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The Secret to Self Loving

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This past year, I have come to appreciate the power of truly loving myself. Most of my life, being alone was one of my biggest fears. I found myself in numerous relationships for the wrong reasons and ended up settling in ill-fitting ‘partnerships’. This deeply rooted fear and lack of understanding of myself caused the relationships to become my whole world; my focus of attention; my center. I would sacrifice my own goals for the other person. And, when the relationship collapsed, so did my sense of self.

Through much introspection, I realized the source of these failed relationships was myself. I realized that I didn’t truly love or appreciate myself and had relied on external sources for love and approval. I decided to change. I had to overcome my fear of loneliness by finding independence and personal freedom. Even since I found true appreciation for myself, the quality of relationships I have attracted has been phenomenal. I have discovered that the more I loved and understood myself, the less I feared being by myself, and the more healthier relationships I was able to attract into my life.

I started doing what I called “Dates with myself“. Regardless my external relationship status, I would schedule time with myself. I would literally take myself out on a date and spend that time totally focused on myself. It’s my time. We spend so much time and energy focused on others that we forget to recharge the source of that energy. It is only when you are well that you can have the energy and internal resources to make a positive difference and help others. This is a simple, yet powerful concept that can dramatically improve your wellbeing, effectiveness and mental health.

Before attempting a ‘date with yourself’, Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Remove Disturbances – unplug your phone, power down the cell phone and blackberry, shut down the computer, turn off the tv. Do not let your mind get distracted during your self-date. This is your time to just be with yourself.
  • Being Solo – It’s important that you are on your own. You can talk to strangers, and make new friends, but you are on the self-date to get acquainted with yourself, no one else. If you live with a partner, schedule it so he/she isn’t home, or just take yourself out of the house. If you have kids, find a sitter, or plan around when your kids are not at home. It’s also important to realize that this time is a gift for yourself, and you should only be focused on your well-being.
  • Schedule – Plan how long you would like your dates to last. Set a minimum time, and commit to focus on yourself for at least that time. I typically schedule 2-4 hour dates with myself.
  • Communicate – if you are in a relationship, it’s important to communicate what you are doing and it’s benefits clearly with your partner. Not only do we get their support, but also avoid any misunderstandings or neglect.

Here are some ideas for ‘dates with yourself’. You can intermix several activities below into one date:

  • Reading Date – Go to a trendy café or find a comfortable place at home and read something inspirational for an hour or more. Have some hot herbal tea, cut up some fruits or crackers with cheese. Fully enjoy the experience.

  • Forgiveness & Gratitude Date – Find a comfortable spot. I like to sit on a bench overlooking the water at sunset, or curled up on the couch in my living room table surrounded by candles.
    • Forgive – Write on a journal or loose paper all the things you forgive yourself for. We tend to be very harsh on ourselves, and voluntarily blame ourselves internally for failures, failures of achievement, failures to action, etc. Take this time to forgive yourself for all the harsh things said, for mistreatment of your health, etc.
    • Gratitude – List out all the things in your life you are thankful for. This is my favorite thing to do.
    • Admiration – List out all the things that others admire about you. What are some things they’d say that you are good at or have natural abilities towards? Notice that I wanted you to pretend to be another person looking at yourself. We tend to blank on this question when asking ourselves directly.
  • Musical Date – Take in a live concert after treating yourself to a healthy and satisfying meal. For example, every Thursday, I used to make myself a great raw vegetarian meal and then go to the Symphony. Did you know that you could get cheap single tickets in the first 4 rows? In Seattle, it’s $15 at Seattle Symphony. Most people are not aware of this. It’s not advertised.
    Another idea is going to a jazz club or a show. Talk to strangers when you are there. You’ll find the experience much more rewarding.
  • Yoga or Meditation Date – Take a group yoga or meditation class at a local gym, community center, or temple. I used to do drop in classes at YMCA. They are $10 a class for non-members. After class, jump into the Jacuzzi if there is one. Come home, enjoy a light meal and relax for the evening.
  • Outdoors Date – Go for a long walk in an area that interests you. Go to a park, go camping, go for a long drive. I like to spend an hour on Sundays walking through the ‘pike place’ market (local farmer’s market) with my dog, Tommy. I enjoy seeing all the tourists, fresh produce and the energy in the market. I also like to walk along the waterfront. It’s a good idea to bring a book and some water with you. Wander without rushing.
  • Art & Culture – Go to an art gallery opening or a local museum. In Seattle, we have the art walk the first Thursday of every month where many galleries are open into the night. It’s very festive and inspiring, and I especially enjoy the people watching.

What do you do to center yourself? Let us know in the comments.

