The Case For Having A Relationship With Yourself
When it comes to dating, many of us jump from relationship to relationship without giving ourselves much time to reflect on what happened. Almost immediately after one relationship ends, we are back on bumble or some other dating app looking for the next thing.
Back in February when my year and half long relationship ended, I wondered what would be an appropriate amount of time to wait to begin dating again. How soon is too soon to download tinder? I think I gave myself a month or so. What I am realizing, though, is that there is no correct amount of time. It’s completely subjective and depends on the situation.
Over the past months, I have dated a few different people. One of those experiences was somewhat serious, the others not so much. And what I’ve learned is that in order to have a healthy relationship with another person, we must first have a healthy relationship with ourselves.
I realize that this concept seems a bit abstract, but hear me out. I am far from a relationship expert, but the lessons I’ve learned over the past year have taught me a lot. I would argue that the foundation for having a strong relationship with yourself and others consists of understanding your emotions, loving yourself, and creating fun experiences.
Understanding your emotions
When you are in a relationship with yourself, you have to learn to understand your emotions, just as you would for your partner. We are individuals who are constantly changing. And with that, we have to constantly examine ourselves and understand why we feel certain emotions. If we don’t understand what makes us feel sad, happy, lonely, engaged, or turned on, then how can we possibly expect someone else to understand?
When we are dating someone new, eventually the feelings we have for him or her transitions from a strong like, to love. And loving another person and feeling their love is a beautiful thing. You have butterflies with just the thought of being around them, and when they touch you, you feel a chill followed by goosebumps.
Imagine having this kind of love for yourself. Imagine looking into the mirror, gazing into your own eyes, and saying to yourself, “I love you”. Imagine meditating each day on the love you have for yourself. Also, imagine that while meditating, you allow that love you have for yourself to consume you to the point where you feel as light as a feather.
When we have love for ourselves, we change the way we talk to ourselves. Most of us never talk to other people the way we talk to ourselves. We are our worst critic. But when we come from a place a love, we have compassion and understanding for ourselves.
It’s only when we truly love ourselves that we can truly love another person.
Creating fun experiences
I recently attended the Great Love Debate hosted by Brian Howie. And one of the biggest takeaways I had was that we have to have fun in our relationships. And for me, having fun is about experiencing laughter and play. It’s about doing things that make each other come alive. We have to do that for ourselves.
If we are in a relationship with ourselves, we have to occasionally push ourselves outside of our comfort zone-just as a partner would. That means going to events you find interesting — even if you have to go alone. We are responsible for our own happiness.
A month or so ago I went to a book signing/network event/ silent disco, alone. It was for sure outside of my comfort zone. I only knew one person at the event, the host. So if I wanted to have a good time, I had to engage with people I didn’t know. I had to be confident enough to walk up to a stranger, and start a conversation. I took responsibility for own happiness. And as a result, I had a great time.
It’s easier to stay at home and have a night on the couch than it is to do things alone. But the result of that is not having excitement in your life. And it’s the new and exciting that can make a life worth living. Some would say that it’s the hallmark of a great relationship. If we aren’t willing to create excitement in a relationship with ourselves, then it will be nearly impossible to authentically have this in a relationship with someone else.
I heard it said that it’s when we are comfortable with being alone without feeling loneliness that we are ready to be in a relationship with another person. I see a lot of truth in that statement. It is true for me, true for you, true for all of us. We have work to do.