What’s the deal with… SELF-DATING?
We’ve talked a lot so far about alone time, dating yourself, and overall self-love. I hope we have encouraged you to be more intentional about time spent alone and ways to meet your dating needs through your relationship and bond with yourself. Today I want to get a bit deeper with you on how to get to know yourself on a deeper emotional level as you would any new romantic interest in your life. I’ve broken things up into a few different categories:
We all have emotions. Big ones, small ones, passing ones, confusing ones. Emotional intelligence and regulation are things we all look for in those we date. We want partners to express their emotions, show vulnerability, and act appropriately to release their emotions in an effective way, positive or negative. Having an emotional bond with someone can feel like the ultimate level of closeness. It is important for you to assess how good you are doing these things you want from someone else emotionally. How often do you lean into your emotions, make space for them, name them, and release them or cope with them? In this quest to date yourself I want you to put intention and awareness on your own emotional process and needs. To be attuned to yourself will help you to attune to others.
How? Notice the first initial changes in yourself when there’s a shift in emotion or overall feeling. Maybe you feel it in your body or you find yourself having an action change, such as distancing from a conversation or losing focus on your work. Rather than distract, ignore, or try to swallow the feeling, I want you to let it come to the surface. Sit with this feeling and attempt to name it. Narrow in on what you may be thinking about in that moment. Once you’ve done that, ask yourself what you may need and simply if the thought is helpful or unhelpful that is linked with this feeling. Once that happens, you can think about what came to mind as a need you’re having in the moment and what is a realistic and effective action to meet that need. This all takes practice, but to start you must make room to sit with your feelings. And YES! That can be quite uncomfortable, especially if you are strengthening your individual process with emotions versus relying on someone else to understand you or validate you. This is a process that successful dating requires, so why not be a master of your own emotions?
Why does it feel good for us to hold others accountable? This topic comes up a lot within couples as something to be strengthened. We, as nurturers, love to be needed in the form of helping others stay accountable as they make changes for themselves or positive changes that benefit the relationship. The person you date trying to work out more? You’re right there making them a protein shake or encouraging them after they’ve completed a workout. The person you date wanting to be better at budgeting? You’re right there helping them understand where they want their money to go or challenging them when they keep ordering takeout. Whatever the topic is, accountability helps strenghten the bond of couples strictly because it shows a level of trust and comfort with following one another’s lead.
How good are you with holding yourself accountable in terms of your own goals or growth areas? Why is this any different from the skills you access to do this for another person? How well do you follow your own lead? What are the barriers? I want you to spend time reflecting on this because my goal for you is to become your own biggest advocate. It feels good when others cheer us on, but it can feel even better to know that you will always show up for yourself regardless. Think about a short term goal you have and think about it in the lens of if your partner asked you to hold them accountable to reach that goal. What advice for them would you have or how would you break it down? Is it words of encouragement you think they’d need or would they need a written out schedule or plan? Both, perhaps? Have a brainstorming session with yourself and pretend you are doing it to help another with their goal planning. Think about actions that would help, barriers, ways to overcome barriers, ways to highlight success, and small steps to begin. Let this process come naturally because you DO have it in you to hold yourself accountable and move through this process just as you would with someone else. Now, take that plan and be intentional of starting it. Just starting, not mastering!
I wanted to touch on acceptance because I feel it goes hand in hand with accountability. As you would with someone you date, holding them accountable should also include having grace, patience, and acceptance of their limits and personal barriers. You cannot blame or fault another person continuously for their shortcomings and expect a strong, healthy, and secure bond. You can still push someone to grow by encouraging them and speaking kindly and lovingly to them while noticing their strengths and successes.
You guessed it, I am going to ask how good you are at doing this for yourself. We’re going to talk more in depth about loving self talk in the next blog, but I want you to think about how accepting you are of your own stuff. This can be your physical features, past traumas or ”baggage”, all the quirks, growth areas, aspects of you that are less than glamorous. It can be hard to uncover those things or shed light on insecurities. I encourage you to start this process if you haven’t because dating yourself gives you the ultimate green light to work towards acceptance. You, exactly as you are in this moment, are enough. It’s okay to not be there yet in terms of your own journey, but this is a cue to start this process and notice all of the things you’d want others to recognize that you bring to the table. You want your partner to love you without makeup, but do you love you without makeup? You want your partner to understand you when you’re having a lower day and not blame you for it, but do you understand you when you’re having a lower day and do you blame yourself for it? Focusing in on acceptance helps lay the groundwork for a more patient and loving bond with yourself. When you have flexibility and security in this area, you will actually become much better with accountability! If shortcomings and failure don‘t spiral and, in turn, land on the foundation of acceptance, you will push yourself much further and recognize barriers as part of the journey and keep it moving.
I am so excited for you to get deep with yourself as you navigate dating yourself and falling in love with all aspects of yourself. And, I must say, you are quite the catch!
Our 'What's the Deal With...' series includes posts discussing trending topics and ideas that we find interesting and thought provoking. Any opinions that we may share in these posts are unique to us and we encourage you to complete individual research on any topics that you find interesting as well.