I’ve got some bad news. Dating apps are still on the rise. Millennials embraced Tinder and OkCupid as the new standard to meet people, creating a $3 billion industry by 2018. Seeing celebrities like Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas getting married can make us want to swipe for our ideal romance.  However, if these so-called dating apps are still trending, why did a survey conducted in 2017 find that only 19% of participants are looking for a partner? That’s a pathetic number for those of us who are searching for love. If we want to enjoy this Spring with a companion, we need to make that person ourselves!

After recovering from a brutal break up with a man I thought was The One, I had the chance to read a pre-sale of Date Yourself by Sierra Melcher. I learned about the Primary Relationship, which is how we relate to our emotional, spiritual and romantic selves with love. Actual love? What a radical idea! I realized that the repeated heartache I endured over the years originated with my dismal self-esteem. I was expecting other people to make me happy. And now as I wander into the mysterious and confusing world of dating, I want more than ever to have a crush on myself and ditch the dependency on others.

Imagine a Primary Relationship like an arranged marriage. We are our partner the rest of our lives whether or not we like it, so we might as well make it the best relationship ever. Learning to relate to ourselves helps us feel confident and comfortable putting our authentic foot forward when relating to other people too.

The following are my biggest takeaways from the Date Yourself book that I want to shout from the rooftops! A link to Sierra’s Instagram account about the book can be found here.

5 Ways to Date Yourself this Spring:

Write a Small Love Note.

Make it post-it sized, like the kind your mother left in your lunch box. Short and cute. Stick it next to the front door or hallway mirror as you leave the house. Imagine how this simple act can start a tender dialogue with ourselves right from the onset of the day. Affirmations are key to changing our thought patterns. If we change how we think, we’ll change our perspective, and ultimately, the way we act. Reframing our attitude can start with a simple self-complement.

Cook an Over-The-Top Meal.

We all dream of that dinner date where someone makes heavenly homemade cuisine just for us. Let’s give ourselves this gift. Recognizing we deserve to lavish ourselves the way we want, sets the standard for how we expect others to treat us. So, go grocery shopping for all the ingredients. Make the kitchen beautiful. Pop the cork to a bottle of wine. Set the table. Make the whole delicious meal with intention. And if you aren’t a great cook, so what? Order delivery! We deserve to know we deserve it.

Conduct a Proper Social Media Stalk.

Remember being so eager when friending a crush and looking through their entire fabulous virtual life? Can we please do this with our own social media pages to entice that same giddiness and curiosity about ourselves? Download the favorite pictures to make a “fabulous snapshots” album. This is like a photographic playlist to remind us of all our accomplishments and power moments when we shine. Plus it makes a great conversation starter to whip out when meeting new people.

Make a Playlist of New Music.

Like Nick Hornby says in High Fidelity, “A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do.” To have a healthy Primary Relationship, we must first break up with our past selves that are not serving us and reconstruct a deliberate, loving relationship. Make a playlist of original music, whether it’s Madonna or the Jonas Brothers, whatever our best selves would rock out to. This creates a fresh setting perfect for manifesting a new attitude.

Go to the Park or Another Beautiful Public Place.

Dating yourself requires some healthy alone time, but there is a huge difference between isolation and solitude. Stay wary of the path of isolation by getting comfortable being solo in public. Practice being with yourself without the urge for a phone or being nagged by the story that being “alone” is somehow “lonely”. Going to the park can encourage us to be alone in the presence of others. Whether it’s sitting on a bench listening to the guitarist nearby or indulging in some shameless people watching, this practice gets us comfortable in our own skin. Isn’t that worthwhile?

This Spring, let’s throw out the drab options of pushy dating apps and stop relying on external factors to make us happy. By showing up for ourselves every day, by dating ourselves, we will always be fulfilled, cared for, and most importantly, loved. And isn’t that an excellent idea to swipe right?