It can sometimes seem like everyone has found “their person” except you.
You know the feeling. You’re at a restaurant, or a movie, or the grocery store, and there’s a couple in front of you doing cute coupley things. You can’t help but notice how happy they look, how great they fit together and how they seem to almost complete each other, making you feel anything less than whole. So to escape this feeling of isolation, you jump onto social media. But once again, it seems like everyone’s living it up with their S.O. on a dream vacation, at cute Instagrammable coffee shops, or just doing the mundane everyday things that you so regularly do alone. Trust me, I’ve been there too.
The globalized message that you are not complete without an S.O. is everywhere, all the time…and it’s just simply not true.
If you can’t be completely and utterly whole all by yourself, then how can anyone expect to have a sense of fulfillment, confidence, and commitment outside of another person?
The insecurity of being single can make you feel like a failure in a culture that ascribes personal self-worth to the affections of others. And while it’s great to feel loved, appreciated, and respected, it’s even more important to cultivate these things within yourself before embarking on a new relationship with a special someone. I personally have witnessed the joy of dating myself and it was such a pivotal point in my journey of self-discovery.
I found myself ping-ponging back and forth from relationship to relationship, looking for something that I really couldn’t find in another person.
It wasn’t until I truly learned to love and respect who I am at my core that my constant need for validation and affirmation subsided.
Relationships are wonderful, messy, magical parts of a well-balanced life, but it is truly your relationship with yourself that helps these relationships flourish. Here are some things that helped me learn how to love myself and live in a way that aligns with my values–no S.O. necessary!
1. Go places and do things that bring you joy.
Sit down with yourself and write down a list of places and things that bring you joy. Do you love watching the sunset? Take yourself on a relaxing sunset drive and blast your favorite music. Are you a huge bookworm? Cozy up at a bookstore with a cup of coffee and a good read. Is ice cream your soulmate? Go to that new ice cream parlor that you haven’t been to yet and get whatever calls your name! All of the cute dates that are commonly associated with couples can be equally enjoyable, or even more so, when alone.
These solo dates will not only spark joy within you and allow you to reconnect to what it is that makes you feel alive, but they will also offer time to think and reflect, things that you can’t do if you’re constantly with someone else.
Related: The Subtle Art of Going Out Alone
2. Write love letters to yourself.
Who doesn’t love a good love letter?
It feels good to know that someone admires and cares about you just the way that you are. Write letters from your past, present, or future self and get creative. For example, congratulate yourself on something you’ve worked hard to achieve or simply acknowledge a positive trait that you admire about yourself. Gratitude journals are also great for this.
Or if you want weeklong love letters, create a Pinterest board full of self-love quotes and write them on sticky notes to put on your bathroom mirror each morning. If it’s especially hard for you to love yourself right now, that’s okay; see if you can write to yourself as if you were another person and offer up self-compassion. A simple sentence of validation and acknowledgment of how hard it is to be alone in a world that constantly tells you that you shouldn’t be can be incredibly comforting. Here’s some journal prompts to help you brainstorm!
3. Self-care, self-care, self-care!
Self-care is a huge buzz-word lately. But self-care doesn’t have to be all bubble baths and facials and exotic homemade salt scrubs. Self-care can simply mean taking yourself for a walk, doing some restorative yoga, sleeping in, or cooking yourself a homemade meal. The best way to show yourself love is to do things that enliven you and make you feel more at home within your body. You are going to spend the rest of your life with yourself, so creating healthy self-care habits is so vital in cultivating a positive relationship with yourself.
4. Empower yourself.
I think many people can agree with that one of the most important ingredients of a healthy relationship is support. Offer up love and support to yourself by immersing yourself in empowering activities and behaviors. Regardless of whether it’s a physical, artistic, or intellectual activity, pursuing your passions sends the message to yourself that your needs matter–and that is so important in a healthy relationship.
The more you do things that make you feel like your best, most powerful self, the more you will find yourself embracing the power within. Maybe even try out a new outdoor activity or artistic endeavor–it is so empowering to jump boldly into new experiences! It is awesome to have people in your life that lift you up and support you, but doing so yourself allows you to live without the need for external validation or approval. You have everything you need already inside of you!
Relationships can be wonderful, healthy means for connecting to others and enriching each other’s lives. They can give us so much love and light, and inspire us to give those things back to others. But what chick flicks and Instagram and other forms of media that glorify relationships don’t tell you, is this:
The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself.
If you can love and take care of yourself through laughter and tears, success and failure, and good days and bad days, then your potential to love and be loved is limitless. Give yourself the love you deserve to have. You are way too important to spend your life feeling anything less than loved.