“Be yourself” sounds like an obvious tip to give anyone. We hear it everywhere, see it on bumper stickers, and are reminded of it by children’s television programs. So why is it that women sometimes find themselves hiding parts of who they are, or even conveying an image to people that quiets some of the biggest parts of them?
When in a new friendship or relationship, a woman may sometimes find herself conveying this overly polished image of herself. She may be quieter, less outgoing, and more prone to silence her opinions. Why does this happen? It seems to be the case that some aspects of the self are considered less attractive, agreeable, or even desirable. This is not a good mindset to be in, and it only promotes self-doubt and anxiety around new interactions.
This is not only misleading for the person you are speaking to, it’s uncomfortable for you! Do not bear days or weeks of uneasy interactions just because you’re hesitant to be your complete self around someone. The most fulfilling friendships and relationships are the ones where you can be completely comfortable being you, knowing that you’ll be understood for it. So why waste time pretending to be your edited self when you can be the real you and see how well you mesh with this new friend or partner?
How do you be yourself? Advanced Life Skills suggests starting by defining yourself on your own terms. Allow yourself to be the you that you’re most comfortable being, and you’ll see how much stronger your relationships will become. On the flip side, this will also illuminate which friendships are not working, which will allow you to no longer exhaust yourself with forced interactions.
Psych Central states in an article titled “Authenticity, The Deep Hurt of Hiding Your True Self” that “feeling better about ourselves and living our truth should affect our relationships in a positive way. On the other hand, some people may distance themselves, but it’s not exactly a loss. It’s called living your truth because it’s not for everyone.”
Having to tone yourself down is tiring and can be harmful to your self-esteem. Not believing that the person you are is good enough to present is not a healthy outlook, and it’s not true either. Psych Central uses a quote from Kamal Ravikant, author of the acclaimed self-help book, Live Your Truth to express this, which says, “we don’t stumble accidentally into an amazing life. It takes a conscious commitment to figuring out what we stand for — finding our truth. It begins by looking inside ourselves, because when it rises from within, we have no choice but to express it, to live it. That is when magic happens: fulfillment, happiness, relationships and success.”
Ravikant also mentions that denying your true self fosters deep hurt. It communicates inadequacy of the self, and only allows for uncomfortable feelings such as shame, anger, and guilt to take over.
There is no better feeling than being surrounded by people who you can truly be yourself around. That level of comfort, trust, and bonding is what lasting friendships are made of, and the feeling of love that arises from this is something not to be missed. Allow yourself to feel this. The real you is the one that will attract the right people, and the right people will love the real you.
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