3/4ths of the way through March, I wanted to talk on a topic that I feel is inherently female and applies heavily to hopeful daters. Knowing and loving thyself. An absolutely vital skill and thought process for a happy life in general, let’s be honest. But in particular when setting out in the hopes of joining your life with another. Yet, it’s one that is rarely taught. I also know how frustrating it is to just be told to focus on yourself before seriously dating… when knowing why you should, then how are the areas we collectively struggle in. And what ultimately makes a healthy, longterm impact. So grab a glass of wine my babes ( or preferred adult beverage of choice ) and join me in today’s chat that will cover steps towards establishing true self love, ways to get out of dating ruts by working on what’s inside and why not only getting to know yourself first, but ultimately appreciating and accepting who you are is so dang crucial in your quest for love.
Let me ask you a question. How many times have you heard an iteration of the following ? “ How you can expect someone to love you, if you don’t truly love yourself ? ” We hear it so often and coined it a cliché for good reason my friends. So let’s go over some of the fundamental why’s of how starting the journey of getting to know and love yourself will ultimately help you succeed in dating…
Self worth – I think self worth is so readily attached to external sources nowadays because do such little work on finding it as individuals. There are distractions at literally every turn and we drown ourselves in comparison on the daily. As you start to focus on and nurture yourself, not the bright shiny avatar you portray to the social world but the real you, you uncover scars and strengths that deserve to be healed or championed. It will allow a deeper and more sincere appreciation of the power you really possess, and gives us a softer and more gracious eye when we look in the mirror. With that we become protective of ourselves and make better, more guided and grounded decisions with the people we allow into our life.
Confidence – It really is such a key pillar in life. And we aren’t talking the bravado filled faux confidence we see so easily doled out on the day-to-day. That is born from deep insecurity. True confidence comes from being happy in your own skin, and the knowledge you’re working on what is holding you back. It means being comfortable with how you implement both boundaries and the indulgence in vices, and involves a consistent, kind self narrative.
You’re know what you’re looking for – Because you know who you are. What you want. And what you deserve.
Chances of you finding a compatible partner increases dramatically – Being at your best, or at the very least knowing and standing firm behind your strongest areas and those of which need work when you start dating allows you to attract someone who’s on a similar journey. Picked up not only on a subconscious energy level, but through common goals, openness and confidence with oneself and similar aspirations for daily life. We attract what we put out.
I hear you saying, ” That’s great Hannah, I was pretty aware that confidence and self worth lead to better existence. But how the fuck do I do it ? ” And that, is a great question. Now of course, we are all different people with different needs, wants and remedies. However, the following how’s have worked for me and I feel are somewhat universal, so here we go…
Establish your own identity – I have been guilty of not doing this is past relationships. Many times I found myself morphing my personality in the hopes of assimilating as seamlessly as possible to the one I was romantically with. Partly due to my people pleasing ways, but also because I hadn’t put in the time and work necessary to know and establish my own identity. So I urge you to quite literally sit down and make a list of the things you do and do not like. Figure out what your own personal red flags are, where hard and soft boundaries lie, write down what you are ultimately looking for out of love itself and a forever relationship. People who have a strong identity radiate self-respect and confidence, which as we all know is incredibly attractive. And having that strong sense of self ultimately leads to you attracting the RIGHT people.
Boundaries with a capital B – If you whittle it all the way down, boundaries are basically an indicator of how much you love and value yourself. And act as a message to those around you on how you want to be treated, respected and what you deserve. Lack of boundaries is directly correlated to feelings of being unworthy, an energy that never bodes well within the dating pool. Having solid boundaries are a guaranteed way to attract the right people—people who value and respect those lines in the sand. Because you’ve taken the time to draw them.
Fill your cup up before anyone has a chance to take a sip – One necessary part of knowing yourself involves discovering things, big and small that truly make you happy. Things that fulfil you, bring you a joy so pure and simple that it’s a hair away from childlike happiness. Think on moments that made you feel this way, and see if you can bring it forward to the now. Rate your days for a week from 1-10, and then understand and reflect on what made a certain day better than another. I urge you to dedicate some real time and energy to figuring it out, because at the end of the day… you are responsible for your own happiness.
Mediate so you can move forward – Meditation basically just forces you to spend time with you and you only. I know, it’s sometimes really scary to be alone with yourself. Because we so readily attach being alone to feelings of loneliness. But being alone dosen’t have to be lonely. In fact, it’s a necessary skill one has to learn and I believe meditation is the best first step. Once you get over the initial hump of uncomfortability, dedicating a decent amount of time to connecting with your mind, body and emotions on a daily basis will only ever lead to a deeper knowledge of who you are, what is upsetting to you and what makes you the happiest. It comes in many forms, so find one that’s best for you. But participating in this practice allows us an understanding of ourselves little other can provide, and helps us move forward from any places we are feeling stuck. Which leads me to my next point…
I feel many of us get stuck in Ruts aka Cycles of Dating Doom for a few key reasons. One, we get so used to dating in a certain way that we forget there are other paths to take. Two, by having the same round about experiences with the same type of people, so we get jaded and become the literal definition of insanity by doing the same thing and expecting different results. The third and main contributing factor I believe is that we are so deeply engrained with a fear of being alone. Afraid to feel lonely. Afraid to allow the time to truly look at and be with ourselves. So we busy life with dates we know won’t go anywhere, yet complain freely about. Indulge in endless matches that result in too many meaningless messages back and forth, yet vent to our mates over how shitty and hopeless dating apps are. We willingingly settle into a habits and ruts because it feels too hard to venture down another path. Pretty much everyone who’s been on the dating market has been there, so don’t let a dating rut worry or get your confidence down. As with all new paths in life, it’s a step by step process. If you can clearly ( or even vaguely ) identify that you’re stuck in a rut and have a need to change it, I hope some of the suggestions below help…
You can’t open a new door until the old door is shut – So clear the cobwebs of past ( or present ) relationships that don’t serve you. Ask yourself… Who is more of a burden than a blessing ? Is that casual ” booty call ” relationship really fulfilling you in the right way ? * see what I did there 😉 * Are the rose coloured pictures of relationships past clouding your here and now ? Think about who in life you’ve been holding onto for really no reason at all, and give yourself permission to let go. Make a conscious effort to make space in your life for someone new.
