Updated: Jul 23, 2021
“No matter how attractive a person’s potential may be, you have to date their reality.” ~Mandy Hale~
I’ve come across the “would you date yourself?” question many times, whether in conversation with my girlfriends, something I read on a blog or in a magazine, or heard on a podcast. I laugh when I think about how these conversations went with some of my girlfriends. “Hell yea I’d date myself! I’m the sh*t!” “Of course, my cooking is too good,” and “I got that bomb, I’d date me for sure” are some of the standout responses at the front of my memory. ‘No’ was my typical response, one reason being I didn’t see myself as my type. I had also convinced myself I wasn’t even a relationship person. Since this question didn’t seem to apply to me, I’d never seriously considered it.
I only recently pondered this question again, but with a different, more mature, intentional approach than to thoughtlessly declare an automatic no. I’m currently on a journey of self-healing, and part of this process involves self-reflection and self-inventory. One of my virtual mentors recently posed this question in a way that led me to consider this more seriously. Deciding whether or not you would date yourself shouldn’t be a quantifier of self-esteem, but instead of self-awareness. I may be good on paper, meaning I have potential based on superficial factors. I also have to be aware of what I would bring to the table as a person by taking an honest inventory of myself, my character, my habits, how I relate to others, how I handle conflict, how I communicate, how I feel about myself, what I want in life, etc. So no offense to my girlfriends, but while I got a good laugh from our past conversations, personally I’d have to consider qualities other than what I believed men would find attractive.
Below are some of the questions I asked myself.
Am I happy?
Prior to the pandemic and working from home, ‘no’ would have definitely been my answer to this question. Even though I was grateful for a lot, when I think about how I spent my time, and how I found myself feeling on a daily basis, happiness wasn’t a feeling I recognized. Most of my time was spent at a job I didn’t find challenging or fulfilling, an office environment I personally found toxic, and battling traffic for an average of three hours a day. My daily life often left me drained with nothing left in me to give to anyone. Obviously there have been some changes since the pandemic and I’m able to find my happy a bit easier, but I don’t desire to date anyone who is unhappy and irritable on a daily basis.
Do I know what makes me happy?
A year ago, I’d have a hard time listing just five things that made me happy and brought me joy. I didn’t know how to communicate what made me happy because I didn’t notice the feeling often; it was so unfamiliar. I was also so used to focusing on what made me unhappy. I have no desire to date anyone who is so unfamiliar with frequent happiness, they can’t communicate what they enjoy. It’s internally draining enough being the person that doesn’t know, so to be the person on the outside trying to figure out how to please the person you’re dating is unnecessarily taxing and trying.
What kind of people do I attract?
After much reflection on the type of men I’ve dealt with over my life, I can recognize a lot of common traits that point to areas in myself I need to work on. From men who were mentally and emotionally abusive, controlling, disrespectful, lacking direction, angry, and had no desire to commit to anyone, I am able to recognize and acknowledge a very palpable low self-esteem that attracted these types of men. When I went through a period where I couldn’t even be bothered to make myself presentable when I left the house, constant self-deprecation, and my energy exuded that I’m feeling down on myself, what I attracted was people who reinforced and took advantage of that.
Where am I in life?
I can recall being unemployed, bouncing around to different relatives’ homes, being a recent college grad receiving general relief from the county, and just depressed about everything. I’d feel my blood boil whenever anyone questioned why I was single. Because it’s not my f*cking priority! Can I get myself together please? Dating isn’t a priority when I’m barely self-sufficient and feeling like a failure.
I would date the person who prioritizes themselves, and makes sure they’re in the best place they can be before trying to build anything with another person.
Am I a good communicator?
I’m not good at communicating my feelings, especially in conflict. I am still learning to cope with anxiety, which tends to negatively affect the way I communicate. I’d find it hard dating someone who is inept at explaining their feelings, and who had poor conflict resolution skills.
Do you think you would date yourself? Why or why not?
What would you bring to the table as a partner?
Can you bring the qualities you are looking for?
I encourage anyone pursuing a relationship with another person, to do the work of learning yourself and loving yourself first.