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Dating Yourself: How To Start Caring For Yourself

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bristol chapter.

We have all heard somewhere the phrase ‘You need to love yourself first’. Whether you believe this to be true or not, and whether you are in a relationship or living the single life, your relationship with yourself will always be important. So why not try to date yourself?

Where should you start?

Like dating anybody else, dating yourself can be hard at first. Some relationships can be conflictual and unhealthy, they can lack communication, common understanding and you can hear and say hurtful things. From time to time, you may have a relationship like this with yourself. I know I have! But the reality is that you can’t break up with yourself.

After realising that my relationship with myself could be looked at like a relationship I would have with someone else, I asked myself: how do you build a strong relationship with someone? How do you come to care for them? I think the first and most evident answer is: you spend time with them. Quality time. You go on dates, you talk, you share, and you get to know them, come to respect them, and care for them. Dating yourself successfully takes mastering three essential elements.

“Communication is key”

Taking the time to communicate with yourself is essential to having a healthy mindset. How can you do this? Journaling is a good way to start. It is believed to strengthen your memory and reduce your stress. From exploring gratitude to the stream of consciousness, journaling can take many forms. If you have never done it, I would recommend starting with the “5 Minute Journal” method.

Meditation can also be a great tool to build resilience and mindfulness over time. If you are uncomfortable with it, simply deciding to stay in silence for a little while and avoiding distractions can be a great way to start noticing yourself.

Build self-respect

Building your self-esteem is essential to caring for yourself. One way to do this is by keeping promises you make to yourself. So be realistic! If you can put in work doing it for someone else, why wouldn’t you do it for yourself? You’ll probably quickly experience a new or strengthened self-confidence.  

Take yourself on a date!

Ah, the infamous. A few months ago, I went to see Heathers at the Bristol Hippodrome by myself. I do have to say, it felt quite awkward when I came up to the person checking tickets and they asked me with a surprised voice: “Just one?” A thought popped into my mind that this only happened in movies when the main character is going through a depressing time. How great. I felt even more uncomfortable sitting down in the theatre and realising that I was surrounded by groups of people and I could not see one other person by themselves.

“Maybe this was a bad idea? Is everybody looking at me right now? What the hell was I thinking?”

But when the musical started and the two “straight” dads professed their love to each other at their sons’ funeral, and I just started laughing by myself enjoying the show alone, it started to feel empowering. When the show ended and I walked home alone, it felt nice to be able to reflect by myself and know that whatever I thought was my opinion, because I had just shared this moment with myself. 

So here are of few ideas for dates by yourself in Bristol:

Go to the museums – There are so many and if you like drawing, go with a sketchbook!

A self-care evening – Take a bath, put on a face mask and enjoy your favourite tv show or movie!

Go on a picnic – When the weather is warmer, what about going to the Downs?

Go to a music concert – Fever organises candlelight classical music concerts every week in many venues of Bristol. 

Go to the cinema – If you really want to treat yourself you can go to the Everyman and enjoy a pizza and/or a milkshake alongside your movie!

Go on a walk – Whether it is walking to the Suspension Bridge, around the Downs, doing a Banksy tour, or just exploring the city, Bristol is a great place to go on adventures. 

Go to dinner by yourself – I have personally not tried this one just yet and it kind of terrifies me. But that’s a good lesson, dating yourself is a journey and just deciding to spend time alone is already an achievement!

So what is dating yourself about? 

I think answering this question is quite personal. For me, it’s about self-acceptance, getting to a place of self-confidence. It’s about keeping the promises I make to myself and putting myself first when I need to. It’s about deciding how I want to live my life and fitting my friends and family around the plans I have for myself, rather than the other way around. What is it about for you?

Pia Blondel

Bristol '24

Hiya, I’m Pia! I’m a Politics student at the University of Bristol in my final year and I really enjoy reflecting and writing on lifestyle and news topics :)