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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183 thoughts on The Secret to Self Loving

  1. Ingrid

    Love your article, very true. I learned to understand why most of my stress could never vanish, I wasn’t doing nothing to help myself other than taking time to think about stress and not myself. Thank you so much for giving us that light that we couln’t see or that I was not seen it has been there.

  2. pranav

    THe articles are in this websites are similar with me and when i read it i am impressed on the editor of this website..plz gave me regular updates on my id which is enter in the mail box…i done to read ot today i put my reading on the practical…plz help me to overcome to this things and i want to reach high…that place no one can think and have he capabilities to think…thanks

  3. Hey Tina,

    The strongest relationships are interdependent.

    Each individual is 100% fine with being by themselves. They are fully awesome. But when together with other like-minded people, the relationship becomes super-awesome, a sum greater than its parts.

    In order for something to be truly great, the individual parts have to be solid. Cooking a dish where one or more of the ingredients is sub-par will result in a mediocre dish. The same goes for great relationships: the individual people have to be amazing to begin with.

    If you are 100% okay with being alone, then you truly love and appreciate yourself. You don’t need validation from others: you know you’re great, you’re beautiful, you’re creative.

    Any relationships you have will naturally become stronger – it will be about elevating the individual to an even greater level rather than seeking validation. You’ll simply be enjoying things you already completely enjoy even more with another awesome person, rather than leeching validation and seeking acceptance.

    Build the foundation. Work on yourself first before working with others.

    Keep self loving Tina,

  4. Tye

    This was an awesome read. I felt as though I was reading my own thoughts and desires. I once experienced the self date but only didnt call it that I just felt my soul cry out for some alone time with me. It was the best thing I could have ever done. The only thing is I have to tell myself that or else I am just alone and not on a date. I have to really allow my self to take in any time spent alone as valuable time with self and not being without but being full of peace and enjoying every moment spent.

  5. It’s a great posting! Thank you for helping to get people into a fantastic mindset and experience of self love. I just wrote a book on the subject called “Pathways to Love: 28 days to Self Love” (on Amazon). We seem very much in alignment with the sweetness of creating a last relationship with the one person who means the most, that relationship with us!

  6. GREAT article! Thank you Tina… these are things/ideas that we all generally know.. but tend to forget.. at least I do… it’s amazing the things that we don’t think about… when we’re not in a healthy place… I’m going to get a note book out to write these things down… :)

  7. akingbala olaniyi

    i really apritiate this reading it makes me feel good

  8. I love the idea of self dating. That is something my friend does all the time. I think it is a great idea. I always struggle with the whole “love yourself” idea. Most people always say to love yourself but never “how” to love yourself.

    The biggest thing to loving yourself is to build a relationship with yourself and what better way to do that than to spend time with self. Great article!

  9. Fantastic article. It is so important to take time for yourself. The caretaker can’t take care of others if they don’t take care of themselves first.

  10. Pinky

    Great article! I think in this way of self loving, people can be independent and will get the true knowledge about love and relationships.

  11. Isabel

    Thank you so much for your point of view. I am too just fed up with failed relationships, and it used to tear me apart when my exs would just end up with another chick and last forever with them. I realized with your words that I depended alot on having a relationship so he can say the words I couldn’t say to by self, words that complimented the woman I am in the exterior. When in reality, his words were just subtitute appreciation because after “the date” I would let myself down again, insulting myself and how ugly I USED to feel. Since my last break up (6 months ago) I decided enough was enough. I started to become more spiritual, reading, having time for myself, invested on things I thought I wasn’t worthy of like Make-up, I actually now know I can look beautiful. Perfumes, purses and better clothes, new hair do. I used to settle with the clearence rack clothes and shoes, and the cheapest make up available. I probably owed 2 perfumes in my whole life, I finished them back in high school! I would go to a mall and spary myself with their testers, i take better care of myself. I pamper myself to whatever I desire and it feels wonderful!! I have more confident now being by myself then when I was in a realtionship. It is so overwhelming just admiting it to everyone! As you mentioned, I have quick dates with myself, I read, walk, exercise, cook, even dance alone!! I have a whole scheduled planned through my day. Unlike before, I felt unworthy. Today I KNOW I’m worth alot!!

    Thank You!!


  12. I completely agree – I do this too! Me and myself spend time watching a favorite episode of star trek or even cooking nice meals. I too believe that people need to realize that you need to put yourself first in order to give to others. If you love yourself, you can love others too and that breeds excellent relationships!

  13. Yas

    What a beautiful post. I feel so relaxed after reading this, thankyou Tina. Looking forward to spending some good quality time with myself.

  14. Janella

    wow. This post is really helpful. I wish I can apply all these. i have to! Thank you for your wonderful blog post.

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