Let's set the scene: it's Friday and you have a big date. Now this person is someone who is funny, exciting, intelligent, and altogether wonderful. You are so excited that you wake up and the sun is shining bright and you go and get ready for work. Now as you get ready, all you can think about is that in 12 hours you're going on that date. You get to work and no matter what you do, you're thinking about the date, at lunch you're thinking about the date and finally the work day ends, you have your paycheck in hand and even as you deposit that check all you can think about is that date. Then when you get home...sure...you might play some video games, do a few chores...we all know you're not really in those fully as everything you do sort of spins around that date. Be it playing video games to ease your mind, cleaning up the house just in case they want to come back to your place, our excitement for the date changes our focus for that day. And then it comes time to get ready, it doesn't matter if you are going to a country concert in jeans, a shirt, boots, and a hat or dress up in a suit to go to a fancy French restaurant; you're going to spend an inordinate amount of time no matter where you're going making sure that everything is perfect.
All of this for someone you don't know yet, all of this just to see if you like this person, all of this just to get a taste test of this person's personality. You may have never met them before, you may have met them online, you may have been hooked up as a blind date with her, 12 hours of anxiety, stress, and probably low work performance from just this person and if it goes poorly you'll never see them again. If it goes well maybe you'll see them next week and that's the thing. Next week maybe things will go well and your once a week becomes 3 times a week, and then everyday and your every day begins to start earlier and earlier until eventually you stand before someone in formal clothes who says “Congratulations it's now 24/7 365.” Congratulations, you're now married but it started with not knowing a thing about them.
Now, I want to introduce you to your next date and this person is someone you've known for years. You know them extremely well, and while you may like this person or you may hate them the odds are that you're stuck with them. They're not your family, they're not your brother, sister, mother, father, it's you. This person is you. This is your next date. it's a strange concept, isn't it? Why is that? I presume it's because we are with with ourselves all day, everyday. We're with ourselves 24/7 365. We're practically married, but do we actually know ourselves? Have we gone through the process of getting to know ourselves while everyone else has the benefit of not having to know our experiences so they don't know every little detail? We know when we are not the shiny exemplars we want ourselves to be, we know when we are less than outstanding; we are our worst critic but that doesn't mean we shouldn't hate ourselves. We're stuck with ourselves either way, so either we can agree to disagree or we can we push ourselves away somehow.
Within the temple we focus a lot of introspection. It's not enough to know something, it's important to understand something. Understanding first comes from knowing, to be knowing of something requires an easy relationship and that's where we have to learn to date. When was the last time you did something special for yourself? When was the last time you did something that you enjoyed just for the enjoyment? When was the last time you had a intimate evening stroll where you spoke to yourself about your passions, your fears, your dreams? When was the last time you had a childlike wonder about who you are? When I first started talking to my wife she spoke of mundane things and I was excited to hear about it. Even on things I previously thought uninteresting. I wanted to know more and, taken out of context, it's absolutely mundane things we are discussing but at the end of the day...I was excited. I had a sense of wonder that here was this person who I did not know but I want to know more of. I wanted to hear them again and again, even if we are talking about the most bland of topics. When was the last time you were enchanted by your own personality?
This enchantment, this mysterious power that the other person has on us, many people say that someone either draws the good or the bad out of them. What we sometimes find is that the people we are attracted to are sometimes the people we want to be, or aspire to be like. When was the last time you wanted to be yourself? When was the last time you inspired yourself to be better? It's not enough to go through life having yourself as a roommate, it's not enough to see yourself as a co-worker. Even Frenemies can benefit each other in that they understand each other well enough to know what's going on and yet you can agree to disagree without much issue. There will be times where we hate each other, and ourselves, but the most important thing is we always reconcile and we understand where the other person is coming from. It's important to understand where thoughts come from and how they impact us in these cases and strangely enough, that sounds a little bit like meditation doesn't it? The idea of understanding how our thoughts form and knowing who you are the basis for understanding that fundamental unit of “Who You Are.”
Quite possibly the -act- of dating yourself is a form of meditation on the idea that you want to do it as a daily act. You don't meditate just once a month do you? It's a daily introspection, a constant introspection. At its best, as a convenient mental image, my wife sits on my shoulder because I view that she helps draw out the best of me. Because she’s on my shoulder, she helps me realize when I am out of line or when I could be better. Why don't we use meditation that same way? I derive no benefit from my wife being on my shoulder if she’s on a metaphorical shelf somewhere for most of the month, the more you use meditation, the more benefit you gain. You cannot date someone and expect to become wedded to them if you only see them once a month, that's not a relationship that will grow. The more you put into dating yourself, the more effort you put into meditating and understanding who you are, the closer you get to where you get to mentally move in with yourself. This effort, as with all things worth doing, will take time and energy.
This upcoming week I want you to ask yourself on a date. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, it doesn't have to be formal or structured. Just take yourself someplace where you want to be and start getting to know yourself. If you already do this then perhaps you could use a refresher, like your “anniversary”or something, to rekindle the passion. If you are like hiking in the woods, take a walk understand who the understand the part of you that enjoys this and ask how to rekindle that that joy and that enchantment you have. Ask yourself the same questions that you would ask someone standing next to you. Then go home and don't push the issue if your self isn't ready to come in just yet. You are exploring new ideas, new views of yourself and sometimes that makes us a little uncomfortable. Part of this process is that you are finding uncomfortable things about yourself sometimes, and you need to get comfortable again with new perspectives. Don’t be clingy, don’t get pushy with yourself. You have a lifetime to get to know yourself, make it worthwhile.