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How To Be Your Authentic Self in a Relationship [18 Relationship Experts Reveal Highly Effective Ways To Cultivate Authenticity]

How To Be Your Authentic Self in a Relationship

1. Being authentic means slowing down enough to tune into your own compass


When we get into a relationship and someone really comes to matter to us, it can be easy to succumb to modifying ourselves to please the other person, or to avoid being rejected or abandoned.

We can end up behaving in ways that are inauthentic to attempt to feel safe and secure in the relationship. We all, on some level, have the fear that if someone really knew us, all parts of us, they might not love us. But true connection with another (and true connection with yourself), comes from a willingness to allow yourself to be vulnerable, to be seen.

Your partner can’t connect with you if they can’t see the real you.

All too often I see people lose themselves in their relationship in their effort to be what they think their partner wants them to be, but in the end, this always falls apart and it doesn’t accomplish what it seeks to accomplish; security. True security comes from being who you truly are, flaws and all, and loving yourself and letting yourself be loved from that place. And if your partner can’t love you for who you are, then they may not be the right partner.

Being authentic means slowing down enough to tune into your own compass.

To ask yourself, is what I am about to do out of fear or insecurity, or is it truly what I want to do? And when you find that answer, act in accordance with your true self, even when it’s scary. It doesn’t mean the fear goes away, authenticity means acknowledging that fear as part of it, and then having the courage to be your imperfect self anyway.

Dana Vince, M.A., LPC, MHSP –

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# 2. Follow the 5 tips below

Julie Kurtz

The issues encountered in many love partnerships are fundamental to all psychological work—“being awake to self” in the midst of all of the pressures in our lives.

To make sure we do not exist in a fashion I call “falling asleep” which is easily achieved when an individual forgets what they like, want and need. Time passes fast and before even aware, one partner becomes despondent, agitated, withdrawn or frustrated and doesn’t even know why. Over the years, “falling asleep” to our own needs can be the number one damaging force in a relationship.

The best gift to give yourself is to be aware and reflective each day of your own desires, separate from those of your loved partner.

Here are some TIPS to help you remember and your own needs:

1. Write down short-term target goals.

What do you want to achieve for yourself in the next one to six months (volunteer project, join a soccer league, knitting class etc.)? Keep your list in a location you can visually remind yourself daily.

2. Keep your eye on your longer-term big target goals.

If you want to go back to school, focus on a plan of how, when and where. Break down this target goal into small, measurable steps. This can keep you from being overwhelmed by the grandiosity of the goal and small steps make it much more manageable.

3. Every day take a minimum of 5 minutes to be “off the grid” (TV, computers, phones).

Focus on your breath or on an object of beauty. Gain perspective and wonder, “what am I feeling and what might I need most in this moment.”

4. Keep a gratitude journal.

This can be a mental daily mantra or a written record of your daily affirmations. Getting in this habit helps create perspective and focus on all that is good in your life.

5. When your partner communicates what they want, stop and take a deep breath.

Think, think and think of what YOU want and then find a happy compromise. Even if you go their way, at least you are aware of your own needs and are intentional about putting them aside for your partner in that moment.

Julie Kurtz, LMFT –

# 3. To be authentic in relationship requires commitment and courage


For many people this is a life long quest. It is the ever changing journey of self-discovery and is done in the context of another person, an intimate love.

Intimacy is about being seen, being vulnerable.

It is about sharing one’s self with another in all kinds of contexts and circumstances and sometimes this is under pressure. There might be pressure to reach agreement or to please another.

It might be in the context of decisions needing to be made quickly, the day-to-day ordinary stuff! We are all assessing many things all the time and we weigh balances and trade-offs, the need to compromise v’s the need to assert ourselves or push hard against resistance, real or potential or imagined.

We may give in for years before we realize what we have been doing. We may leave one relationship and endeavor not to make the same compromises of ourselves in the next one. Whatever trade-offs we make there comes a point where we say: how do I feel about this? Am I being true to myself?

To be authentic in relationship requires commitment and courage.

It requires a capacity for and commitment to self-reflection.

With that mind-set then we forge forward. It’s a bit like being a warrior for truth in your own life! By committing to endeavor to know one’s self first then one is in a better position to know how and when to share important truths, the most important truth about who one is. To be authentic in relationship brings relief. It is a huge burden to be inauthentic in relationship.

