Dating Myself & Loving It: You Can Too!
Dating myself was something I did occasionally and without intention. I’d take myself out to dinner at my favorite restaurant because my husband didn’t like seafood. Or, I’d grab a cup of coffee at the nearest Barnes & Noble, or even go to the movies alone. At the time, I thought I was ‘doing me’. I wasn’t even scraping the surface of what it means to ‘do me’.
Hello, beautiful ones! I pray that you’re doing exceedingly well!
Yep, I’m a firm believer in dating myself. I mean, who else is more amazing, smart, funny, than me? Who else loves me unconditionally and won’t kick me out for snorting when I laugh or slob on the pillowcase when I sleep? TMI? Sorry, not sorry! On a serious note, if I’m not willing to date myself how can I teach someone else how to date me if I don’t have a clue about what I like, who I am, where I’m going, how I plan to get there, and so on. Isn’t that what dating someone is supposed to tell them about you and vice versa?
SHOP MY LOOK
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After moving to Virginia in 2011, alone & with no family within a 500-mile radius, I quickly learned how important it was for me to get a handle on my life and finally, yes finally, peel back the layers of my life to get to know the real Tracey. Sistas, my journey to self-discovery began in earnest almost immediately because I had never lived alone. I went from living with my parents to living on my own with my daughter, before I married her father a few months before her 2nd birthday, and then living with my husband. Even after that marriage ended and I married a 2nd time, my kids and new husband were still in the home with me. So yes, this was my first time living completely alone with me, myself and I. It was scary, to say the least, but it was also incredibly invigorating. It was in those quiet moments in my apartment that I realized I was clueless as to who I was, let alone what I wanted in life. It floored me because I thought I had my stuff together, and everyone else did as well. Heck, I was the one doling out advice and helping other people get their ish together. If only they knew, if only they knew!
Sitting in my place, I realized that I had put everyone else’s happiness ahead of my own. I realized that I had put all of my energy into being someone’s wife & mother and had totally forgotten that I needed to be poured into as well by myself, for my own growth and self-care. I realized that despite the professional success that I had attained I was still looking for myself. I recognized that there were holes in my heart, mind, spirit, and soul that required extensive treatment and, quite possibly, rehabilitative care. The funny thing is, as I look at my life, I recognized all of these things in 2009 during my 1st solo vacation but thought that change was only needed in my marriage, specifically my then husband.
Coming to grips with my new life and the work that I had to do to finally live the life I dreamed of wasn’t easy. However, I knew it was the only way for me to understand and experience what it meant to live joyfully and in the moment in spite of life’s ups & downs. So, I started planning activities for myself. In the beginning, I did ‘safe’ things like going to local events where I could easily blend in. I wasn’t afraid to be alone or that people would know I was alone. I was afraid of what I would uncover. I was scared of the quiet. I was petrified of the unknown. Hence, I found places to go that didn’t require me to think, be quiet, or be still. Once I realized that I was sabotaging myself and recognized that dating myself could no longer be an afterthought, but an event to do with intention and purpose, I received aha moments that uncorked volumes & volumes of tears, anger, pain, laughter, clarity, revelations, and happiness. I remembered what made my heart happy, what brought me pain, what was important to me, what had to change, what direction to go, where I made mistakes, where I wronged others, how I didn’t love myself, and the steps I had to take to live my best life.
The key to your sanity, personal development, & healing from the past is focused attention to self.
Even though I’ve mastered dating myself and am now in a relationship, I still make time to be present with myself alone. In fact, I believe that it is imperative that we should continue dating ourselves long after we’re in a romantic relationship, have a dope squad, and even after marriage. Why? Because no matter who is in our life we are continuously changing and growing which means it will be harder to remain authentic to self. At times, even though we would think not, our self-esteem and self-worth are eroded because we get wrapped up in taking care of everyone else and put ourselves on the backburner.
Spending quality, intentional time with myself gave me peace, but it also convicted me, humbled me, uplifted me, and aligned me with my purpose. Dating myself with intention released me to be me fearlessly, authentically, and unapologetically; I want the same for you. I am not going to sugarcoat it or coddle you: dating yourself isn’t fun in the beginning, but the payoff is worth the anxiety and more! Here’s what I did each time I took myself on a date:
Dating yourself with intention releases you to be yourself fearlessly, authentically, & unapologetically.
- I wore a gorgeous outfit that made me want to date myself! I felt that if I was willing to put the work in to make someone else’s eyes happy when they looked at me I sure as heck wanted my own eyes to be happy too. No skimping on yourself. You deserve as much, no more than, attention to detail as you would give a man that you are dating or even your spouse. There’s only one you and you need to love on you during your solo date.
- I invested in quality events that I truly wanted to attend. I deserve the best and if I expected someone else to give me the best I needed to do the same. I can’t teach someone else to do this if I’m not willing to or capable of doing it for myself.
- I stayed true to me and did not cancel on myself. It’s easy to back out of a date with yourself because you think no one can be hurt; this is so not true. We often tell this lie to ourselves, sadly. The moment you ditch your solo date to stay home or do something with someone else you subconsciously tell yourself that you’re not worth it. You subconsciously tell yourself that the work it requires is too hard and it doesn’t matter because nothing will change. You’re right. Nothing will change until you put the work in to bring about change. Remember, YOU ARE WORTH IT AND OWE IT TO YOURSELF!
- I actively dated and loved on myself. I bought myself flowers, hugged myself, complimented myself, and even kissed myself. All of these things helped me to realize how unique, special, and beautiful I am inside and out. They also helped me to understand my love languages and why they were not ‘wants,’ but bonafide needs.
- I journaled about my date. There was something new that I learned on each date and I didn’t want to forget any of it. I wanted to capture the moment, the essence of it, how I felt, my thoughts, and more. I can now look back at those entries and see how far I’ve come so that I have the ammunition to stay the course. Believe it or not, my entries made me feel invincible each time I read them. They also gave me the courage to continue to dig for answers that held me hostage to the past.
- I protected my time alone and did not allow interruptions from others. It’s tempting to chat it up with someone else who is alone or someone who tries to make conversation with you while out, especially at dinner. I politely told people that I was enjoying my ‘me’ time and stay focused on my goal. They got it and left me alone. For those that I would have liked to talk with in the future, I asked them for their contact information. Honestly, there weren’t many times this happened, but it does.
Sisterfriends, I hope my story inspires and motivates you to date yourself intentionally and often. I promise you that if you incorporate my tips you will enjoy dating yourself immensely.
When was the last time you went on a planned, intentional solo date? How has dating yourself changed your life for the better? Can’t wait to read your comments below!
As always, keep it Chic.Classy.Spicy.