It’s spring. You can feel it in the air. People are coming out of hibernation and stepping out on the town. Dating can be fun. But to be the most effective dater, I suggest also dating yourself.
Dating yourself may seem like a weird idea, but if you won't spend time with yourself, if you can't be curious about who you are or what you want or what you need or what makes you happy, how can you expect someone else to do it? How can you show up as a whole person in a relationship if you don’t know or like yourself?
So how do you date yourself?
Spend time with yourself. A date is basically setting aside time to spend in someone's company. So, when you are dating yourself, set aside time to spend time alone without distraction. Put away the phone, put down the alcohol, weed, or food. Go for a run or hike or bike ride without headphones. Hang at home without the TV on, sit in the bath and let your mind wander. Sit alone and practice being able to just be still and pay attention to yourself and your thoughts.
Do novel things. A lot of meaningful dates involve doing something new. Put yourself in a situation that you haven't been in before. You often find that you learn something about yourself when you're taken out of your comfort zone or when you're not an expert or when you don't you're not in control. You can also find out more about what you like and what turns you on if you're engaging in new activities.
Journal. Dates usually involve conversation and finding out about the other person. Journaling can act like a conversation with yourself. Sit down and think about what's happened during the day. What were the thoughts or feelings that stood out to you? If the day felt good or unpleasant or was boring, note that. But don't stop there. Be curious and ask why. Some interesting things to ponder are: have I felt like this before? does this remind me of something or someone? how old do I feel when that happens? who else or what else has made me feel this way? is this something that I would like to feel again? what can I learn from this? what does this show me about who I am? what does a show me about who I want to be?
Just like real dating, it takes time for the relationship with yourself to grow. It may feel awkward or uncomfortable at first. Change and growth is rarely comfortable or easy. Trust that it gets better with time and practice. Therapy can help you manage roadblocks and can help guide the process too.