One night, I went on a date with myself and it changed my life. That night, I also overcame a huge personal fear: being alone.
I had been dating this guy for a steady period of time when he decided to call it quits. I was devastated and hurt until I caught myself throwing an endless pity party and didn't like it.
At that moment, I decided I'd take the initiative and do something completely different that I had never done before; I'd go on a "date" with myself.
I got out of my bed and decided to prepare for my "date." I combed my hair, put on makeup, dressed in my best outfit and looked up movie times.
I had been begging my ex to watch Kevin Hart's newest movie, "The Wedding Ringer," and since I never had the chance to watch it, I decided that I'd take myself to the next showing.
It was around 9 pm and the movie wouldn't start until about 10:15 pm. During this hour of waiting, I was actually nervous and excited.
I was nervous because this would be my first time going to the movies by myself, an act that I was always too prideful to do before. I was excited to overcome my fear of being alone in a normally "social" activity.
I arrived a little earlier, as if I were on a real date, bought my ticket and grabbed a seat toward the back. My purse sat beside me, where my ex would've sat.
I started to panic as I looked around and saw the theater was filled with couples, but I quickly corrected my thoughts and reminded myself that I was on a date as well — with myself.
I used the time to release my emotions. I laughed when I wanted to laugh and I cried when I needed to cry.
I realized I was spending time with "someone" who knew my deepest, darkest secrets, who was there to celebrate my happiest triumphs, who was there during the times when I cried alone in my car, who understood my little quirks and pet peeves, who was there in the lowest points of my life, who was there since the beginning of time when I was born and who will be there until the day I take my last breath.
I was on a date with myself, the person who sacrificed the most when she loved the wrong people, when she should've learned how to love and embrace her own self.
I accomplished two major things by seeing this movie. First, I did something new and saw a movie alone. Second, I was no longer afraid of doing things alone or being alone because I knew I had myself.
Some people might misinterpret why I find it so important to go on a "date" with oneself. It might seem narcissistic to some, but that's completely off. It's important to go on a date with yourself because if you can't love yourself, who will?
If you only depend on others for happiness, you'll be disappointed in the end. But, if you take a small portion of your time and dedicate it strictly to yourself by putting your phone on silent, ignoring the incoming texts and focusing solely on spending time with yourself (as you would with any other date), you'll slowly find the inner peace that you were relying on others to find.
As I reevaluate my history, I acknowledge that I was afraid of being alone. I feared never finding someone who would "love" me. I was always searching for another soul to give me the confirmation that I was worthy, but yesterday, I finally went on a date with "someone" who made me realize that I don't need that.
I will use this period of my life to heal from all the brokenness that I've suffered. I've realized that only putting on a Band-Aid every time I have a gash isn't the best way to solve things. I need to first clean up the wound, disinfect the area, add ointment to the injury, then wrap a Band-Aid around myself.
There are steps for healing, yet I was too impatient. I sought for quick resolutions, but it only delayed the healing process for me in the end.
Just as it takes steps and time for a physical wound to heal, the same applies for emotional wounds.
The best way for me to heal from a broken heart is to redirect my energy toward myself, not my exes or the wrong people who entered my life.
I will use this time to do all the things that I wanted to do or accomplish, but pushed aside to accommodate other people. I will cherish the moments when I spend time with the one person who will never (nor can ever) leave my side.
To those who have put off dates with his or her own self, this is my advice to you:
1. Plan a day that you'll spend with just yourself and pick activities that you'll do:
When you have a planned schedule and a list of activities that you can do, you'll find yourself more willing to follow through with your plan, rather than deciding to skip out because you're unsure of what to do.
Also, use this time to do all the things that you wish you did before. Is there a new movie that you've been dying to see? Is there a new restaurant that opened around the block that you've been wanting to check out?
The freshness of a new activity will help to keep you busy and also be refreshing as you step away from your normal routine.
2. Treat yourself to a nice dinner:
I don't know about you, but food makes my world go around. If you're uncomfortable grabbing dinner alone, you can also go to a delicious dessert spot and treat yourself for a shorter amount of time.
And, if wonder why you should treat yourself, instead wonder why not?
3. Look and dress your best, as if you're on a real date:
When you look good, you feel good. Imagine how you'd feel when you're in your sweats or PJs, laying in bed and not showering. You feel like sh*t.
But, if you shower, do your hair, wear your best outfit and go do these activities by yourself, not only will you feel better about yourself, but you'll be taking care of yourself, too.
You were willing to go out of your way to look your best for others; you should do no less for yourself.
4. Reevaluate your history and appreciate yourself:
When it's a friend's birthday and I get all "lovey-dovey" as I write the card, I tend to look back at our friendship and its history. I think about the happiest moments with this friend, and I'd also think of our painful ones, as well.
I'd remember how good this friend made me feel when he or she encouraged or gave me wise advice. You need to apply this same concept to yourself.
Think of all the times you were alone or felt alone. Think of all the times you felt like you were on top of the world. There is only one person in this world who has experienced every minute and second of your life with you.
You are the only person who was there, even when your close loved ones, family and friends couldn't be by your side.
You are the only one who has battled your inner demons, who understands the pain and worries and struggles, who understands why certain things annoy you the way they do and who knows all the secrets and concerns that you can't even seem to share with your best friend.
You are the only one who has felt the pain that you can't describe. You've seen yourself at the most vulnerable state you've ever been in, when you felt like you hit rock bottom.
You've been the one who cried yourself to sleep, or pushed yourself to wake up and get another day of life started.
It is only you who ultimately has the power to control the destiny of your happiness. And, it is ultimately only you who has the power to make your dreams come true as well.
Love yourself, embrace yourself and go on a first date with yourself.