Love. It’s a topic that we talk about, read about, listen to, and see constantly. Most of us have experienced some form of heartbreak in our lives and over the past two years I have been involved with a man and had my heart broken in a way that I didn’t know it could be.  During these past two years, our situationship (it’s never been a relationship) has been tumultuous. There has been deceit and lies and pain and confusion and tears. There’s also been laughs and happiness that were as strong and the polar opposite of the pain that I felt.

As a way to get over everything that I’ve felt and experienced, I’ve been trying to take better care of myself and truly understand how and why I could allow myself to accept this level of disrespect and treatment from another human being. One of the things that I realized through therapy and lots of soul-searching was that even though I have very high self-esteem I don’t have very high self-worth.  We tend to use the two interchangeably, but they are different things. Self-esteem is the positive or negative evaluations of the self; it’s a judgement of oneself as well as an attitude toward yourself. Self-worth is the sense of one’s own value or worth as a person. I have high self-esteem and a high confidence level. I think highly of myself and believe in my mental abilities. I am confident in my looks and know that I am educated, strong etc. But my self-worth is not as high. When my friends talk about how amazing I am, I don’t believe them. I don’t always see what other people see when they look at me. I don’t think I’m worthy.  Because of this, I attract and put up with far less than what I deserve. After a romantic relationship or situationship ends we tend to blame the other person but I realized that I had to accept my responsibility in this and I taught him how to treat me and respect me because I told him that this is what I believed I was worth.

So after coming to this realization, I decided that in order for me to know what I deserve and how I should be treated in my future relationship, I would have to do it myself. I have decided to date myself until I am ready to date again. I have been on two dates so far. My first date I bought myself flowers after work and took myself out to a nice hotel for dinner. My second date was a movie date with a glass of wine and appetizer at a wine bar after. It’s been fun dating myself. I’ve gotten dressed up for both wearing dresses as I probably would on a date with someone else. I’ve started scheduling dates in advance so it gives me more time to prepare for them and increases my anticipation.I’m hoping that through dating myself, I will learn more about my likes and dislikes as well as learning how I should be treated and respected so that when someone comes along, I won’t accept less than I deserve.

I challenge you to date yourself and tell me about what you do to show yourself love and respect. I’ll keep you updated as to how my dates are going! Next up, lunch and I’m making reservations!

-Elizabeth Dehaan