As Carrie Bradshaw said “The most exciting, significant and challenging relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.” Take yourself out on dates no matter what you are juggling. Understanding your feelings, reactions, what you enjoy, and keeping your own identity is so important. It also makes us more interesting as people.
I started doing this more when I read a book last year called the Artist Way. It is an incredible book if anyone is interested in a great read. It has been around for a while and it really is awesome. I will read it again in a year or two. It is 12 chapters and each chapter you then practice for the week (so think of it as a 12 week program almost). Early on you learn to take yourself out on artist dates and you keep those going throughout the 12 weeks. Dates just with yourself to find your creativity and in some ways who you are again. As adults, we lose our imagination, creativity and playfulness. At least I do. I get stuck in all the adult things and forget to still go back to some of the basics to keep up with my own self dating. Those self-dates (reminder…do these by yourself) can be 15-30 minute walks/runs in a new environment, trying a new workout class by yourself, going shopping in a new part of town, going to a museum to look at art, etc. One of my silliest dates is a dance party for one. Every few months, I turn on the radio (iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, etc) to fun dance songs. And I just dance and sing by myself with no one else around. I close my door and just go at it in my own world for 15 minutes. Longer if I can. It is so fun! It helps me find my playfulness.
I know for many, you don’t think you have time to do this. You have work, families, and a 1,000 errands to run. But you will be surprised. There are always 15-30 minutes to yourself. Whether it is to journal, read, sit in the car and just mediate between carpools, etc. If you cut back on 30 minutes of TV….what time does that free up? Or can you negotiate with your spouse/partner to watch the kids for 30-60 minutes each week so you can take yourself on a date? It is quite liberating to sit at a nice bar and have a glass of wine by yourself and just enjoy. Once a week, that is my continued goal. Sometimes my dates are a short 15 minutes and sometimes they are a few hours. Just depends on the week.
It is easier for me right now because I don’t have children. I do have a demanding job where I travel, a relationship and lots of other obligations but I do realize kids take it to a whole new level. Anyway, even without that added challenge, it took me a long time to do this. Where I just started doing things for myself, by myself, to keep getting to know who I was as a person as I continue to age. Especially when you have a partner, work, friends, family, etc….your time gets so sucked up. You forget you still have some control over it. It is easy to lose yourself in the process and forget what makes you happy, sad, and fulfilled. We have a tendency as women, at least I do, to worry about everyone else’s needs. I have been doing this my whole life. I think it comes from when my mom died and I wanted to see everyone else be okay in my family and I took on that motherly role. I also want to see my friends happy and my love. So I end up compromising or just simply losing myself at times. Not setting boundaries. Or not finding time for myself. So I discovered, I need to date myself just like I date my partner in order to stay connected to me.
I now love my time to date myself. I hope I don’t lose it. And if I do, I will be dusting off the Artist Way to reconnect or my dancing shoes for my dance party for one! Reconnect with your creativity and the things you love about yourself that you may be losing or lost.
And have some fun! Be silly and enjoy!