Self-Love: Take yourself out on a date

This is one of my favourite exercises to share. It is so simple and yet can be so hard for many to do. Most of us spend so much time giving to others, taking care of our partners, husbands, children, mothers, fathers and friends.  But do we spend enough time taking care of ourselves?And going on a date is so often related to a romantic evening spent with someone else.But what about dating ourselves? Yup! I’m not crazy here. I mean it, we are important too you know!This is an exercise I give to all my students on my 6 weeks course during Desserts & Self-Love week and one I want to share with you! Here’s how it goes:You have to take yourself out on a date. A proper date.Doing something you really love and don’t normally do.And it has to last at least 3 hours!And the most important part… no one else is allowed to come!During this date, treat yourself like you are the love of your life. Behave as if this is a special treat you are giving to yourself…. Because it is and because you deserve it. Notice how much you may resist it, especially the hours leading up to it. And notice how others may show up in your life asking to come along and how tempted you are to say yes.Whatever happens, DO NOT BAIL on yourself!You wouldn’t like it if you were going to meet some guy/girl and they brought a friend along! No way! So say no thank you…. You are going on a date with you and no one else can come.  Then go have a ball and enjoy yourself.This has become one of the most important and valuable tools I use to reconnect with myself and to feel really nourished and pampered… by myself.Especially since becoming a mother, a wife, a teacher and a counsellor!Here is a lovely piece from one of my recent students I thought you might find useful. It is of her experience of this wonderful exercise.I hope you enjoy it! And I hope you enjoy your date night.It was week 5 of our Transform Your Diet, Transform Your Life course – all about sweetness.One of the aspects around this week that we gave particular attention to, was ‘receiving nourishment’ and as part of this, Nicky gave us our homework – to go on a date with ourselves…self-love, self-nourishment, self-care. Noone else was allowed to join. We weren’t allowed to stand ourselves up or cancel. And it had to be at least 3 hours long.I froze. I think a few of us did.The idea to spend all that time with just me, and my thoughts, was daunting. I was never good at being on my own. When I was younger, I used to panic at the thought of being in my own company for more than an hour. I would either make plans or start calling friends. Anything so as not to have to sit with just me. Over the years it has got better. My yoga practice helped this hugely.Yet that old fear was still there… I took a breath and leaped in anyway.For my ‘me date’, I decided to do two things I don’t normally get the time to do or allow myself time to do: Just sit with a coffee and visit an exhibition.That Sunday, the weather was so lovely, I grabbed my book, headed to my favourite coffee shop in Clapham and sat for 3 hours on the Common, reading in the sunshine. I followed it with a visit to the V&A museum to see the Botticelli Reimagined exhibition. I dawdled to my hearts content, not worrying if the person I would normally be visiting with had moved on to another room or was getting agitated to leave. I stood and sat in front of different paintings, long enough to feel and respond to it. It was such a luxury to do this, being there just for me. From being worried about 3 hours with me, here I was 6-7 hours later…I was having too much fun with myself. It was bliss.I didn’t realise how much I needed time to myself, not just being alone but to give myself time and play. I now incorporate it into my life weekly. Not 6 hours at a time, maybe it is only an hour, but always something.Thank you Nicky for reminding me that I deserve to receive love and nourishment as well as just giving out care and love to others. For reminding me the importance of taking time for me as well. We need more sweetness and self care. Whatever form that comes in… I know that more now.

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