Knowing one’s boundaries is pivotal here: to discern when to speak when to have self-restraint and when to be silent.

For remaining silent sometimes can be a powerful time to reflect and gather wisdom which may usher forth moves in authenticity. Being authentic isn’t always about speaking up although it can be.

Wisdom and authenticity are soul mates.

Patience too is an important quality to cultivate in developing the capacity for authenticity so that one can pause long enough to take in the whole situation, looking beyond the surface of things with compassion. Finally, it helps to ask the question: what do I feel here and to inquire into this over and over as the truth continues to emerge and unfold.

Margie Ulbrick, LLB/BA/GD SOCSCI –

# 4. Follow the 5 steps below


When we choose to be authentic in our relationships, we are choosing NOT to live our lives as if every interaction were a first date.

Rather than put on our best show of having it all together—while fearing what will happen when the other person finally sees our flaws—being authentic means being in the all-together—the good, bad, and the ugly.

One of the ironies of authenticity is that we think that if others “really see who we are” they will pull away, when in fact the opposite is the case.

I remember loving this passage from David Whyte’s crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity because of how perfectly it captured this mistaken belief:

“We have the strange idea, unsupported by any evidence, that we are loved and admired only for our superb strength, our far-reaching powers, and our all-knowing competency. Yet in the real world, no matter how many relationships may have been initiated by strength and power, no marriage or friendship has ever been deepened by these qualities.”

Isn’t that true for you? Don’t you find yourself feeling far closer to people who are willing to share their vulnerabilities, mistakes, and human frailties? Aren’t you more comfortable sharing openly with them than with people who put on a façade of always having it together?

I remember years ago hearing a workshop leader encouraging the audience to think of intimacy as meaning “into me see”. The only way we can experience the amazing gift of true intimacy, whether with a partner or with a friend, is if we are willing to allow ourselves to be seen.

Allowing yourself to be seen, to be real, to be authentic works best when coupled with discernment.

As you have no doubt noticed, some people are uncomfortable witnessing others demonstrating authenticity and some people can respond to authenticity better than others. When it comes to being authentic and vulnerable, I don’t recommend the emotional equivalent of attempting a high dive onto a wet sponge.

Instead, I recommend practicing being more open and real in small steps with the people you find safest. These are the people who have demonstrated that they can take in real heartfelt sharing without having to evaluate or judge it, give advice, or analyze what it means about you. These are also the people who maybe have already modeled authenticity and transparency and would probably appreciate more of that from you.

Here are five simple baby steps towards being more authentic:

1. Practice stating your preferences when asked, rather than just saying “It doesn’t matter to me” when it really does.

2. Ask for what you want in a situation, rather than hoping the other person will apply psychic powers to divine your desires.

3. Be willing to share your perspective when it differs from the other person, rather than just staying silent. This can be a challenging one since in our culture, the norm is to either stay silent or disagree in a polarizing, disagreeable way.

When practicing, it’s probably best to avoid the classics: religion, politics, and certain social issues. When sharing your perspective, consider how to phrase your opinion in a way that makes it clear that you are not trying to make the other person wrong. You are simply sharing your perspective. For instance, you might say: “So, in your opinion restatement of their opinion. I see it a bit differently, to me…your perspective.”

4. If you are about to share something that feels a bit vulnerable or uncomfortable, preface it with “I feel a little awkward sharing this but…” or whatever words work for you. I have found over the years that this makes it much easier to share and communicates to the other person that you are being vulnerable. This communicates trust and a willingness to relate at a deeper, more authentic level.

5. Practice sharing with safe friends little “Oops” experiences that reveal your humanity, that demonstrate you aren’t perfect. So for instance, you might share something “dumb” you said in a meeting, or how you mispronounced a word and discovered this later, or how you got lost despite having a GPS.

As you share these little imperfections and bloopers, you will notice the freeing effect it has. You are no longer closely guarding an image. You will also notice that doing so can both bring more laughs to your conversations, and make you feel closer to others.

The good feelings you get will make you more willing to share at a deeper level some of your more consequential imperfections and vulnerabilities. As you do that, you will create greater intimacy in the moment. In turn, your sharing will increase the odds the other person will share more openly…further cultivating intimacy.

Speaking from personal experience, being authentic with both your partner and friends can make a huge difference in your life.

