i recently took myself out on a date. got myself some really good coffee, spent hours at the art museum, and went for a walk. what came to my mind throughout my blissful afternoon was this:
"if you don't want to date you, then why should anyone else?"
over the past few months i have recognized that i am content going places and doing things alone because it's impractical (and a waste of time and opportunity in my opinion) to wait until i have someone to go with me to do things and go places. i've gotten over being uncomfortable eating alone in a restaurant, i'll go new places and be okay not having someone to experience it with, and i've realized that there are lots of things that are still fun to do alone. there's a big world out there, with things to do, places to go, sights to see, food to eat and coffee to taste. if i wait until i'm in a relationship, i will miss out on so many experiences.
why? why will i miss out? what am i missing out on exactly? as i pondered this, a thought came to mind: i say no to going places and doing things because i don't want my future boyfriend to have fomo when he learns about my experiences. or, perhaps i am afraid that he will leave me because my life has proven that i am perfectly fine being alone. wow. what kind of unhealthy relationships, movies, books, songs, lies have made me feel that way? this lie says that no man would want to be with a woman who is content without him. it tells me that men want to be with someone who desperately needs them. it says that self-sufficiency and independence are unattractive, repulsive even. what this lie has made me believe is that no man would want me.
for this reason, my independence had an unhealthy origin, and it was with a "who needs a man anyway" mindset that i set out to be my own person, and need no one else to do it. the word "independent" had a beautiful definition, but the connotation that my life and heart were displaying was what was actually unattractive.
merriam-webster defines independent as "not subject to control by others; not requiring or relying on something else; not looking to others for one's opinions or for guidance in conduct." these definitions are beautiful and attractive and freeing. i want to be with someone who doesn't feel controlled by me or anyone else. someone who doesn't rely on me, a human who can fail them and let them down. who doesn't seek guidance in the opinions of man, who lack oversight and the big picture. i want to be with someone completely independent of man, and totally dependent on God.
the man i want to be with is healthy. his masculinity is not brought into question when i show myself to be strong. the power of his voice and words is not challenged when i speak up. he doesn't feel unwanted when i go somewhere and don't beg him to come with me. the thing is, a relationship is made up of two individuals who decide to do life together more closely than anyone else. they are still free to have their own opinions, preferences, favorite places, best friends, pet peeves, and the list goes on. why? because they are individuals! have you seen those couples that are so alike it's a little weird? i don't mean finish each other's sentences literally every sentence weird, i mean have all the same movies and songs and places and people and colors and everything in common. i don't know about you, but when i see relationships like that, i'm betting on how much longer they'll last. why? because all humans are unique. we were all made very differently and that was intentional. we aren't all the same or else we'd all have the same strengths and weaknesses and blindspots. how am i going to grow in my areas of weakness and shortcomings if there's no one stronger in those areas to help me? i want to be with someone who compliments me, who challenges me to be a better person that looks more like Christ everyday. i want someone who accepts me as i am, but loves me too much to leave me as i am. yup, go read that again.
anyway, i'm rambling (if you can ramble type...?) but you get the point. the type of person i want to be with doesn't just accept my differences, he embraces and celebrates them. so... literally what on earth does this have to do with independence? i'm really glad you asked. being in a relationship with someone who is independent takes confidence, because if we are used to relationships where we can't handle being apart for literally 2.6 days, text every other minute and we're are always asking where the person is and what they're doing, when we don't do those things we may begin to believe that that person doesn't care about us. but that's not truuuuueeeee!! it's not true because, first off, sis if the only way he lets you know he cares about you is over text, tell that boy to try harder or dump his sorry butt! anyway, secondly, if someone doesn't want me as the fully-functional, healthily independent woman that i am, they can miss me as a fully-functional healthy girlfriend! is deciding not to sell myself short or be needy (more than what's necessary for a codependent relationship) worth the risk of losing men that might be interested in me otherwise? heck to the yes my dude. because i don't wanna date a guy that isn't okay with me having my own life anyway. i wanna be with someone who celebrates what i do instead of comparing it to what he does. i want someone who will buy me a plane ticket to go on a trip by myself for my birthday (or, just buy me flight time and i'll fly myself there #shamelessflex)!
so this all somehow came from me taking myself out on a date lol. i've been learning that there's a difference between doing things alone because my situation requires it, and doing things alone because i love spending time with myself. i love me! and right now, i love myself better than anyone else can (save family). i set the tone of what it looks like to love me and love me well, and the same goes for you whether or not you're single. you are the example to your future lover, so be a good one. that's what i'm gonna do. moral of the story is this: if you don't date me, i will.