People talk a lot about ‘dating yourself’ these days. It’s thrown around a lot by newly single people in particular: “oh, I’m just dating myself at the moment”, “I really think I just need to date myself for a while”, “I’m loving just dating myself”.
In case you don’t already know, the whole concept of ‘dating yourself’ essentially refers to getting to know yourself and being content by yourself, rather than needing someone else (whether it be a romantic partner or a friend) to make you feel happy and keep you from getting bored. It’s about being able to exist by yourself, rather than being consumed by being part of a couple or a group.
A lot of people picture ‘dating yourself’ as going out to dinner in restaurants alone, sitting in movie cinemas or theatres alone, or even going to a sports game alone. Whilst I’d say they’re all part of feeling comfortable by yourself, they’re usually pretty far along the line. Yet they’re the steps that a lot of people take first, which is jumping in the deep end to put it mildly.
There are so many other things we can do to remember how to be alone with ourselves that aren’t quite as dramatic or nerve-wracking as sitting alone in a packed restaurant. I will say that I do really enjoy being by myself, I always have. These are just a few of the things that I like to do when I’m feeling like I need to, for want of a better phrase, reconnect with myself.
- Turn off your phone: We’re all so connected to everything these days thanks to our handy mobile phones that serve as a phone, GPS, computer, calculator, bank, debit card, radio, book, camera, and so much more. Whilst it can be scary to disconnect from the world, in my experience it’s amazing. Turn off your phone for an hour, or even half an hour if an hour seems like too much. Charge your phone in a different room rather than having it next to your bed, or put it in aeroplane mode at night (if you use your phone as your alarm like I do). Challenge yourself to go out for a day without your phone. At first it’s terrifying, but gradually you realise that you don’t actually need to be connected to everything all of the time, and before you know it your phone having only 14% battery won’t make you panic as much as it used to before.
- Go for a walk: If you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of your time inside. Going for a walk for just half an hour (again, without your phone if you’re brave) is a great way to not only get outside and get some exercise, but spend some time alone with your thoughts.
- Yoga/Meditation: These aren’t for everyone, but even just lying in bed for half an hour in silence is great. Sometimes facing your thoughts can be terrifying, but it’s worth it, I promise.
- Find your own hobby: This, to me, is especially important if you’re in a relationship. A and I spent a lot of time apart when we first started dating, so I’d say we’re pretty good at just doing our own thing (he is especially good at this), but sometimes it can be harder. When you’re in a relationship it’s so easy to feel like you need to sacrifice your own interests so that you can spend more time together as a couple. Whilst time together is good, so is time apart. Find something you love – a sport, music, writing, reading, pottery, video games, anything – and do it alone. Not with your partner. Not with your friends. Alone. Really enjoy doing what you want to do by yourself. It will be better for you, and better for your relationship. Trust me.
Do you have any tips for feeling comfortable being alone? Let me know!