Ways to feed your soul when you’re dating
If you’re not okay within yourself, you’re not going to be okay when you’re meeting new people. Here’s how to engage in self-care when you’re single and dating.
“You can’t be happy in a relationship until you are happy in yourself,” the experts say (using ‘experts’ in the sense of ‘your married friends’).
Your married friends are often wrong. They also say things like “You’ll meet someone when you least expect it” (no, you’ll probably meet someone when you’re actively dating), and “It will happen when it happens” (which doesn’t mean anything at all).
But, in this case anyway, they are annoyingly right.
If you want a good relationship, you really do need to be happy within yourself. Good relationships require two emotionally healthy partners. If you’re looking for love, you need to start by making yourself as happy and healthy as possible. You need nurture yourself as enthusiastically as you would care for a potential partner.
And here’s where I become annoying. Because what, I hear you ask, does ‘making yourself happy’ look like? What does it mean to nurture yourself?
Well, it sounds abstract, but it’s really very practical. It’s all about prioritizing yourself and your needs. It’s about figuring out what brings you joy and contentment and making those activities part of your routine.
Self-care looks different for every person. For me, it involves a daily walk, regular afternoon naps, and the occasional dive into a jar of extra crunchy peanut butter. It’s about reruns of Sex and the City, drinking cappuccinos with friends, listening to audiobooks in the car, and slathering myself in vanilla-cupcake scented body lotion.
That’s how I nurture myself. How you nurture yourself may be entirely different.
You might love crime shows on TV, or jogging on the beach, or vanilla soy chai lattes, or playing Pictionary with the family. You might like ballroom dancing or cuddling kittens or reading graphic novels or fighting crime. (If, you know, you’re a superhero.)
A daily dose of joy
Whatever you enjoy, it’s important to take time out and do it. You need to care for your body and feed your soul (and not just peanut butter). You need to bring yourself as much joy as possible on a daily basis. This will help you in a relationship, but, more importantly, it will make your life happier. You’ll be more content, more rounded, and more attractive. Content, fulfilled people are great to be around. (Except for the peanut butter smears on their chins.)
If you don’t know what will bring you joy, then it’s time to find out. Think about the last time you felt truly content or excited or absorbed. Revisit an old hobby or experiment with a new one. Try yoga, join a sports team, practice meditation, find a good podcast. Take a cooking class, go to the theatre, borrow some books from the library!
And, on a daily basis, take some time out for yourself. Lie on the floor or use a meditation app, go for a walk or read a magazine, listen to some relaxation music or dance around the living room in your undies! It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it nourishes you.
Eat the peanut butter
Remember: the happier you are, the happier you will be in a relationship. Those annoying experts were right. Eat the peanut butter, buy the body lotion, and enjoy your life.
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