Dating has always come easy for me.
It's not because I'm a attractive man, but because I give off good energy and exude confidence.
And before I got with my now-girlfriend, I would go on self-dates. I still do to this day.
From a young and a conformed mindset, this would weird to some and awkward to most others. To the naked eye, it could be assumed I was a loser, that I was so lame that I continually got stood up or that I had no friends.
As I have become more comfortable with myself and my mind, I have accepted the scrutiny and the looks of judgment and ridicule from others when I take myself on dates.
I used to hate being alone, and I believed being alone was a sign of being a loser or a weirdo.
Riding in the car was unbearable, and being in the house alone was unfathomable. Going to get gas, grocery shop and even run personal errands would not have happened unless I was accompanied by someone.
The fear and agony of sitting in silence and facing my own thoughts and emotions was foreign to me, and I did not want to be the one to do that.
To sit at a coffee shop and watch other people so indulged in conversation when all I had in front of me was my phone and the occasional laptop was sickening.
I could not escape feeling of being uncool, and it was my biggest demon and enemy that I had to fight tirelessly day in and day out each time I was alone.
But once I turned 22, I had enough of the self-doubt. I wanted to gain back my confidence and finally feel OK with being alone.
My first self-date was a small and low-key adventure: a movie in the middle of the day.
It felt amazing to finally conquer one of my worst fears and not having to be accompanied by someone.
My next self date was to a concert. The fear of not knowing anyone while standing in line in front of the venue scared me to a point of paralysis.
It was so bad, I wanted to leave or have a friend with me. But, I stuck it out and enjoyed the night.
And this is when my confidence really set in. It was the confidence knowing I am OK alone, that I can vibe with myself and that I don't need another person around to feel comfortable.
This is when my outlook changed.
If you're in a similar position that I was and are afraid to take that first step of going on dates with yourself, ask yourself a few questions.
If you cant spend time and love yourself, how can anyone else?
If you cannot entertain yourself without the presence of somebody else, what is the point of being an unique individual?
Once you have those answers, you can really begin to be comfortable with who you are.
Self-dating has been a game changer. It's a relaxing and refreshing reminder that it is OK to be alone, no matter where you are.
The anxieties that have plagued my mind about what people will think or what I will do alone in a place with no friends no longer bother me. In fact, this challenged me to become more outgoing and social than I would be if I were with a friend or two.
Some of the greatest things come from outside our comfort zones. In my case, my newfound confidence and self-value have completely changed my life.
Of course, I still enjoy going on dates with my girlfriend, but self-dates will always take the cake.