Okay, before we even start I can acknowledge how cheesey it is to suggest that one might date themselves, and yet...how many of you actually would date yourself?
I know right? It's like we were taught to like everyone but ourselves, (read that again) and now during a time when we don't know who to trust WE are once again on our own the list of "questionables" depending on which camp you are in regarding COVID. Prior to COVID I think it is safe to say that relationships are a common goal amongst all of us. During COVID relationships were no longer guaranteed, or sustainable, and sometimes they were destroyed based on whether someone cared about people the same way that we did. So now, now after all of this change where do we stand? In my practice I have heard people mention how isolated they feel, how they don't really have people to connect with and hang out with. Now let me see if this conversation sounds familar:
You: I feel so alone, and I don't know where to find people to hang out with. Since COVID all my friends have started staying home more so I don't have anyone to spend time with.
Me: What about your relationship with yourself? What if you could be the best friend, the partner you have been waiting for?
You: (crippling silence and energetic contraction at the idea that you might actually like yourself) Yeah... I guess I could try that.
This conversation is totally expected. Again, this world does not teach us to like ourselves, in fact we are often encouraged to avoid ourselves. As a kid when I didn't have friends what was my mother to do? Put me in sports, find someone in the neighborhood, pray to God that socialization was not the sole determining factor that I wasn't going to turn out to be a mole person, or recluse. Seriously though, as a kid I learned that when I was by myself I wasn't safe, I wasn't normal, I wasn't like everyone else, I needed people. Truthfully the reason why Beauty and the Beast was my favorite movie was because of the opening song where everyone talks about how Belle doesn't fit in, and it was an example of how I felt as a kid. If this is resonating with you at all keep reading, I promise there is a point to all of this.
How many of you have relationships with people and then six months, one year, two years later it's as if you wake up out of a dream and wonder how the fuck you got here? It's as if someone came in and rearranged all your body parts, clothes, make up, etc and created a completely different image of yourself that you now call you. You are stunned, you finally realize that all this time you haven't really been being happy, but rather you have been doing the happy that everyone expects from you when you are in a relationship. Again, this doesn't mean anything, it's just an acknowledgement of what has existed thus far.
So you wake up and maybe you end the relationship, maybe you try to stick around and fix the relationship and then end it, but whatever the case you now know that you are unrecognizable to yourself. One question I have been asked, and now ask myself is, "When did I give me up in this relationship?" Most of the time It took less than 30 days for me to transform into someone I couldn't even recognize. By the end of the relationship it would often take me longer than 3o days to rebuild the parts and pieces of myself that I had so willingly chucked out the window for whatever person I had decided was now more important than me. It also continued the belief that I needed people just like everyone else.
My last relationship was the last straw. I was done losing myself in other people, needing other people, being pathetic and saying that I couldn't manage being on my own, and I was willing to do anything and everything to never lose myself again. I was now the person sitting across from a friend who said, "Now you get to uncover all the things you like to do, and all that there is to like about yourself." Inside I was cringing at the thought of actually discovering that I liked myself. I had worked so hard to need other people, and I was truly unsure of what would happen if I stopped needing people, and actually started to choose for me.
My first step? Choice. One thing about needing others is that you give up choice. I had to start becoming the choosing one rather than being the chosen one. If you are looking to start a relationship with yourself begin wit choice. Choose a movie you like, choose a restaurant you like, choose what clothes you want to wear, whatever it takes, just choose.
I sat for a moment and looked at whether to add anymore steps, but really choice is the biggest element to having a relationship with yourself. I know that other sites might give you a how to playbook on all of this, but your relationship is yours. I don't know how it will show up, what it will look like, or even what choices you should make. What I can say is that when you start choosing for you, your life gets greater, and when your life gets greater you can have and be anything you want.
Here are some things that helped me
- One day a week I do something nurturing for me, whether it's a massage, a hike, taking a nap, spending an extra dollar on a coffee drink, whatever
-I Write a gratitude list. When I started to take a look at all the things I have chosen in my life I started to have gratitude for me
-Alloed myself to float in and out of this process. What if everything you choose is part of having a greater relationship with yourself?
-Engage in self-pleasure. Whether it's masturbation, snuggling in a soft blanket, laying on a beach whatever brings you pleasure indulge in it to the degree that works for you.
-Find something that lights you up, for me it is hiking and taking adventures. I love to wake up at 4 or 5 am, drive to a trail head, and spend all day in nature.
No matter what you choose what if you can have it all with Ease?