DISCLAIMER: Please, this is not an invitation to slide in the DMs, that couldn't be any farther from the purpose of this blog post.
The truth is that most of us only have good things to speak about ourselves when we analyse a crisis we find ourselves in, telling ourselves we're good people who don't deserve this. But do we really know who we are? If we did, why did we let ourselves be treated in ways "we don't deserve"?
So let's start with "Why?". Why am I here talking about dating, not someone else, but yourself?
I don't know if there's a "right answer" to this question, so I'm going to take this from a personal point of view. Please, keep an open mind and remember that this is just my own opinion based on my personal experiences. It doesn't make anyone else's experiences any less valid. There isn't a one-size-fits-all when it comes to relationships with yourself, your friends or a love interest. I strongly advise you to take this with a pinch of salt 😉
Anyway, I'm doing this because I'd like to come back to this post and read back the advice that I'm giving myself as I always do with my posts, in case I ever forget who I am or feel unable to relate with people on a personal level. I'm doing this for someone who's been through something similar, who might feel the same way that I currently do and feels the need to change it, and who's looking for a way past everything and turning over a new leaf.
I'd love to discuss my experiences without getting too personal, so some points may seem a little vague, but feel free to personally message me and I'll see if I can divulge more. Anyway, the first and perhaps most important point is that there are dangers in giving your heart to just anyone, and the reason why I've embarked on a self-love and self-discovery journey is because I'd grown to be a very cynical, hard-hearted (yet still a hopeless romantic at heart) and so afraid of commitment because of what I've been through. When people drop the word "love", I would internally roll my eyes. Most people misuse it and it's been losing its meaning to me. However, somebody convicted me and I really had to step back and analyse this person that I'd become without even realising.
I accepted substandard treatment and I was making somebody else pay for an ex's mistakes, which is wrong on so many levels. You don't even realise how much baggage you're carrying until it begins to manifest in the way you speak, how paranoid you are around your person, how you're always jumping to conclusions, how you're quick to compromise your values just to keep them, and all that jazz. What a wow.
Here I am, wanting to slap my old self so hard for being so naive and weak and all that. Then I remember to be compassionate. If you don't know the roots, how would you know how to deal with it? I always felt misunderstood, but did I even understand myself? So here I am, learning about what makes me tick, what I love, what I simply won't tolerate, what I have to offer, what I want, all that jazz.
It's about self-love.
When you know yourself well enough, know what makes you tick, know what you enjoy eating, know what you enjoying doing, it'll be easy for you to screen out the unwanted. HOW? I've been doing it all wrong! If I can love myself and treat myself good enough, how can I allow someone else to come and disrespect me or treat me any less than I treat myself?
It's not easy. Where do I even begin?
Eliminating self-doubt was the most important aspect. When you're constantly second-guessing yourself, never feeling like you're adequate, worrying that you're doing too much or worrying that you aren't doing enough, some people can quickly notice that and use it to their advantage. There was a person I loved and I was becoming a lot like him. I adopted his slang, heck I even laughed like he did and told dry jokes like he sometimes did 😂 it took me almost a year to get him out of my system (and I'm STILL getting rid of some learnt habits that I was quick to accept as my own when I was with him.) I had reinvented myself (albeit in a very good way), but I didn't know the real me nonetheless, so it was all pointless. After we broke up, I didn't know what to do with myself because I had built my identity around that person. "Being myself" reminded me of him, and that sucked big time because all I wanted to do was forget about him or something.
Sometimes people come to me to speak about whatever is bothering them. I enjoy helping people as much as I can with what little I have, even if it's just words of advice. I can't count how many times a girl has come to me to speak about a relationship that's downright disrespectful and sometimes even abusive, and then go on to say they can't leave this guy because they "love him" or he "loves them" or, the best one yet, "I can't see myself with anyone else". Ah? In my personal opinion, based on my analysis of the information presented to me, when you're not strong, you're easily manipulated. I've already spoken about knowing yourself in a previous blog and this resonates so well with that message. Some people will manipulate you and try to mould you into somebody you're not. When they leave you, it's hard to try and remember who you were before them, and that could really mess you up. You'll probably ask them to come back into your life and look desperate. My heart aches sometimes when I think of the situations I've allowed myself to go through in the past, based on not knowing myself, low self-esteem and just bad decision making skills in general. I was a mug. Sometimes I laugh about it, sometimes I feel like crying over all those wasted years, money, effort, all that jazz. It's deep. When it comes to matters of the heart, I've learnt the hard way that it's a lot deeper than getting butterflies and I say this because FOOD gives me butterflies for goodness sake! But I'm not gonna marry food now, am I 😂 (although I WILL spend the rest of my life with food but that's not the point 😉) I wanna know who I am, what triggers my emotions, what my weaknesses are, and what my strengths are. When I discover my weaknesses, I can then hopefully protect myself from falling for anything because somebody discovered what I'm weak for.
DISCLAIMER: love isn't a battlefield, please don't get me wrong. It's NOT about strategising or playing games. But your heart is very important. Guard it jealously, be stingy with it. Treat it like it's rare and priceless. I say protect yourself because once you go through the most, trust issues pop up, commitment issues pop up and you risk transferring that baggage onto the next relationship, which is terrible and unfair on the other person.
I took myself out for dinner. I rang the restaurant two weeks in advance and booked myself a table for one at a steakhouse. This was my celebratory meal. My friends texted me asking if everything was ok, feeling bad for not being around so we could do this together. What I told them was that this is precisely what I wanted. Why is it weird that I'd want to dine alone? I must enjoy my own company, discover what food excites my palate and what my favourite wine is, all that jazz. I took my novel with me, I was reading Americanah those days. I ordered myself a glass of merlot, my nice 3 course dinner and spent a whole 2 hours dining! I must say it felt weird initially as it was my first time, but I really enjoyed myself so much so that I'd like to do it again. I'm thinking Shaka Zulu next 😉 That was me "dating myself"
Anyway, girls, please, quit talking about men are trash all the time! Is your father or brother trash? (I'm sorry if you think he is, I truly am). Your tongue is very powerful and you attract what you focus your energy on. If you keep trashy men on your lips, it's like they'll start flocking towards you like bees on honey (or flies on…) I choose to focus my energy on the type of man I see myself with (and hope to be the one he sees himself with, too) so that hopefully, I can draw that positive energy to myself. I get that for some people it's different; you're positive and you speak positive things and yet you keep on attracting weirdos. I just can't explain it 🤷🏾♀️ but keep being positive and being a reflection of whom you seek to be with.
So, I ask you, "Looking at yourself right now with the most honest and unbiased eyes, would you date you?"