If you never try, you’ll never know, just how much you’re worth.
Then and now.
As part of my 40 Days Without Social Media cleanse, I decided I wanted to spend some time with me. I had been single for quite some time, but I had reached a point in my life where I truly loved myself again. Don’t get me wrong, I was still lonely at times and made an effort to get myself back out there. But, after a year and a half of attempted dating and mindless swiping, nothing seemed to last. With every attempt, I started to realize something very important and it always seemed like I was defeated and back to square one. I was so tired of giving my heart away so easily.
I’ll be the first to vulnerably admit, over the years I have been: cheated on, emotionally abused, made fun of, pushed away (literally and figuratively), lied to, kept in a linger, ignored, ghosted (a lot), breadcrumbed (that was new), and was once labeled as a pretty, 5–out-of-10, from a guy who then followed-up with “I still want to make out with you though…or anyone really,” (I respectfully declined that offer). But after all those years, I started realizing that I had never been properly loved the way I deserved to be and quite frankly I was sick and tired of it.
I never once felt like a priority to anyone I attempted to give my heart to.
So, I decided to stop.
Time for a change.
I started to practice self-love instead of giving in to lonely temptation. I started to choose myself instead of the guy who wouldn’t even give me the time of day. I started to fight for me instead of the guy who wouldn’t even lift a finger. I started to selflessly put myself first in a world where at times, that concept looked selfish. I started to say no thanks to the guys who half-assed wanted to be a part of my life. And while I was shifting my priorities, I started seeing how amazing I really was and how much time I was wasting, trying to spend it with those who didn’t really seem to care.
So I had this crazy idea and instead, I decided to give my heart to the most amazing person I knew—I gave my heart to me. I started to let her feel the love I was capable of giving away so easily and I started to fall in love with myself all over again. I held myself to the standards of what I always wanted and how amazing I deserved to be treated. I practiced loving myself. Self-love…I put those words into action.
Practicing Self-Love 101
The first week of my social media cleanse, I was reflecting and breaking down walls. I was in for a lot of extra free time without mindless scrolling on social media, and trying to connect with friends behind a screen. At first with all that free time, I had no idea what to do with myself. I knew I wanted to take the time to work on me, but I didn’t quite know how or where to start. I also knew I wanted to work on relationships I had with people in real time, here and now in the present. But, I figured I should start with the relationship I had with myself before working on the relationships I had with other people. That part came later.
A month before my cleanse idea, I had bought a ticket to see one of my favorite bands alone. I couldn’t find anyone to go with, but I knew I wasn’t going to miss them again this time around. So I bought the ticket willing to go do something I loved by myself. As the first week of the cleanse approached, I had the idea to use that experience as a kick start to a larger experiment in the works. I used it as a way to feel liberated and do what I wanted to do without the expense of trying to please someone else in the process.
So I decided, what better way to kick off my cleanse than by taking myself out on a date? An actual date.
It was the night of the concert and I had decided to go all out. After work, I stopped by the grocery store and I bought myself roses and dark chocolate. I went home, turned on some bossa nova and made myself a delicious plate of enchiladas. I got dressed, put on some make-up, I curled my hair. I got to the venue, bought myself a beer and sang along to Sweet Disposition at the top of my lungs. On my way back to my car it even started raining. Super romantic, I know.
And when I got back home, I felt this weird sense of relief. I felt amazing. I felt confident. I did something I liked, for me—no one else. I wasn’t trying to please anyone or wondering if I said or did the right things. I wasn’t distracted by social media and dying to post anything about my experience. I was living in the moment with myself.
More than just a first date.
So during those 40 days, I planned one date a week. They ranged from going to the movies, making lasagna for one and watching Singing in the Rain before a relaxing bath, going to a museum and a movie (I like movies okay), going to a festival, the list goes on. The point is that I spent time with myself and I really liked it.
Although, the concept did seem weird at first. There were times where I felt awkward or thought everyone was looking at me, walking in somewhere alone. But spending time with yourself and figuring out what you really want…unveils your tired eyes, shows you just how lovely you are, and you finally realize how much you’re really worth.
The idea of taking a break from social media and dating apps turned into an opportunity to figure out how I actually deserved to be treated, in the here and now. It was a time for me to literally date me. It was a time to focus all my love and energy on myself. To not only better myself, but make myself feel the love I gave away so easily to someone else that would never give me anything back.
Being lovely isn’t easy.
You have a lot of love to give, and honestly, that’s just the only way you know how to love. You go all in because your heart is so big and full of hope. In the moment, it doesn’t even matter if you don’t get it back, you just want to put it out there. You make anyone that could possibly be your ideal match a priority, because you are just so ready to give your love. And even after all the heartache, all the attempts, all the times you picked yourself back up and gave your heart away again but it never worked out, you still believe in the magic of love. And that my dear, is what makes you lovely.
I’m not saying to delete the dating app on your phone and shut yourself out from the dating world completely just to give this a shot, but it does help. I’m simply saying that putting yourself as a priority every once in a while, is really empowering. And, it just makes you feel really good. You have time to reflect on what it is that you want and you start to realize that you’re willing to wait for it.
And in the meantime, you look for inspiration out in the world and start doing things you want to do with or without someone. I know I’ve talked about embracing your single life before, but I personally have never really just embraced it. And I think it’s time that we all do. So, stop complaining that you’re single. Stop waiting for some guy to show up to start your life. Stop waiting for a friend to want to join you at a concert you know you’d love or on a trip you’ve always wanted to take. Do what makes you happy. Stop trying to please everyone. It’s okay for once in your life, to put yourself first.
If you ever feel like no one wants to date you, date yourself. I know it’s easier said than done, and it may sound a little pathetic to some of you, but just try it once. I promise that in the end, it will actually feel empowering. The best way to figure out what you want is to do what you want. Talking about self-love and treating yourself with love and kindness is great, but challenge yourself to take that a step further and actually start practicing self-love. So that when love is ready to find you, it will compliment you, not complete you.
We need to remember to embrace our single life—make it a season to grow, feel and heal. Because in a way, you’re not really single. You are dating the most amazing person you know, and dammit you deserve a date! When the time comes, the right person will come into your life. They will notice how amazing you are, buy you flowers, and join you on that movie date one day. But even then, as much as you deserve to be first in their heart, you also deserve to be first in yours.