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Authenticity in a relationship

One of the hardest things to do when we meet someone is to be authentic, or be ourselves. From online dating profiles to blind dates, we tend to feel on guard. We try to sell ourselves, for lack of a better phrase, and hope the right person wants what we have to offer. That means we tend to hide what we think is unacceptable. Although this creates appeal, it also presents a potential problem. Once someone sees who we really are, they may leave us. There may be parts of our past that may resurface, and of course, parts of our real personality that will definitely show.

The key to authenticity is to accept who you are and even love who you are. This means taking a true and honest look at every part of you not just the parts that seem good. It means you accept all the feelings you have, including grief, fear, anger and embarrassment. Although we might avoid any number of these, they all play a role. It means making the connection between your expectations, reality and the problems that bridge the gap between them. You have to accept where you really are as well as stay committed to being someone different.

Perhaps you are poor at managing your own money, great at starting conversation, remember a few times you lied and regretted it, consoled a stranger after noticing they were crying and are very particular about what games you like to play. This is all you. If you only highlight your conversational ability and empathy, you may not find the right person to help you grow in your ability to manage money or expand your enjoyment of different kinds of games. It is these kinds of growth experiences that await us when we find someone who can love us for who we truly are.

When you really take a look at your most authentic self, you begin to understand how difficult it can be for others to be themselves. You see how far away you are from the ideal you want to be and what stands in your way. If you talk about this with someone you trust, then they can share the same parts of themselves. The more you are able to share, the more you learn that we are all in the same situation. We may idealize different things, but few of us are already living our ideal lives and existing as our ideal selves.

Let’s say you meet that responsible person who knows how to stay on budget but also enjoys a wider variety of games than you do. You might wonder why they have these characteristics. You share some of your regrets and in the process, they end up sharing theirs. You find out they regret being selfish in the past and not helping others who were generous to them. As you get to know one another, you might talk about how to live within a budget that also makes room for those times when you need to help someone else out. In this way, you might grow a little together.

When you open up to your authentic self, you also reveal the real and complete you that may attract a very different person than your controlled, projected self. The possibility of connecting with a real other person that fits you may be bigger. You become more willing to pass up people who don’t really fit you and only spend time on those who have real potential. You also enjoy life more, because you’re not wasting time doing things you don’t really want to do. Keep in mind that enjoying life doesn’t mean that everyone will like you. If you really accept your authentic self, you stop trying to be likeable to everyone. Instead, you do the opposite. You try to be the best you that the right people can appreciate.

There is always room for growth, which I will tackle in a future post. However, you can’t really grow until you are living as your real, authentic self, experiencing life as a whole person. You might need a little refinement or balance, but letting yourself be who you are is the first step to achieving real personal growth and connecting with another realy person fit for you.

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