Dating is rough to begin with, but it gets even worse when you start prioritizing your search for love over your own self-care. I really had to work to learn to love myself, but it was worth it in the end. Who knew that dating yourself could change your whole outlook on love and life?
- I Took the Time to Learn About What I Did (And Didn’t) Stand For. Values are just words you recite unless you put them into action. Going out, traveling, and seeing what the world had to offer gave me a sense of purpose regarding where I wanted to take my life. It also showed me what I was willing or not willing to accept when it came to sharing my life with someone else.
- My Standards were not only raised, but also Refined. People thought my standards were high before? Oh, those were a cake walk compared to now. Having never dated, I didn’t know what kind of partner I was looking for. My standards were set to the point that I’d accept anyone looking like Chris Hemsworth or Jason Momoa. Having now had time to really understand myself, I know the kind of person I’d want who could best complement me, meaning that I don’t just date someone because they asked me out or because they’re pretty to look at. I want a person who can see all the facets that make me up and still see the beauty in every one.
- Life Isn’t as Dreary or Stagnant Anymore. When I was in a routine of “wake up, go to work, and head home”, my life really felt like it had no meaning. I never went out to try new things, and hanging out with friends was a rarity. When I made a point to spend time with friends and do something new each week, I got to know a lot more about what I liked to do and have fun doing it. I felt like my life was progressing again, not just slowly passing me by. I realized I didn’t need a guy in my life to make it exciting; I could do that all on my own.
- My Love Life was Filled with Family, Friends, and New Experiences. Who says your love life needs to be romantic? I didn’t need a boyfriend because my heart was filled with love from friendly game nights, family trips, and gaining new experiences that I’ll never forget. I fell in love with sleepovers and impromptu Groupon classes with friends, so I never felt lonely or in need of ‘my person’. I had a tribe of people who made me feel loved.
- My Relationship with Myself Improved. The self-hating voice in the back of my head rarely seems to speak now. I began to love myself again and started mending the years of self-doubt and self-chastising, which opened myself up to new opportunities that never would have come to me if I hadn’t. The one thing that had been holding me back all these years was me.
- I Fell in Love with the Little Quirks that made me, Me. I have a deep voice for a girl, but tend to speak higher to sound more feminine. I have calluses from all the training I do at the gym, and my hair is a curly apocalypse that takes hours to tame. In earlier years, I would’ve found these things embarrassing, but I now find them endearing. They’re what make me who I am, and I don’t need to have another person tell me they’re beautiful to believe it’s true.
- My Purpose Didn’t Feel Rooted to Another Person. I didn’t feel like I was waiting to begin my life until my ‘one true love’ came into the picture. I started volunteering, going out, and allowing myself to live out my life without worrying about whether I was on somebody’s arm or not. I found my purpose for living without tying it to another person. It is NOT the job of your partner to bring meaning to your life — they should only enhance it.
- Stress Wasn’t Much of a Thing Anymore. Well, stress in regards to being single, at least. The anxiety of making sure I was the ‘right’ girl or a desirable woman went out the window the moment I started to enjoy myself more. Screw what guys think — I’ll do me, and the right person will be just fine with that.
- My Patience for Finding the Right Person Nearly Tripled. For a long time I felt impatient in waiting for my knight to come rushing in to help me ‘start my life’. I grew up at the height of Disney, and I figured to some degree, that fairy tale ending was how love was supposed to work. In dating myself, however, I found that there was no shame in waiting for the right person to come along. My heart is precious and deserves to be given to someone who will care for it just as much as I do. When you’re not completely happy with your life, your first instinct may be that you need another to ‘complete’ you in order to be happy. I’m not happy to admit it, but that’s what I thought too. Now, I realize that I’d never have found my partner if I thought that way. I needed to love myself before I ever could’ve brought someone else into my life.