I think some of the deepest, more transformational healing in my life—both in general and with regard to relationships—has come from choosing to be more authentic, especially about sharing my vulnerabilities and imperfections. Being more authentic and allowing yourself to be seen is also a powerful way to help you become more comfortable in your own skin.

By being more authentic and vulnerable, and allowing yourself to be seen, you can be the relationship equivalent of a world traveler, feeling confident as you explore new territory, and as you experience the gift of into-me-see.

David Lee, Consultant –

5. Being genuine ultimately means honoring yourself and not compromising your integrity


One of the worst relationship self-help books ever written is “The Rules.”

This supposed primer for women on landing a husband, a best-selling book that came out about 10 or 15 years ago, suggests that the way to make a relationship work is to play hard at hard to get to keep your partner off balance and therefore interested. The problem with this approach, of course, is that if you play games to keep someone engaged, the relationship will likely fall to pieces when your true self inevitably emerges. Relationships are most likely to endure when the two people involved are genuine with each other from the very start.

So what does it mean to be genuine?

Well, that depends on the stage you’re in. In the beginning of a relationship, when there’s always natural anxiety, being real means getting the help you need outside the relationship to manage your new relationship jitters until you can see beyond your confusing infatuation. This requires pacing yourself so that you can reveal your true self gradually as you learn to trust (or not trust) your potential partner.

Once you’re beyond the stressful infatuation stage and into a true partnership, being real means practicing assertiveness.

Translation: standing up for yourself in ways that are respectful to your partner; stating what you need and want in a reasonable, mature manner.

Regardless of where you are in your relationship, being genuine ultimately means honoring yourself and not compromising your integrity.

No matter how attracted you are to your partner, or how much you don’t want to be alone, take serious heed if your intuition is telling you to get out. Being genuine means not selling out, lowering yourself, or compromising yourself in any way that gives you an ongoing, nagging sense of discomfort — no matter how slight. If you’re having trouble distinguishing intuitive messages from anxiety, which is usually the case in that crazy-making early stage of dating, see a therapist and sort it out.

Dr. Amy Wood –

# 6. Being your authentic self is about knowing your authentic self


Discovering who you are before you enter the relationship is one of the most important aspects of this journey.

Once you have a solid idea of who you are, then you will automatically show up as real. And you will attract a mate that also shows up as their authentic self. Now, if you have discovered your authentic self, then you are already ahead of the game. Just be yourself and this will naturally occur.

If you are still discovering who you are, here are some guidelines to follow:

Spend some time figuring out what you like and don’t like.

Spend some time doing what you already know you enjoy. Seek out therapy. Join a new group on Meetup. Discover a passion and follow it. There is not a linear path for every person. Find out what makes your heart sing and follow it.

Spend some time with friends and family and get feedback.

Your friends and family know you most intimately. They can provide you with insight into your behavior or what they see in you. They can help by sharing what they love about you. Again, this exercise is meant to open your awareness to how you interact with other people.

Once you are ready to get into a relationship, always spend time taking care of yourself and connecting with who you really are. Revisit your path of self-discovery whenever needed or as a continual growth process.

Amanda Patterson, LMHC –

# 7. Follow the 7 tips below


Virginia Satir, who pioneered the most effective work in family therapy states the following:

1. “Say what you mean and mean what you say. Ask for what you want but know you will not always get it.”

2. “Be responsible for what you think, say and do rather than projecting it on others or denying it.”

3. “Identify your “shoulds” as well as beliefs you have grown up with that keep you caught in craziness and are not necessarily true.”

4. “Treat people as you would wish them to be rather than blaming them.”

5. “Be open to receiving feedback from others and listen to it carefully because you might learn something about yourself from it.”

6. “Be gentle and loving with yourself and others.”

7. “Celebrate ‘differentness’ in people. See differences in others as an opportunity to learn and explore, rather than as a threat or a signal for conflict.”

Your life experiences, thus far, have made you who you are today.

But you can reach greater levels of self-confidence and self-respect, if you act like the person you know yourself to be. This means you don’t compromise, sacrifice or deny your integrity, values or beliefs for the sake of someone else. This means you care enough about yourself to nurture, encourage and support yourself with positive, honest self-talk.

When you start realizing who you are and what you deserve, you begin to live more responsibly and authentically.

Being “real” is essential if you want to have “real” relationships. Virginia Satir believed that by starting with and healing yourself, you can heal the world.

