girl next to shadow of girls self
Niki Bergler  

Date Yourself



you can not confidently articulate who you are, and what you like, it’s time to date yourself.

It’s easy to look back at old relationships and chastise yourself for moments of weakness or downright stupidity. I have yet to meet one person without dating regret. (Or at least one morning walk of shame in their darkest hour.)

I wish I would have known there was a better way.

As far back as I can recall, dating has been encouraged. Middle school kids embarrassingly share that they have a girlfriend/boyfriend, which most parents find adorable. Then high school happens. Parents cringe, but grandma and grandpa start asking if you’re dating anyone. The number one question in college is: Are you seeing anyone? No wonder people feel the drive to always have someone at their side, resulting in unflattering desperation.

Marilyn Monroe’s mantra—have no regrets—is my standard attitude. I generally accept that I did exactly what I wanted to do at the time or the best I could with what I had. But when it comes to past relationships, that rule gets’ misplaced. I have regrets. I have a lot of regrets.

If older me could return to the confused, desperate me, I would share the value of the most impactful lesson I’ve learned—date yourself. “Finding the right person” was not the path that would lead me to a profound loving and committed relationship. Creating the right person in me so I could love myself is what opened the space for another love in my life, a love I dreamt of as a child but was told didn’t exist.

You must never stop dating yourself because as the years change, so will you, and it is imperative you never lose yourself.

As I write this, I am dating myself. (Ok, now I hear how that sounds.)

My husband is out fishing with a friend, and I am exploring Menominee for the first time. A few weeks ago, I explored Green Bay.

I wake up in a soft, fluffy bed. Someone has already cooked breakfast. The cats I adore are not jumping on my face, and I can do whatever I want.

Today, I chose to be brave and try Thai Cuisine, which fulfilled me spiritually and physically. As soon as I walked in, I was transported back in time. (A nice way of saying the style of the restaurant was delightfully outdated.) The server who greeted me was filled with so much good energy and genuine concern for my well-being that I felt we were family! (The good kind in Hallmark movies.)

Never having tried Thai before, I didn’t know what to expect, but she made me feel comfortable choosing anything off the menu.

BLOWN AWAY. (No joke, if you are not used to the peppers in Thai food, it is not wise to travel far after eating but it is 100% worth every bite #newdietplan.)  

The food was phenomenal! The flavors danced on my tongue and opened a new world of satisfaction.

Afterward, I sat near a beautiful lighthouse on the lake, soaking up the sun. I watched the rays dance off the blue water, the fishermen pull some tanks in their boats, and, naturally, I made new friends—some humans, some bugs.

I used to struggle deeply with being alone.

Then, one day, it clicked. I realized I hated being alone because I didn’t know who I was without somebody else telling me who to be. Also, I passionately believed others would perceive me as a loser and lonely if I wasn’t with someone. (Which is a total looser thing to think – so stop thinking it.)

I wish I would have started dating myself sooner.

Taking moments to be alone, discover your thoughts, and date yourself is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give yourself—and some of the best experiences. After all, how can we expect someone else to know and love us if we do not know or love ourselves?

You don’t have to travel to a new city or spend a weekend away. Something as simple as checking out the $5 Tuesday deals at Marcus Theatre can bring you joy.

If you can’t confidently share who you are, it’s time you date yourself. (Just Do it)

A black and white image of the word love.

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Looking for a Great Book to Read? Look No Further!

"She's Done Pretending is a permission slip. It's a permission slip for readers to step out of their abuses, heartaches, and abandonments...and step into the light of a better life. Bergler's story, although difficult to read at times, shines a light on one woman's story of perseverance and triumph over unbelievable odds. She uses her story to show us, the readers, that there can be "life after internal death." Through graceful writing and a fiery spirit, Bergler inspires us to see that life is what you make of it." - Sarah Krosschell

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