I'm currently at a point in my life where I really like myself, but it wasn't always that way. In the past I always seemed concerned with the approval of others, whether it was the people I was dating, my friends, or even just strangers. There has been a change though in this past year, and I think it's because I have really been focusing on myself. Really, really focusing.
You see, I'm dating myself. It might sound a little odd, but essentially I've taken being single to a really awesome and joyful place, and I think all my fellow single folk should follow suit.
I've discovered that if you treat being single like a relationship (with yourself), you become kinder to yourself and day-to-day life becomes pretty fun and awesome. So, here are a couple of the things that I've found are particularly great about being in love with yours truly.
1. I Take Myself Out For Dinner (To Places I Actually Want To Eat)
You know when you're in a relationship, and you're trying to figure out where to go for dinner, and you have some form of this conversation:
"Where do you want to eat?"
"I don't know, where do you want to eat?"
"I don't know, just pick something."
Yeah, that? That never happens to me. I mean, sometimes I'll have trouble deciding where I want to take myself, but then I just settle on tacos, and I'm always happy with that decision. I have never regret tacos in my life, ever. Actually, maybe I'm in a relationship with tacos ...
Anyway, I am used to dining alone. I enjoy dining alone. However, once I was in a relationship and was out and about on my own once, and decided to go grab dinner at a restaurant, solo. When I got there, I saw tables full of people. The place was packed, and I suddenly started to panic.
"I can not sit in a packed restaurant alone," I thought to myself.
I had grown totally dependent on always having someone else to dine with, and so I left. I found an empty restaurant that I didn't really want to eat at, and I sat by the window and ate alone, bummed out with myself for being such a scaredy-cat. That behaviour was so not me, being dependant on someone else was so not me, and yet I'd let it become me, and that was not cool.
Now, I eat alone all the time. I make plans to dine alone, and I enjoy it!
2. I'm Constantly Getting Gifts
I like getting presents, especially when I can tell that the gifter put some thought into it. Because it's the thought that counts! And I always know that when I buy myself something, thought went into it. I mean, I love giving gifts. Whether it's giving gifts to myself (I have actually written 'To: Me From: Me' on a Christmas gift tag) or for other people, I love the feeling of cheering someone else up with something I know they'll love.
While I never spend on myself beyond my means, I like to pick up little treats here and there, or save up for something when I know I've worked hard. For example, when xoVain launched in March, I bought myself this ring from Catbird. It's even got 5 little diamonds in it, 'cause I don't need no man to buy me diamonds! I can buy them for myself!
Otherwise, it's nice to pick up things like baked goods and candy, fancy lingerie, bath bombs from LUSH, or a book. That way I know that when I'm having a low day, I can take out these "gifts" and instantly feel a bit better.
3. My Friendships Have Gotten Better
In my last relationship, I never saw my friends. It was really weird, and I didn't realized just how bizarre it was until the relationship ended, and then I was like, "what the hell man, I miss my friends! Ovaries before brovaries!" Basically, I hadn't been tending to my own mental health during that point in my life and I became a very sad shell of a person. It was not a good look. But anyway.
With me focusing on my health, with the relationship over and done with, and with me moving into a new phase of my life, I started reconnecting with friends I'd lost touch with. I spent time with my girlfriends where we would just talk, and talk, and talk. And we never really stop talking. I love these women, and I am so grateful that I took the time to get close to them again.
I discovered that a lot of my friends were going through similar things, whether it was mental health issues or various insecurities, and we became each others sounding boards without being codependent, which is so key. Yes, you should love your friends and look forward to seeing them, absolutely. You should fit them into your schedule and make time to laugh and cry. But you can't count on them to make you happy, and if you feel panicky or sad when you're not with them, that could be a hint of something not quite right.
I used to panic at the thought of going somewhere where I knew no one (I was a painfully, horrendously shy child), but now I know that I can walk into a party full of strangers and hold my own. I know I'm a kind and funny person, and that I have interesting things to talk about. I don't need to rely on other people to introduce me or make me feel at ease.
Really though, while some of this little guide has a light and comical tinge to it, I truly feel like this approach to things has made me a happier and more whole person. People always say you're never going to be happy in a relationship until you're happy being alone, happy with yourself, and I've found that to be true.
Maybe you don't need to be 100% confident and secure to find love (I think it'd be pretty impossible to go through life without any insecurities!), you do need to be content to be alone, and you do need to realize that yes, you are a good person with a lot of great things to offer.
Crazy concept, right? It used to be for me. While I'm not currently looking to be in a relationship, I know that when the time comes, I'm going to have a much healthier mindset and a better sense of who I am, and that to me is the most important thing.
Read more from Hannah on our sister site, xoVain!