Ultimately, the foundation for a strong, healthy relationship begins with you being genuine and authentic as this creates a feeling of closeness and respect for others in your life.

Even when there are disagreements, in successful relationships there is enough emotional security to assure each partner that they are loved and appreciated. Be who you are and your relationships will thrive and empower you to greatness!

Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC –

# 8. Being authentic is simply – being honest


Authentically you – a magnificent thing! Embrace yourself, who you are, what you love, and your life!

Know what you need to be who you are. Make a list of things that you “must have” to be you- if you are an artist then you need your art, a musician then you need your music- a scholar then you need your books. Know this about yourself, and then don’t settle. Be honest about who you are and know that you are deserving of love just as you are.

When we hide our true selves from a partner we are saying “I don’t trust you will love me if you know the real me.”

We are in essence saying the “real me” is unlovable- when in fact this could not be further from the truth. When we embrace who we are and are true to ourselves we blossom, we shine. We become our very most lovable when we are authentically ourselves.

If a partner cannot love the true us, then they do not love us.

If you must be anyone but who you truly are to be loved by your partner, then this relationship is not for you.

Being authentic is simply – being honest.

“This is me… me…” But this must start with “This is me, I love me”. It is hard to be authentic in a relationship when we do not know who we are- discover yourself. It is hard to be authentic with the world when we are a fraud with ourselves- embrace yourself. Get to know who you are what you love, embrace your uniqueness.

Never be ashamed to be you and know that who you are is worthy of being loved.

Most importantly- never assume that your partner would not love the real you- give them a chance. Let them get to know the real you and let them decide- chances are they already have an idea and have been waiting for you to shine.

Denise M Coyle, LMFT , CTS, CDAC –

# 9. Presenting an authentic self is based on really knowing yourself


I think people give up their authentic self when they are afraid that they won’t be accepted.

They create a pseudo self that they imagine will be more appealing to the person they are interested in. This is a losing strategy because even if you manage to attract this person with your pseudo self, you will have to keep up that persona for as long as you are in that relationship.

If you pass yourself off as a sports nut, imagine all of the boring football, baseball, basketball, etc. games you will need to endure, not to mention the names and stats you’ll need to memorize in order to pull it off.

There is another downside to the pseudo self-strategy, one that is even sadder.

You will never feel loved. Once you become someone else, even a little bit, you can never feel loved and accepted for who you are. You will always be anxious that you’ll be found out and that your real self will be a disappointment or even rejected by your partner.

Being who you are from the get-go is the only winning strategy in the game of love.

Will everyone want you? Absolutely not. But you don’t want everyone either. People who belong together know it by an authentic attraction as well as an honest assessment of compatibility. You want what’s important about you to be accepted and admired by your partner. Your partner needs that same acceptance and admiration from you. Relationships are hard enough without the burden of keeping up a false front!

Of course presenting an authentic self is based on really knowing yourself.

People who have spent their lives depending on external validation lose their sense of self. They are always looking to be popular, to please and to be praised. To know yourself you have to be yourself, regardless of the opinions of others. You are not on this planet to please anyone. Life is a journey of growth and self-discovery. The key is self-validation. Who you are will be attractive to someone, and that is the person who will probably be right for you.

Sally Leboy, MS, MFT –

# 10. Being authentic in a relationship with others starts by being authentic in the relationship with yourself

Cynthia Pickett Pic

Being authentic in a relationship with anyone, be it friends, family or lovers, is the avenue to true connection, love, and respect with another human being.

However, for those of us with people pleasing issues, who like to wear masks, it is also a very difficult thing to do.

Being authentic in a relationship with others starts by being authentic in the relationship with yourself.

For our purposes lets define authentic as being truthful. Yes, that means honesty with words but it also means honestly showing others who you are, how you feel, what you believe, and what your fears are. Authenticity and courage go hand in hand. Many times it takes courage to say “I disagree”, or “I believe this…”, or “I am afraid”, especially when you know it may not be a popular opinion. But it is important to be you rather than going along with the crowd or wearing a mask.

The process of becoming authentic (truthful) with ourselves can be very uncomfortable because we are not used to allowing others to see who we really are.

It can make you feel very vulnerable. But in fact you are not becoming weaker, however, you are becoming stronger. When we reveal who we are to self and others it opens the door to much more internal peace, freedom, love and much more fulfilling relationships.

