There have been many times I’ve felt ‘not enough’, and those times were usually when I spent too much time with other people - invested in their lives, and failed to nurture myself.
It is not an easy thing to say, ‘I am enough for myself’, or to acknowledge that you deserve to take care of yourself. We can mistake social occasions, acts of love for others, and work as fulfilling, because mostly they are. However, these are all times when you are giving, and without taking time to replenish or receive you can be left feeling empty, lacking, or not enough.
When you are single it seems like you have so much time for yourself, a bed all to yourself and a clear schedule with no co-dependents to consider. But your calendar can very quickly become full with first dates, going out, brunch with friends, more work because you’re “really focusing on a career right now” and hangovers. We fail to schedule ‘me time’, because we fail to see that we are enough. Often in times when we are single we expel a lot of energy in trying not to be single anymore, even if we do say things like “I’m not interested in dating anyone at the moment” or “I just want to do my own thing for a while”. We are human, we are social creatures and we rely on sex and intimacy for survival, so it is perfectly natural that we invest so much time in making that happen. But what would it look like to actually commit time to yourself?
When you are in a relationship it becomes even harder to commit that time to yourself, and part of you neglects to see the significance. This is when we begin to lose ourselves and stray far from the people we were before we got into the relationship. It is fine and normal to get wrapped up in a new romance - the date and time of day doesn’t seem to matter anymore and either does… say… wearing pants! But then reality sets in and when that happens all of a sudden your plans become “our” plans, and ‘me time’ becomes sparse or non-existent. What you are saying when you fail to value yourself, alone, is that you are not enough. We prioritize others because we love them and enjoy giving love, and receiving love in return - it feels reciprocal, and for the most part it is. But what happens when your person can’t give one day, or the next… or the next? Will you be enough for yourself when they can’t?
‘Me time’ takes practice and commitment.
A few years ago I was struggling to do anything creative, I had lost my motivation to write and had no confidence to perform. A friend gave me a copy of The Artist’s Way (this is not an endorsement) and although I never finished it, the one take away for me was the concept of the ‘artist date’. This means committing to one creative date per week, like visiting a gallery, seeing a play or reading a book, the only condition being you have to do it alone, just you and your artist-self. I had to value myself enough to make that effort, something I would have done easily for someone else, but struggled to for ‘just me’. Slowly I started to gain confidence and really enjoyed my own company, and eventually my creativity came back because I was nurturing that part of myself. I accepted that I was enough.
Before a lack of ‘me time’ becomes an issue for you, make that commitment to yourself right now.
Clear some space in your schedule just for you, make a date, and don’t compromise. Take yourself to that movie you want to see, that café you’ve always wanted to try, that band no one else likes, masturbate! Stay in on a Saturday night for some self care or get in your car and go for a drive.
Just for you. No one else.