How to Date Yourself
“I’ve never been without a boyfriend,” she said. “I was always in a relationship.” Hearing her words was not shocking, or alarming but familiar.
I knew this insatiable need to be coupled up: driven by a deep-seated belief that I was incomplete without a mate. It is an all too common byproduct of having an absent father as indicated by H. Norman Wright in his book, “Always Daddy’s Girl”.
Some wounded women react to their deprivation of fatherly love in the opposite way: displaying an excessive appetite for men. They demand relationships with men which are marked by total devotion. . . some wounded women want to live in a perpetual state of courtship excitement. When a relationship becomes routine or predictable, she ends it and seeks another man who will satisfy her craving for intense love and acceptance.
Countless times we’ve seen and heard of girls and women who run to the arms and beds of men and boys in search of the love they lacked from their father. But men are not capable of filling the father shaped vacuum in a woman’s soul. The contentment she is longing for can only be found in God alone.
This type of inner peace requires a woman get comfortable with who she is by discovering , knowing, dating, and learning to love herself. Recently, I heard this point reiterated in an interview with pastor and author T.D. Jakes, when he said something I will never forget.
“I am in touch with myself in a way that a lot of people are not. I know me. I’ve dated me. You know when you date somebody you explore them to see who they are. Most people are so busy dating other people they’ve never dated themselves.”
His words resonated with a place I stumbled upon in my 20s and later revisited in my 30s. It was a place depicted on the big screen in 1999 when actress Julia Roberts played an indecisive Maggie Carpenter. She was a “Runaway Bride”, who had left 4 grooms standing at the altar. Ike Graham, played by Richard Gere, confronted her regarding why she kept running just before he became her fifth victim.
He challenged her on not knowing who she was even down to the type of eggs she liked. Before this confrontation, Maggie had developed a habit of morphing into the woman the man in her life wanted rather than discovering the woman she was created to be. And although this was just a movie, it spoke to a very real temptation to lose the essence of who you are for the sake of a keeping a man. This is the premise of why we should learn to date ourselves.
A woman must fall in love with herself before she ever falls in love with a man. Which may be a mind shift if you are used to coupling up like I was. If this is a new concept and you are not sure where to begin I am offering just a few suggestions below.
#1 Talk to God
When it comes to getting to know yourself the best place to start is with your creator. He knows you best.
Psalms 139: 1 (NIV) says, You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
God’s knowing of us encompasses the totality of who we are. His view includes that humiliating middle school experience, our family function – or lack there of, personality quirks, life purpose, deeply ingrained fears, bad habits, and HORMONES (need I say more?!) With infinite wisdom, He gets us.
Taking the good with the bad, He continues to pursue us in spite of what He knows. Amazing – only God would do that! Before time, He made a conscience decision to create, know, and love his daughters with unconditional love. A woman immersed in the love of God finds satisfying serenity in being fully known by Him.
#2 Pay Attention
What do other people say you are good at? What do you enjoy? These may be indications of your unique gifts and abilities. They may also be small glimpses of what you should be doing.
# 3 Take a Personality Test
A great jump start towards discovering who you are is a personality test. These test are not only designed to help you understand who you are but to also show how you can best interact with others.
# 5 Read
There is something powerful about engaging with words, whether they are listened to or written – by us or someone else. Engaging with words has the ability to awaken parts of our soul that would otherwise lie dormant.
#6 Take Risk
Although safety is comfortable we were designed to live in the tension of what we can do on our own and what can only be accomplished if God does it through us. This is not a place we arrive at once we get the man, 2.5 kids, house and picket fence. This is the place we pursue with relentless intensity because it is woven into the fabric of who we are.
A woman can only arrive at this place by making the conscious decision to date herself. And when she does she will never regret it! I encourage you to take the time to explore who you are and why you have been placed on this earth. You are worth getting to know!