Cynthia Pickett, LCSW, LADC –

This video explains the secret reasons men LIE to women (even women they truly do love)…

And a special “tweak” you can make in how you interact with a man to force him to tell you the absolute truth…

# 11. Follow the 4 tips below


When you feel, close, connected, and in love with someone, the hope is that you can feel open an authentic about who you really are.

It is natural for us to project the best parts of ourselves, early on, and not show, our insecurities, temper, and lack of tolerance about various things. However, if a relationship is to sustain itself, and for the feelings to remain strong, it is important to remain authentic about who we are, as well as open about our strengths and weaknesses as a person and partner.

Here are some tips for remaining authentic within an intimate and loving relationship:

1. Discuss your core values about friendships and family.

Talk about how you feel, what your challenges are in those areas, and how you envision these aspects in your future. For example, why you value your relationships, the energy and effort you put into them, and what your sensitivities and needs for reciprocation are in those relationships.

2. Include your partner into your relationships with your family and friends.

Help them to feel included and encourage them to establish their own connections with people who are important to you.

3. Communicate in a deep way.

Listen well, make sure that you both feel heard, and make sure that you are remaining non-defensive. Words are important, talking is an art, and making sure that there is depth and ability to create resolution when you are having discussions and or disagreements.

4. Prioritize a physical relationship.

Affection, touching, and sexual activity will help you bond and will bring your relationship to a place of closeness and intimacy that helps feelings of authenticity build and develop.

Stephanie Newberg, M.Ed., M.S.W., L.C.S.W –

# 12. It begins with discovering your true worth, core values, and purpose in life—often as part of a spiritual journey


To be your authentic self in a relationship, you must be able to be your authentic self whether or not you are in a relationship.

On the surface, this means knowing your likes and dislikes and what is important to you. But it runs deeper than that. It begins with discovering your true worth, core values, and purpose in life—often as part of a spiritual journey.

When you know who you are, love yourself, and are clear about what you are born to do, you will gravitate to relationships with others who affirm your value and encourage you in accomplishing your life’s mission.

In contrast, if someone does not value you or does not share your vision, you will recognize this person is not the right fit for you and be able to let the relationship go.

Perhaps the biggest barrier to being your authentic self is the fear that by doing so, the other person will walk away.

But you can only pretend for so long. Do you really want to be with someone who doesn’t love you for you? If you are confident and secure in your own sense of identity, the answer is no. The secret is coming to the place where if you’re forced to choose between being authentic and being in a relationship, you’re willing to choose authenticity, even if it costs you the relationship. Once you reach that point, you will only choose relationships in which you can remain authentic and with people who love you as you truly are.

Dr. April Lok –

# 13. The human mind has two levels of attention in every moment: ‘attention to self’ and ‘attention to others’

Brett McDonald

The ‘attention to self’ part reflects your inner voice–it involves the thoughts, preferences, opinions and perspectives of your genuine core self.

The ‘attention to others’ involves those perspectives, opinions, judgments, preferences and feelings that reside in other people. It is important to have a balance between consideration of your ‘self’ and consideration of ‘others’. However, finding this balance is much harder than we realize, and many of us suffer from imbalances that cause us to either be too self-centered or not self-centered enough.

If you struggle to be your authentic self, chances are you are in the habit of giving more attention to others than you do to your ‘self’.

You are likely preoccupied with whether or not people like you, whether you are pleasing to them, accommodating them, being responsible for their feelings, etc. This comes at the cost of knowing and expressing your own inner voice. To find balance, remind yourself that it is as important to be considerate of your own feelings as it is to be considerate of the feelings of those around you.

When engaging with your partner, do a check-in with yourself every so often and don’t let your inner voice be drowned out by being distracted by what others think and feel.

Make it a habit to invite your partner to listen to your feelings, and don’t be afraid to talk about your perspective in relatively equal amounts as your partners’ perspective is heard. Having your voice be heard is critical to a lasting and nurturing relationship.

Brett McDonald, M.S., LMHC –

# 14. Shed your old stories


When I consider what it means to be authentic in relationship, the question that comes up is “why wouldn’t I be?”

Authenticity is just so much easier in theory. Authenticity simply means that I show up as my most natural, candid, unedited, transparent self; whatever that means to me, right? Not so easy!

