In order to date other people happily and courageously, I believe we need to start by dating ourselves.
All too often we approach dating as some kind of giant jigsaw puzzle for jagged hearts. We believe all we need to do to feel happy and heal past hurts is to meet our perfect fit – our Mr. Right.
Phrases like “other half,” “soul mate” and “twin flame” rain down on us like heart-shaped confetti, encouraging us in our quest.
Jerry Maguire famously said, “You complete me,” in what has gone down as one of the most romantic scenes in movie history.
But I think Jerry was wrong.
I think it is impossible for another person to complete you. If you approach dating with this expectation, it can lead to a whole world of stress.
Not only does it imply you are in some way incomplete, but it also puts a ton of pressure on the person you are dating. As we all know, pressure can be the biggest passion killer.
If you feel you might be dating as a way of completing yourself and are thinking things like…
- “Please be The One.”
- “As soon as I meet Mr. Right, I’ll be happy.”
- “The only way to get over my hurt is to meet someone new.”
… then you need to put dating others on a temporary hold and set about dating yourself.
The key to dating yourself is to treat yourself as you would another. There must be no cutting corners because it’s only you.
“Whatever you do, the key
thing is to treat yourself.”
Simply follow the steps below to woo yourself with style:
1. Find a convenient time.
Pick a time when you’ll feel relaxed and at your best. Do not try and grab a few minutes between work and the weekly grocery trip.
2. Ask yourself where you would really like to go.
Maybe a play or exhibition has recently caught your attention? Maybe you have a favorite museum you haven’t been to in ages? Maybe you fancy trying out the brand new restaurant in town? No popping to the nearest drive-thru for a quick burger and fries.
3. Wear something really nice.
Would you turn up on a date wearing sweatpants with a hole in the crotch? Treat yourself with the same respect and don’t dress down for yourself. Dress up!
4. Spend time complimenting yourself.
It’s probably best not to do this out loud. Make a list inside your head of all the things you are proud of and all the ways in which you have grown stronger and wiser from past hurts.
If you are able to, write these things in a love note to yourself. There’s something very powerful about writing loving words to yourself. They tend to stick far better than thoughts.
5. Buy yourself a gift.
A bouquet of flowers, a book of poems, a box of Swiss chocolate or even a bottle of fancy wine will do the trick.
Spoil yourself because, as the shampoo ad says, you are worth it. Do not actually buy yourself a bottle of shampoo or anything else you could buy on your normal trip to the grocery store.
When you get home from your date, jot down your observations about the experience.
Ask yourself the following key questions:
- How did it make me feel about myself?
- How did spending quality time with myself make me see that I am already perfectly complete?
Keep taking yourself on dates until you feel totally and utterly complete. Then, and only then, should you begin dating others.
And enjoy doing so with a full, relaxed and hopeful heart!