Treat others as you wish to be treated. It’s a concept as old as the Bible. Lately, there’s a new version making its rounds on social media – Treat others the way they wish to be treated. It’s a noble concept. It calls on us to be better, to treat others well, to be considerate… or to put it simply – to not be an asshole. Not being an asshole is as important today, as it was 2000 years ago. 

I wonder though – why do we never apply the same concept in reverse? Why do we never treat ourselves the way we want others to treat us? Why do we never treat ourselves the way we treat others?

Take dating for example. It’s one of the most exciting things that can happen to us. The butterflies we experience when we meet someone special. The hope we are filled with. The excitement of the newness. The joy of giving them a gift and receiving a smile in return. The ravishing passion we feel at every touch… When we date someone special, we are ready to move mountains, to change the world, to change our behaviour, to be better. We mind our language, our manners, our actions. We do everything possible to impress them and not only we don’t see it as a burden, but we are eager and happy to do it. At the same time, we wouldn’t do nearly as much for ourselves. 

When’s the last time you bought yourself flowers? When’s the last time you decided to cook an elaborate delicious meal, just for yourself? When’s the last time you bought yourself an expensive bottle of wine? Made yourself a fancy cocktail? Got yourself a massage? Bought yourself an unexpected gift, just because? Bought yourself lingerie, just so you can put it on, wander around the house, admire yourself in the mirror, and lounge in it casually? These are all things that we do for those we love. We rarely do these things for ourselves. Should we conclude that we don’t love ourselves enough? If so, that must change. 

The most important person in the world is you. Not your loved one, not your kids, not your parents, not your boss, or your employees. It’s you. It may sound egotistical and self-absorbed, but it’s really not. If you are not feeling good, you can’t make others feel good. Sooner or later, you will crack, you will be in a bad mood, you will be angry, sad, frustrated… and that will affect everyone around you. Treating yourself well, making sure that you take care of yourself first is an act of generosity and altruism. When you are feeling good, when you are feeling fulfilled, when you are filled with energy and optimism – that’s how you’ll influence those around you. No burden will be too heavy, no road too long. 

It’s not an easy frame to break. When we are alone, we tend to dive into the easy comfort of habits. We wear the most comfortable sweats and t-shirts. We drink out of the carton. We eat junk food on the couch, watching season 7 of something really stupid on Netflix. Why? Are we not worth the attention and good manners we show our dates? Ask yourself – how would you like to be treated by someone you love? Do you want them to bring you flowers and chocolate? Do you want them to cook you (or take you to) a nice dinner? Do you want them to bring a nice bottle of wine? Do you want them to satisfy you sexually? Do you want them to talk to you about meaningful things? Watch a great movie together? Do you want them to be all dressed up, sexy, attractive? Take a look in the mirror. Yes, right now. Do you see that person in the mirror? Do you want the person in the mirror, the one with the sweats, stained t-shirt, messy hair, and circles around the eyes to be your date? I don’t think so. You don’t either. So… change that!

One step at a time. Set time for yourself. It doesn’t matter if you are single or not. Always make time to date yourself. Tonight, at 8 pm, it’s date-time. Treat it like you are having a fancy date, with a special person. Spend 15 minutes today choosing what you’ll wear. Take a long shower, do the grooming, hydrate your skin, do a proper date prep. Pour yourself some bubbly while you are preparing. The ritual of getting ready is important when going out on a date – you are paying attention, you are getting excited, you are playing in your head everything about the person you are about to meet, and you are playing the fictional movie of what the night would be like. It sets the right mood and makes you feel that the other person is important, so you want to be the best version of yourself you can be for them. Tonight, the most important person is you, so you have to do the same for yourself. Be the best version of yourself, for yourself. Dress up, dim the lights, play some nice music. Make yourself a fancy cocktail. Something complicated and tasty. Order a nice dinner. Watch a really good art movie. Write about the movie – how did it make you feel, what impressed you – the same things that you would say if you were with a date. Lastly – don’t forget – give yourself some self-love. Find something that excites you and puts you in the right mood. Music, dance, porn, whatever takes you there – do it. Play with yourself. Don’t rush it. If you are with a date, you wouldn’t want to finish quickly and be done with it – you want it to last, all night, over and over again. Do the same with yourself. Take the time. Try something new. Surprise yourself. Even if it’s a one-off – do it, experiment. Please yourself. You deserve it.

Let me be very clear on something – this is not an act of desperation. This is not something you do because you feel lonely. This is not something you do because you don’t have someone to date. You should do this even if you do have a partner, or you are married for years and have two kids. Do this because you want to date yourself. Because you want to spend time with yourself. Because you want to pursue self-discovery and self-indulgence.

This shouldn’t be a one-time affair. Do these dates with yourself from time to time. If you had a great date with someone, you’d definitely want to go on a second date, right? Well, make sure you have a great date with yourself, and earn that second date. The better you treat yourself, the better you will feel about yourself. The better you feel about yourself – the more joy and confidence you will exude to those around you. You will benefit from it and those around you will benefit from it. When the pursuit of pleasure becomes your norm, you’ll soon notice that you treat yourself better all the time, not just during your solo dates. Loving yourself is the first and most important step towards self-improvement. Loving yourself is the basis upon which you build a life of pleasure.