In so many cases, we enter relationships hoping to mask things about ourselves that we think make us less valuable.

More make-up, less burps, less farts, more deodorant, and cleaner apartments are a few common ones. If you have shame around your limited palate, you might suffer through some dramatically unpleasant meals. If you have been criticized for your strong opinions, you might not say what’s on your mind.

Here’s an exercise to clarify things:

-First, think of stories that you have heard about yourself that others have told you. Some may go back to early childhood. Take a moment to do this.

-Next, write them down.

-Now see which ones, if any, still fit. (“Am I still shy?” “Do I swear that much?”) Draw a line through the stories that no longer apply.

-Next, focus on any stories that still seem to fit, or that you don’t want to get rid of.

How can you take ownership of these?

Sometimes without even recognizing it, we start to adjust ourselves to change what we’ve been told is a problem, or to emphasize what we’ve been praised for. If you’re ‘too flamboyant’, you might tone it down so that you’ll be loved. If you’ve been praise for being ‘mature’, you may not allow yourself to cut loose… It takes time to unravel who we really, truly are from who we got stuck being in order to be loved.

Authenticity requires courage more than effort, and courage means letting go of every old story that we’ve carried with us.

Every inaccurate idea about ourselves that no longer fits, we need to get rid of. Every accurate assessment that still feels good, we need to update for today. For anyone who has trouble cleaning out her closets, you know what a struggle this can be! Authenticity means that we stop hoarding the perceptions of ourselves that others have pawned off on us, and begin telling our own story. Little by little, showing up as we are. It’s terrifyingly liberating, I promise.

Elizabeth Baum, M.A., MFTi –

# 15. Ask the 3 questions below to yourself


For a relationship to thrive and endure, two people must come together as whole human beings.

That is not to say couples come together without problems. Working through old wounds and baggage are part of the relationship process. When either or both partners experience less than their authentic self, a struggle occurs. There is an attempt to mold the relationship into an artificial idea of what it should look like. And that only leads to disappointment and heartbreak.

1. What is an authentic self?

Most of us define ourselves with what we are: mom, wife, teacher, doctor, thin, fat, smart, funny, attractive, sporty. But who we are exists beneath the body’s shell. It is beyond our personality, our beliefs, our moods. It is the very core of our essence— the deeply spiritual core—that cultivates the uniqueness of who we are as whole human beings.

2. Do you know your authentic self?

It may be easier to determine the opposite: whether you do not know your authentic self. Do you self-punish? Are you self-critical? Do you apologize or hide your feelings for fear of being judged by others? Do you spend much time critical or in anger, irritability, jealousy or resentment of others? Do you accept poor treatment from others— maybe even make excuses for them? Do you find yourself in relationships that are less than satisfying, even detrimental, but still hold on tight rather than be rejected or alone?

Your authentic self would not answer “yes” to any of those questions. So if you did answer “yes,” you are probably withholding your authentic self—from yourself. And if that is the case, then you withhold it from the world, including those you love.

3. How do I uncover my authentic self?

Ask yourself this: what has been the benefit of holding on to this false and fictional you—the you that disregards your essence and sits just on the surface?

Until you are ready to challenge the fear that lives behind that question, authenticity will elude you. It does not live in the shadows. It is not afraid to shine. The journey begins with letting go of what you know for what you can become.

Allow a partner to fall in love with your authentic self. Allow yourself to fall in love with a partner who is authentic. Then bask in the sacred space you create together in your truly authentic relationship.

Bobbi Jankovich, LMFT –

# 16. Follow the 3 guidelines below


The only way to experience long term happiness in any relationship is when we feel free to ‘be ourselves, to ‘be authentic’.

It becomes challenging in those times that we behave (or think about behaving) in a way that may threaten our ‘loveability’. In other words, if we are afraid that someone will stop loving us if we do or don’t do certain things; or if we are or are not a particular way, we may make choices from that fear instead of from our own sense of self.

We may or may not be aware of the little fears that serve to motivate our behavior and over time, the culmination of activity that has not been consistent with our ‘heart’ may lead us to feel as if are literally – lost.

To stay true to your ‘self’ and to maintain a strong sense of ‘self’ in any relationship, follow these three guidelines:

1. Know where you stand.

Pay attention to what you like and dislike. Honor that ‘little voice in your head’ that guides your decision making process. If something feels uncomfortable and it becomes about someone else’s wishes or expectations – stop. Take some time to see if what you are doing is consistent with who you are; with how you want to think of yourself.

