Here’s what I’m up against. I was told that as part of the process of learning to love myself, learning what I really like and don’t like independent of what I “should” like or not like, of experiencing more of me, I should take myself on a date. I’m sorry, what? Yes, take yourself out, plan it as though you are planning a date with another person, except that you get to do everything you want, there’s no one else to weigh in, to consider. Get dressed up…for yourself and go and enjoy. Experience your surroundings, enjoy your time with you, treat yourself!
, that didn’t sound too bad. Play along with me for a minute though. So if you’ve lived around people, yeah, just around people, and made decisions, they usually factor in what others want to do as well as what you want. If you’re me, often those decisions defaulted to what the other person wanted to do, or defaulted to nothing out of mutual indecision or neither of you wanting to do what the other did – and tell me that’s not frustrating – soooo frustrating. So the thought of coming up with a date with myself was a pretty big task.
I will say that going through this process has been interesting. It’s made me think about what I like and don’t like. I like to be creative. I like to feel pretty and shoes and clothes. I like being outside. I like pushing my body. I like chips and ribs and sweet potato fries. As my date (which is coming up soon) gets closer, I’m going to keep being aware, just noticing things that make me happy (even my new notebook for work makes me happy, it’s gold with silver flowers. How often though do any one of us take time to think about what we really like? Isn’t that selfish? Well, not according to the counselling I’m getting, and it makes sense. If you don’t understand or aren’t aware of what you really enjoy, how are you going to represent that in a relationship? You’d always be deferring, be pleasing, and your true self could get buried deeper inside you at the same time.
I’m not going to lie and tell you I have it all figured out, but here are a few things that come to mind. Going for a swim in the Bay, going for a long hike/walk (or half marathon), riding my bike – I see a theme, outdoors doing something. But really that’s fun for me. Then last weekend, I got girled up in my new running dress and shorts and felt…well I felt girly and I like
it! So there’s something about getting dressed up that’ll be part of my date with me, because it makes me feel pretty and makes me happy. But where would I go eat because there must be food? That one I don’t really know yet.
I think part of the learning in all this is that there’s a balance between protecting your interests and others, not that that’s anything new. In order for any relationship to succeed, there’s got to be two whole people. Not one who doesn’t express themselves, or another who is always taking from the other. Eventually the one being taken from gets depleted and has nothing left to give. So I get it. Taking myself on a date is a chance for me to be with me. To explore what I really like, experience what’s around me without distraction, notice what I feel and think in the midst of it. I’m still nervous about it, but it’s coming at me. I’m going to be brave, and YES, I will go out with me!