Ditch your dating routine – You most likely have a fail safe restaurant or bar that’s a “go to ” on a first date. A place that feels comfortable and familiar to combat the first date nerves. Along with a few impressive stories or witty one-liners to fall back in case of any awkward silences, and a list of “first date ” questions memorised. Ditch it all my friends, because clearly it’s not working if we find ourselves in a rut. Choose a new place for every first date, and never talk about the same thing two dates running. Do things that feel a little foreign, yet exciting so it keeps you fresh and invigorated.
When in doubt, retreat and replenish – An almost fool proof path to feeling reenergised about dating ? Delete and retreat. Remove every app off your phone and just give yourself a break babe. Because endless matches and meaningless messages back and forth is fucking exhausting, and ultimately leaves us with a jaded perspective of dating and love. When you do decide to come back, dip your toe into one that dosen’t play into the same fundamentals that left you feel so drained and depleted. Like First Rounds On Me. Sure, I’m slightly bias as it’s Joe and I’s technological baby. However I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again… I believe in our app so strongly because it is designed to combat the typical woes of online dating.
Steps to self love
We can talk on the methods to the madness of knowing ourselves but ultimately it all goes back to one thing… Self love. Arguably the greatest love you’ll will ever experience. But how do you build a consistent and kind self narrative ? One that leads to action on a daily basis and helps us move forward in all areas of life, including dating ? I spoke on a few small ways to enhance or improve your self love routine in a previous blog ( https://firstroundsonme.co/month-of-the-woman/ ) but today I want to take a deeper dive into how we can implement some relatively easy yet incredibly effective self love techniques.
Manage your energy – I’ve struggled with this for a long time, being a classic introverted extrovert I tend to overextend myself in large doses then feel the need to shuts all door and go completely insular so I can re-up. Our energy is so precious, and others feel the flows and halts in it. If you are constantly over exerting yourself then falling into patterns of hibernation like I once did, it doesn’t create a healthy space for love to blossom and you’ll continue to replay the cycle until you go a bit mad. So I urge you to learn to say no when you know that energy is better spent just filling your own up. Spend the time to understand how certain people, certain energies affect you and yours. Be hyper aware of how much energy you want/can expend in any given moment, and make sure it’s not through any sense of obligation. This is not selfish. It’s self preservation.
Do nothing – Yes, I said nothing. Nothing can be lying on the couch doodling on a piece of paper, taking a long walk with only the sound of nature and the occasional impatient drivers horn. It can be making your favourite dinner to the sounds of your favourite tune, or laying cozy under a pile of blankets with snacks galore and your favourite binge-able show the only light source in the room. My point is, doing something that has absolutely no other purpose than to relax you, bring you joy and/or give you some much needed fresh air/Vitamin D is not only good, but damn necessary for the soul. It’s a form of self love we don’t allow very often because it’s deemed “lazy”, but the proof is in the pudding. I guarantee a day, or even a few hours of “non-activities” like these will leave you not only feeling rejuvenated but also motivated for the days to come.
Start a folder and label it ” For the times you forget how amazing you are “ – You may giggle ( I know I did ) when first reading this but its actually an incredible way to boost your confidence or combat bouts of imposter syndrome. When you receive positive feedback, a compliment or sweet and encouraging message from someone you love, screenshot it and put it in there. I know it may seem like we are going against the whole ” don’t look for outside sources of worth ” but these are genuine sources of worth. Designed to validate you in a pure and healthy way, and is sometimes the boost we need.
Write yourself love notes – In the same vein of the folder idea above, I encourage you to get a few pieces of different coloured paper ( in the happiest colours for you ) and write some beautiful, motivating and/or inspiring words to yourself. Then tape them to your bathroom mirror and repeat them out loud at the start of every day while looking yourself in the eyes. You have no idea how powerful this small act of self love can be, truly. If done on a consistent basis, I think you’ll be blown away with how kind your self narrative becomes.
I want to leave you today with a question. How could you possibly know what it takes to have a healthy relationship with someone else, when you struggle to have one with yourself ? Date you before you even think about dating anyone else. Get to know yourself, be comfortable and confident with who you are and what you bring to the table. Many of us are guilty of forgetting how bright our light’s shine, and spending the time to truly love yourself is the only longterm remedy. Until next time x
HJG for First Rounds On Me