There’s no one left to love you
You learn to love yourself
When no one’s thinking of you
To care about yourself
– Blue Six, “Love Yourself”
It’s been years since I’ve been in what I would call a “serious” relationship. I’ve dated several men, but nothing that was destined to last more than a few months. While I enjoy dating and meeting new people in general, sometimes I do miss the comfort of being in a monogamous relationship. In lieu of a steady beau (especially around Valentine’s Day!), I find that it helps to remind myself that I am loved and wanted on a daily basis. Whether you’ve been single for a while or recently ended a relationship, it’s important not to focus on the fact that you don’t have a significant other. Instead, focus on the fact that you don’t need a significant other in order to feel loved.
Remember That You Are Worthy
“Self-worth cannot be verified by others. You are worthy because you say it is so. If you depend on others for your value it is other-worth.” – Wayne Dyer
We often restrict our idea of “loving” to the image of someone else loving us. Someone else doing things for us, kissing us, taking us places, buying things for us. We often go “out there” seeking someone to make us feel good. But looking outside ourselves for love is one of the biggest obstacles to self-love. When you rely on other people or institutions to deem you worthy, there is no place where you can access that feeling of importance from within. That’s why when someone loses their job, they can easily fall into a deep depression if their position in the company was viewed as a direct reflection of their worth.
Sure, I’ve fallen in love with many men over the years. But what I’ve also been able to do is fall back in love with myself. Here are some activities you can do to cultivate that feeling of companionship and contentment, even in the absence of a significant other.
1. Spend Time Alone
Many women like to fill their nights with friends and parties when they’re single, for various reasons. Some people just really like to go out and socialize, but some are more interested in filling the void so that they don’t have to be alone. In my opinion, solitude has become extremely underrated. There’s the assumption that if you’re hanging solo on Saturday night, you’re lonely and would rather be on a date. I know it can feel lame not to have weekend plans with a boo, but part of being in love with yourself is enjoying your own company. If YOU don’t like being alone with you, what makes you think someone else will? Challenge yourself to let go of the idea that you need to “be social” every weekend. Instead, set aside some time to be alone and rediscover all the things that make you amazing.
2. Wear Your Good Panties
I’ve done it a million times – bought a new outfit just to let it hang out in my closet until the right event, date or holiday gathering. I’ve had new clothes sit around with the price tags still on for months. I’ve let pretty Vickie Secret’s drawls languish in my underwear drawer, waiting on the right man to come along so I could wear them for him. Why do we do this to ourselves? Do we really get some sort of twisted satisfaction from denying ourselves the gratification of wearing nice things? Do we not fully enjoy the effect of looking amazing unless someone else notices? Wear your good panties – for no reason at all – to remind yourself that you alone are worth the occasion. Break out the lacy underthings you’ve been “saving” to wear with that special someone. Put on the good panties today because YOU are that special someone.
3. Buy Fresh Flowers for Yourself
Don’t wait until you find “Mr. Right” who will show up at your door with long-stemmed roses. I once dated a man who always brought me flowers – for dates, for special occasions, just because it was Tuesday. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed them until I was getting them all the time. After we broke up, I would buy bright, colorful bouquets from the grocery store each week as a nice addition to my dining room table. Not only did they smell lovely, but they also made my living space look more vibrant. Seeing fresh flowers when I walked through the door after work felt like I was entering a special place that wasn’t lonely, but lively. The presence of living, breathing plants can be a constant reminder that even though you don’t have a man, you still have a life.
4. Prepare Home-Cooked Meals for One
Cooking for one is challenging. I know because I love to cook. Whether it’s a gourmet meal or a simple dish, I like to throw down in the kitchen. Even though I’m only cooking for one, I still try to cook a really good meal at least twice a week. “Good” meaning a complete meal with an entree, side dish and dessert. In my family, when you cook for someone, it’s a sign of love and care for that person, and that’s exactly what you want to be doing for yourself. Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you have to eat out all the time. Buy some groceries and prepare meals for yourself on a regular basis. It’s much healthier than running to Chipotle three times a week, and easier on your wallet!
5. Take Yourself Out On a Date
One Valentine’s Day, I took myself out to dinner. Yep, I went out amongst all the lovers, all by myself. I got a booth at one of my favorite restaurants and ordered everything I wanted off the menu – appetizer, entree, dessert and a few glasses of wine. I brought my notebook with me so that I could write for a bit, since I love writing but often find it difficult to make time for journaling. I was enjoying myself so much that it didn’t feel awkward to me to be dining alone. I just felt lucky that I was able to take a little time away from work and the busyness of life to sit down and relax at dinner with no pressure to entertain anyone but myself. Don’t miss out on a great meal or even a good movie just because you don’t have a date to take you out. When you commit to taking yourself out on dates periodically, it reminds you that you don’t need a plus one to have fun.
6. Explore Your Creative Side
Last summer, I took a six-week poetry class when I was living in Charlottesville. In college, I majored in English and studied poetry during my time there. Over the years though, I’ve only written poems off and on, pretty inconsistent related to the craft I used to practice almost daily. After taking the poetry class, I realized that hey, I still got it! I haven’t lost my ability to pen a poem, to tap into my experiences and present them elegantly as free verse. It definitely upped my confidence in my own creativity. If you’re feeling a little lackluster in that department, consider taking a cooking class or writing workshop to get re-ignited. Or sign up to learn how to make art through painting or photography. The possibilities are endless for you to nurture the artist within and remind yourself just how beautifully brilliant you are.
Have you had to learn how to fall back in love with yourself in lieu of being in a steady romantic relationship? If so, how?