Take the Time to Date Yourself

3/22/2018

istock/SanneBerg

At least once every week or two, I like to choose a weekend afternoon, or evening, to spend entirely by myself. During this time, I’ll treat myself to something new and enjoyable: it could be seeing a recently released movie, trying a different meal at a previously unvisited restaurant, buying and diving into a new book, or even holing up in my living room, wrapped up in blankets and binge-watching Netflix. The main point is to disconnect myself from the world and spend some quality one-on-one time with myself.

I do this often enough that I sometimes get questions as to why I am so insistent about spending this time alone, but the answer is simple. I use this time to make sure I am happy and enjoying my life, and the easiest way to figure that out, for me, is by spending time alone. Or, a more fun way to look at it is that I have a date night for myself to make sure that I am happy and doing well.

In the past, I’ve felt that spending time alone was a sign of a failure, that I was making mistakes in my social life if I wound up alone on a Saturday night. But the older I become, the more I appreciate this time to decompress and reconnect with myself. In fact, I’ve learned that the better I understand myself, the better my other relationships become.

I realized that if I didn’t want to spend time alone with myself, how could I expect other people to want to? It wasn’t my most pleasant epiphany ever but, in the long run, it has been great for building up my confidence and self-worth; now I can feel comfortable and happy in my own skin, all by myself in a large group.

However, I think there is a stigma associated with wanting to spend time alone, or to “date yourself,” and that keeps a lot of people from being happier than they could be. By allowing others to dictate the best way for you to spend your time, you’re basically eliminating your choice in the matter of how to live your life. By going along with others’ plans, simply for the sake of convenience, you’re robbing yourself of the opportunity to figure out what you truly want to do.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been convinced to go out many a time, after some initial protest, and thought, “Eh, I probably could have stayed home and enjoyed myself just as much.” But it’s nights like those that make me appreciate the ones I have all to myself, even more.

Another issue that seems to confound my peers, about my self-imposed nights in, is that if I want to go and do date-like activities like going to the movies and dinner, why don’t I find someone to do them with?

In my mind, it always goes back to my initial question: if I don’t enjoy spending time with myself, how can I expect anyone else to? Even if I was in the most amazing, perfect relationship, that had zero conflicts or issues (which I am aware does not exist), I would still need to be dating myself as well. Otherwise, I would lose touch with who I am and, as a result, the relationship would lose its footing and fail.

Over the course of my life, the most important relationship for me to monitor the health of will be my relationship with myself. Not that my other relationships won’t be of paramount importance to me, as well, but without the firm and stable foundation within myself, all of those will be weaker than they could have been. We spend so much time worrying about others, that sometimes it can be easy to forget about ourselves.

Therefore, I look at taking care of myself, whether it be buying myself a large brownie from the bakery on my way home, or paying a little extra to see a new movie, as making sure all of my relationships survive and thrive. Even if you don’t think the whole “dating yourself” thing is for you, give it a try; you might be surprised at how happy taking a little me-time can make you.

Blaize Stewart
Blaize Stewart is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received a BA in broadcast journalism and a MA in journalism. He currently lives in Chicago, IL and works as an influencer relations associate for a full-service influencer marketing agency called Faam and as an adjunct instructor at Robert Morris University. Additionally, he runs the LGBTQ+ blog Out Loud, a space for members to share their experiences and thoughts on current events and more.