By Kelly Bradley, Guest BloggerJune 11, 2015
I have always been independent, but I have not always been comfortable with spending time alone. I would often feel self-conscious going somewhere alone, especially if it was some place I’d typically go with friends or a date. I would think of something fun to do, but then get caught up with the excuse, “I don’t have anyone to go with.” And suddenly, I realized how much I was missing out on because I felt too insecure to do things by myself. I realized I needed to find the confidence to be on my own without worrying about what anyone else might think or say. I needed to enjoy my life.
By becoming comfortable with spending time alone, I became reacquainted with myself. I started to spend more free time doing the things I liked to do. I noticed I was taking better care of myself, and, overall, I was a much happier person. I guess you could say I learned how to date myself.
As much as I love spending time with family and friends, I discovered the importance of the relationship I have with myself.
You may ask, how do you date yourself? Well, it’s actually pretty easy.
Take yourself on a date.
I always joke that if I did not go to the movie theater alone, I would never get to see new movies. I have a busy schedule, and it's not always easy to make plans with friends. If I have a free afternoon to go see a movie I’ve wanted to see, why not go alone? Sometimes I’ll go to the coffee house down the street. I’ll drink coffee, read a book or listen to music. It’s something fun I like to do. It’s not about choosing to do things alone, necessarily. It’s more about living your life and not stopping yourself from doing something just because you would have to do it alone.
Find a hobby that’s just for you.
Photography has always been a passion of mine. I have always enjoyed taking pictures and realized it was a great way to explore new places. I pack up my camera, get in the car, and drive somewhere I’ve never been. It 's personal time for me to see something new through my camera lens. I’m not thinking about anyone else or the fact that I’m there alone. I’m experiencing the world and doing something I love at the same time. Having a hobby that is just for you is a great way to learn more about yourself. Figure out what you like to do and set aside time for yourself to enjoy it.
I know it is a little old-fashioned, but I have always liked getting flowers from boys I have dated. While flowers can seem like a wasteful gift, I personally think it is a sweet gesture. Flowers are typically something I would not buy myself. Being a nature-loving girl though, it is sometimes impossible to pass up a bouquet of fresh flowers at the farmer’s market. It is perfectly okay to give yourself a gift every once in a while. Treat yourself. Whether it's a gift you have been wanting for a long time or simply an ice cream cone on your way home from work, it is about doing something for yourself you don’t do on a daily basis.
Put yourself first.
In most, or maybe all, of my past relationships I always put my partner first. I would sacrifice what I wanted in order to make sure he was happy. I put so much time and effort into my relationships and friendships; I lost sight of who I was. I realized I couldn’t neglect my relationship with myself. By putting myself first, I actually had to think about what would make me happy. I had to make sure I was considering the things I wanted to do and acknowledging my own thoughts and feelings. As a result, I have learned so much about myself and feel more confident in who I am. I feel more present in my own life. The relationships we have with our partner, our family, and our friends are incredibly important, but don’t miss out on the relationship you have with yourself. You are just as important!
“The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself. Because no matter what happens, you will always be with yourself.” – Diane Von Furstenberg
Do you ever spend quality time with yourself? Do you have a hobby that is just for you? What are some ways you put yourself first? Tell us below!
Kelly is a Midwestern girl, a daughter, sister, and friend. She earned her Bachelor’s degree (and currently works) in Fashion Merchandising, but has always had a passion for writing. Kelly also loves photography, music, and (of course) fashion. Kelly hopes to inspire young girls and women to discover and embrace what makes them truly extraordinary. Tweet her @KelBee6
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