Recently, I started doing something I never really did before. Or at least I never put a title on it. I’m not one for defining every little thing, but I think this really deserved to be set apart, lifted up high and given it’s due spotlight.
I began dating myself.
Yes, that’s right. I decided to take a closer look at my own relationship with myself and I decided that I needed to court myself, just as two lovers would when first getting to know each other. Think that’s silly? Read on…
Recently a friend of mine made the statement that she believes you have to recognize your Self is in a relationship with your Self. It’s truly such a simple thought, but one I had not really thought of so clearly before. So I began to really think about it and of course, she was right. It’s terribly difficult, as all relationships are, but I encourage you to look at your Self this way and see what comes up.
I recently posted these words on Facebook with a photo:
“Beginning a new relationship is so nerve-racking, yet so exciting. You take your time getting to know that person, through and through. You’ll find things you like, things you so desperately love and things you’re just not sure you can get on board with. You look forward to creating memories with this person and your biggest hope is that the love lasts for all time. I mean, you’re aware of the fact that there will be bumps in the road, but you’re hopeful that you will find a way to persevere in love, forgiveness, devotion and the innate desire to make it last forever. As you grow together, you’ll discover new and wonderful things. Sometimes the twists and turns will be too much and you won’t know how to navigate, winding up in knock down, drag out fights completely unsure of what will be left after the dust settles.
My hope for you is that you decide to stick it out. I hope that you remember that though you fight, disagree and even HATE each other at times, it’s worth it. It’s worth hanging onto the love, the beauty and the peace that sits right there, holding tight right back.
Be kind. Be respectful. Be patient. Be loving. Find the humor in all the seemingly painful moments and for the love of all things…hold on and never let go. Take care of each other, be there for each other and never ever, and I mean ever, give up. It’s simply too precious to throw it all away.
And so begins your journey…with your Self.”
With that being said, I decided to start treating myself to dates with myself. Here’s the thing: I loooooooove eating in restaurants by myself. When I shop, I want to shop alone. I love walking by myself, going to the movies by myself, traveling by myself. I’m not a leader. I’m not a follower. I am a loner. So I truly enjoy “alone time”. But the thing is, I decided to shift my perception of “alone time” to “self dating time”, and I kid you not, it has changed so many things. I am now so much more conscious of being more gentle and tender with myself, as you would on a lover’s date. I am so much more relaxed with myself and allow myself to indulge in things that you would do on a “special” date. I put time aside for my dates, just as I do for my own husband.
And here is the best part: the guilt I used to feel for not wanting anyone to interrupt my “me time” is gone. I now see this as an integral part of building my own happy, healthy and contented life. And you should too.
For far too long we women have been raised to believe our voice should be smaller, our opinions should be lighter and our needs should come last. And I bet you right now you are exhausted, run down, discontented and wish about 4,987,3822 times a day you could just take a break. At night you daydream about having an afternoon to yourself or even being able to just have a cup of coffee in the morning and actually be able to drink the whole thing while it’s warm!
Well I’m here not only to tell you that this is all possible, but to give you the permission you thought you didn’t have to simply start taking care of you. It doesn’t have to be grand (at first). It could be 30 minutes you set aside for a walk, flipping through a magazine, a cup of warm coffee through and through, an uninterrupted phone call with your bestie.
And right now you’re like “yeah right”. But hear this: if you believe you cannot get 30 minutes a day to yourself for just a moment’s peace and quiet, then you need 60 minutes. And hear this: if you cannot get that time it is because you have taught those around you to not value your time and voice. The good news? It’s reversible. Just as you gave those around you the power to eat all your time and space up, you can take it away. And listen–I know for single mamas this struggle is REAL. Just remember: they have to go to sleep sometime! Instead of using those first 30 minutes to clean up, pack lunches for tomorrow or get a bit of work done, sit down and indulge in that one show you wouldn’t tell anyone you watch for fear of total embarrassment. You deserve this more than anyone.
And before you email, message and yell at me about some woman’s situation that is the prime example of why “self time” is impossible, know that I am not being flippant or a know-it-all. Of course I know that there are just some situations where the difficulty or even desire or priority to make some “me time” is just crazy. I get it.
It’s a work in progress for me too and trust me, I’m not perfect at it to say the least. I had to set ground rules about being interrupted when at home working. It’s still a work in progress, BIG TIME. But both my husband and my daughter know if you interrupt me when I’m working, they get to own the reaction. I know it sounds harsh and this is why you’re having a problem with getting your own time: you’re too worried about being nice. Knock that shit off right now. I work A LOT. I mean…A LOT and that work brings in money, ergo, give me the respect and time I need to devote myself to my work. Treat me as if I am not home and in an office somewhere and you can’t see me. They are both starting to learn that if you give me the uninterrupted time I need to get my work done, when I’m not working I’m all yours. If you can’t give me the respect and time I need to get my shit done, then you don’t get the respect and time you need to spend with me, uninterrupted. Period.
So here’s your permission to set your own boundaries. Take yourself out to dinner, a movie and even a shopping spree. Don’t want to spend money? Make yourself a cup of coffee, go sit on your porch and cruise all the gossip sites on your phone while you relax and listen to birds. Take a magazine and go sit outside or on a busy street and people watch. Walk around the block, lock the bathroom door and try that new hairstyle you saw in Vogue, turn a closet into a “sanity nook” and pour yourself a glass of wine and throw a cushion down and drink up! And when you really want to get clever, make your husband and kids a “date night” of their own. Make a fancy gift certificate and present it with lavish effect and get them the hell out of the house for a day while you actually get to lay around your own home…alone. No husband to toss the kiddos at? Ask your bestie, neighbor, babysitter, mom/dad, sibling or whoever.
The point is: quit making yourself last. Gone are the days when mother martyrdom was the cool thing. How do I know that? Because tell me you don’t look up to women that actually do the stuff I’m talking about? I do. And when I post about taking a spa day with a friend, traveling alone, taking myself out to dinner or any activity that inspires an “Oh my gosh….what I would give to be able to do that for an afternoon…” I get COUNTLESS messages of “I wish!” and “I’m so jelly!” and “Someday I’m going to do that!” and all of those messages are followed up with reasons they all believe they can’t take a moment to themselves.
Yes. You. Can.
Hey, wanna go on a date??