know yourself. Your relationship with others will be affected by how you view yourself.
If you’ve had a hard time dating, either because you’ve been rejected, you’re constantly disappointed, or you’re just not meeting the right type of partner, it might be time to go inward.
Even if you’re not looking for a romantic partner at this time, spending time thinking about your likes and dislikes as well as your goals can enable you to be clearer about who you are. You’ll become more comfortable just being you and participating in the world.
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Barriers to Dating Yourself
While it sounds a little self-indulgent, it makes sense to date yourself and go deep to discover who you are. Some reasons you might feel uncomfortable with this concept might include:
- Societal messages might interfere by saying dating yourself is selfish or uncool.
- Your own cognitive bias might prevent you from wanting to do so.
- Fear might stop you from dealing with problems that you’ve effectively buried.
- Your own self-judgment might become an obstacle in your desire to better connect with yourself.
Steps to Take Before Dating Yourself
When you date online or through an app, you get to know one another after making overtures. You converse, ask questions and build rapport. When you meet in person, you usually eat, drink, or participate in an activity. The point is you’re assessing and learning about one another to determine if you want to take the relationship further.
When you date yourself, you are actively listening to yourself. You’re determining your likes, dislikes, passions, and vulnerabilities. You are valuing yourself, caring for yourself, and figuring out what matters most.
Begin your exploration by taking care of yourself. That could mean papering yourself with baths, candles, and massages. But on a fundamental level, self-care is about promoting your well-being.
In a recent study1 which was a systematic review of self-care, scientists defined self-care as promoting optimal health, preventing illness, and managing chronic illness. Results revealed that people struggle in trying to engage in self-care. They abandon self-care when they’re overwhelmed by negative health symptoms, a disability, and when they don’t feel supported.
Safeguard Your Physical and Mental Health
The first step in self-care is to pay attention to your physical and mental health and make it a priority. That means you practice good sleep hygiene. If you haven’t already begun to, you also eat nutritiously because what you eat impacts your stress and anxiety. Exercise regularly for both its physical and mental health benefits.
You’ll want to develop strategies for self-care, plan ahead on what you’ll do when stressors and challenges arrive, and be sure to schedule time just for you.
Be Kind To Yourself
We wouldn’t typically treat our brothers or colleagues unkindly. Yet, we sometimes talk meanly or critically to ourselves without a second thought.
That inner critic that chastises you for your mistakes decreases your sense of motivation at the same time. Persistent negative views of yourself may even instill feelings of helplessness.
Negative self-talk can be toxic. It’s best to neutralize this voice, challenge it, or treat yourself in the first place as you would your bestie. Treat yourself with self-compassion as you are a human being doing the best you can.
Get Rid of Distractions
If your self-care activities include numbing yourself by binge-watching television, overeating, or misusing alcohol, you may be using these activities as distractions or to numb out. When you’re tired, avoiding major issues like this might work in the very short term.
But in the long term, it’s better to face things and be honest with yourself. By slowing down and focusing on yourself for a change, you will become present. Notice your feelings and emotions and process them through some of these practices:
- Journal writing can help you cope with panic and anxiety.
- Practice deep breathing and mindfulness meditation to ward off negativity and invite more calm into your life.
You’ve heard that if you’re on an airplane in an emergency to put on the oxygen mask first, and only then can you help others. In the same way, it’s important to focus on and love yourself first. Only then can you give to and love others. Therefore, it’s wise to date yourself first.
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Bianca L. Rodriguez, EdM, licensed marriage and family therapist says, “The most important relationship you have is with yourself. Learning to love, appreciate and celebrate yourself is a skill most people aren’t taught, but they should be. Dating yourself can help you build self-love.”
It’s important to have high self-esteem. When you’re confident and have high self-esteem, you love yourself, believe your ideas have value, have self-respect, and can maintain a positive image of yourself.
Learning to love, appreciate and celebrate yourself is a skill most people aren’t taught, but they should be.
While this idea of dating yourself might seem a little far-fetched at the beginning, give it a try. Rodriguez says it might feel strange to take yourself out to a meal or museum, but like anything you practice, you’ll get used to it. Little by little, she says, you’ll feel more comfortable in your own skin as a result of self-love.
Rodriguez adds, “When you take the time to date yourself, you acknowledge your worth which is the underpinning of healthy self-esteem and (having healthy) boundaries.”
When you appreciate who you are and what you have, you activate gratitude. Gratitude makes you happier. It also reduces your pain level, increases your immunity, and positively impacts your psychological well-being.
Recent research looked at the effect of a gratitude intervention on a sample of adults and how it related to well-being and mental health. The study showed that the gratitude intervention increased positive affect, subjective happiness, and life satisfaction. Gratitude also helped reduce negative affect and depression symptoms.2
Showing appreciation for yourself will likely make you even more comfortable expressing appreciation to others. Once you start dating again, your interpersonal relationships can only get better.
Solo Date Ideas and Activities
Here are some simple solo date ideas to try out on a free day or weekend:
- Dress up and enjoy a meal at your favorite restaurant.
- Go for a leisurely walk in a beautiful park.
- Attend a museum show or gallery exhibition.
- Buy yourself popcorn and attend a movie you really want to see.
- List the people you most admire and write why you admire them.
- List your core values.
- Write the many ways your life has a purpose.
- Write a list of the things you’re most proud of.
In summary, once you take care of yourself, give yourself love, and appreciate who you are, you’ve changed your mindset. You’ve also modified your outlook in a positive way. You’ll no longer worry about people-pleasing or concern yourself with being liked. You’ll bring a stronger you when you start dating others. You’ve grown your inner confidence and inner strength.
I hope you find this article helpful.