2. Don’t Assume.

Often, we engage in behavior under a set of assumptions that are actually erroneous. For example; A woman hears her husband talking with a family member about having more children. She feels pressure to have another child but is personally satisfied with the two children she has.

Under the assumption that she will be disappointing her husband (and therefore risking the loss of his love), she allows herself to become pregnant only to find out that her husband was also satisfied with two and had only expressed a fleeting desire for more.

3. Love Yourself.

When you feel good about who you are and feel worthy of love and belonging, you are less likely to make decisions or engage in behavior that is not consistent with your inner being. In addition, you are more apt to defend your needs and ask for what you want.

Leslyn Kantner, MSMHC, NCC –

# 17. Know your authentic self from your constructed self


Being your ‘Authentic Self’ can be difficult. Being in a relationship can be difficult. Put the two together, and you have a real challenge on your hands!

What/Who is your Authentic Self?

There are lots of definitions of Authentic Self. I think of our Authentic Self as who we really are, once the mask is removed. Psychologists believe there is not just one Self, but a collection of parts that together constitute different aspects of who we are.

Our Authentic Self is who we are at our core.

We are spontaneous, comfortable in our own skin, and full of vitality when we are in our Authentic Self mode. You know that sense of feeling g totally free to be yourself, even if when that means showing vulnerability? To have a partner with whom you can be yourself is vital to a healthy relationship.

Who/What is your Constructed Self?

In contrast to Authentic Self is the Constructed Self. We all have Constructed Selves. When we are in a Constructed Self mode, we are adapting to the environment to be approved of and get our needs met. So, if in a relationship you have to be a certain way that isn’t truly a reflection of ‘you’, then you are likely in a Constructed Self mode. If we have to act in a particular manner in order to be liked or loved, the relationship does not have a good prognosis.

For example, if when “Marissa” is on a date, she boasts about herself and gossips about others, she is likely in her constructed Self mode. She is acting in a way that helps her to feel approved of and liked. Another example may be when “Lisa” spends the night drinking shots and playing beer games because she believes she has to in order to be popular and/or find a guy to date.

The key is to know when you are in your Authentic Self, and when you may be in a Constructed Self mode.

Some situations require that we be in a Constructed mode, and that is ok. But a relationship based on our Constructed Self is doomed to fail.

As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken”

Dr. Elayne Daniels –

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There is a deep-seated “Gap” in communication that very few women (or men) understand. 

It’s the #1 reason why men pull away. 

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# 18. One of the best ways to get in touch with who we really are is to be in an intimate relationship with someone else

Most of us don’t know that we wear an identity that isn’t completely or isn’t at all who we actually are.

So, of course, it’s hard to be true to ourselves when we don’t even know we are not being true to ourselves. Our identities walk, talk, think, emote and sound just like a self. But most of us have identified with values, emotions, traits and projections from the external world—usually our families of origin—so early that we don’t even remember it. It’s a bit like animal imprinting. We just imprint to what’s going on around us. And we think that’s who we are.

It turns out, however, that it isn’t who we are.

And one of the best ways to get in touch with who we really are is to be in an intimate relationship with someone else. It gives us the opportunity to see the distinctions between the way we really feel and the way we are acting or believing or thinking. These distinctions, while difficult to deal with, are the very meat of coming to terms with who we really are.

Often we get attracted to people who will prop up our identities.

But because the identity has already finished its original purpose—which was to get us through childhood and into adulthood, i.e., help us survive our early environments—the challenges produced by that very propping up, helps us to loosen our grip on the identity and begin to fall into something more true.

So each time you are challenged in a relationship with a discrepancy between how you feel and how you act, how you used to think and how you think now, how you feel and what you really believe or other like dissonances, thank your partner for helping you grow into who you REALLY are.

If your partner points out an inequity between how you treat her now and how you used to treat her, ask yourself, what was it that treated her differently before, and what is it that treats her this way now?

If he makes you crazy when he…. have a dialogue with that crazy feeling asking it what it really wants. Is it the attention you didn’t get as a child? Is it fairness, principle, love you want? If you can learn to speak to your partner from that, instead of from blame and criticism, you are growing into your true self.

Andrea Mathews, L.P.C. –

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