Lizzie Benson
December 21, 2015 10:14 am

The concept of “dating yourself” probably sounds very strange at first thought. Sure, it’s not a common notion. But here’s the thing: when you’re dating someone, you’re committed, right? Sure, things might not always be perfect, but you care for them. You want to work it out. You go out of your way to do nice things for them, like buy their favorite ice cream or watch what they want on Netflix. This is all just common behavior, right?

So why on earth wouldn’t you want to treat yourself the same way? The longest and most meaningful relationship we have is with our own self—there’s no escaping that fact. Why do we insist, then, on treating ourselves like a second priority after work, school, friends, and partners?

But what exactly does “dating oneself” entail? It’s simple, honestly. just make time for yourself. Take a mental health day once in a while. Treat yourself to a new book, a manicure, or a day trip. Spend time with people that make you happy, and never mind the rest. Only do things that you want to do: treat yourself like someone you’re trying to impress. Dress up and take yourself out to dinner. Or stay in and crack open a bottle of wine.

Do something that’s good for you. Learn yoga, finally take the leap to vegetarianism, or make an appointment with a dietitian or your gynecologist. Get into the habit of taking care of yourself, because there will come a day when the only support system you can count on is yourself.

Treat yourself gently, like you would your very best friend. Make a nest of blankets and eat ice cream for dinner and dry your tears when the need arises. If you’re feeling cranky, take a nap. Sleep in late on Sunday mornings and eat breakfast in bed, savoring the feeling of sunlight streaming in through the window.

Do something that scares you. Give your time and energy to those who are less fortunate, and go home at night feeling fuller than ever. Learn something that you’ve always wanted to know, like HTML coding or Italian cooking or beer making. Understanding and treating yourself better will make it easier to understand and treat others better, whether it’s friends, family, or romantic partners.

It’s time to start treating yourself like you’re third date material. Be gentle with yourself. Be polite and kind and genuine. Know that there will be spats and miscommunication. It’s all part of the messy, beautiful process. At the end of the day, you’re building a stronger foundation for a better relationship with yourself. What’s better than that?

[Image via NBC]

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