Most people don’t have a strong relationship with themselves.
Self-love isn’t talked about in this culture; it’s not practiced. And when we get to feeling empty—as any person who didn’t have a relationship with themselves would—we spend a bunch of energy exploring a relationship with another person. Which never solves the problem.
Romantic relationships are more instantly rewarding, granted—they seem to fill the void for a while. But everyone who’s been in a relationship knows that the void never truly goes away. Once the new-love chemicals fade, our problems resurrect—until we get our relationships with ourselves back on track.
Here are three self-dating tips anyone can try today:
1. Talk to yourself more.
“I know it sounds like I’m crazy,” my client Katie said, “but I’m talking to myself all the time: in my car, in bed, before work—and I love it!”
I assured Katie that talking to herself wasn’t loony, and that if it were, then every professional athlete would be thrown in a mental ward. It’s good to talk to yourself. It’s actually necessary for a positive relationship.
When our partners are feeling down, the natural response is to try and cheer them up by saying something ridiculous or comforting. We can and should do that for ourselves! We need to know that we are 100% in our own corner all of the time, and that we’ve got our own back no matter what. We need to feel loved by ourselves, and one of the most loving things we can do is to talk ourselves up, and thank ourselves for the awesome things we do. Just like we’d do for a partner.
2. Treat yourself.
In the honeymoon phase of dating and marriage, all we can think about is making gifts for our lovers. We want them to know how special they are to us, how beautiful they are, and how much they deserve attention. Gifts aren’t everything, but they are an important bonding tool for any relationship. Even the relationship we have with ourselves!
Let’s get one thing straight—“treat yourself” doesn’t mean pacifying yourself with pointless purchases—and racking up debt. (Please, don’t do that.) But it does mean paying attention to your heart’s desires. If you know that you’ve needed a massage for a long time but haven’t budgeted for it, do it! Save up for that yoga retreat in the mountains! Get that $20,000 Balenciaga bag! (I’m totally kidding about the last one…unless you’re Oprah.)
We need to know that we appreciate ourselves. So, once a week, it’s a good thing to deliberately treat ourselves to an experience or thing that we love. (Doesn’t have to cost anything!)
3. Get to know everything about yourself.
We’ve all played 99 questions with our new partners—it means we’re eager to know them well. We’ve also stopped asking questions when we lost interest in a partner.
Since it’s well established that we are in a relationship with ourselves, we should never, ever, stop asking questions about ourselves.
Here are a few we should ask routinely:
>> What do I really kick ass in?
>> Where do I see myself five years from now? Five months from now? Five weeks from now?
>> Am I doing what I really love?
>> How did I spend my day today?
I think the last question is the most important—because what we do in a day is what we do in a year. Are we kicking ass and doing our best? That might be helpful to know. Equally important to know are the things that help us kick ass, the things that prevent us from kicking ass, and the areas we’d like to kick more ass in. And those are all the things we can discover through journalling.
My client mentioned earlier, Katie, said this about her first week of journaling nightly:
“I feel like this is the strongest relationship I’ve had with myself in years.”
That quote wasn’t surprising, because relationships thrive on quality time, attention, and knowledge—which is what journaling accomplishes better than any other self-improvement tool.
So, if we really want to know and love ourselves, start a regular journaling practice. Not once a year, or once a week—but once a day! It’s our key to a growth-based relationship with ourselves and our partners.
Our self-love is the standard we hold all of our relationships up to. If that standard is low, then our relationships tend to succumb to lower standards as well.
Let’s talk to ourselves more, and treat ourselves regularly. Let’s get to know ourselves all over again through the nightly habit of journaling. It could be the difference between another mediocre relationship and stuff dreams are made of.
Author: Dan Dowling
Image: YouTube still
Editor: Jen Schwartz
Copy Editor: Sara Kärpänen