What does it mean to be yourself—especially when it comes to relationships? In a world that’s driven by social media, fleeting online encounters, and now, shifts caused by a global pandemic, learning how to be yourself in a relationship may sound like a challenge. Then add the online aspect of dating to the mix and it may feel overwhelming, or even scary.
The truth about relationships, though, is that sometimes we overcomplicate them out of fear.
We’re scared to let people in, scared of being hurt again, or just scared about where things will take us. So we have this tendency (sometimes even unconsciously) to put on a mask or hide the real us from others in order to “protect.”
But as we attempt to “protect” ourselves, we only end up creating distance from the ones we really want to let in—it becomes a vicious cycle!
If you’re trying to break this cycle or trying to find something real and meaningful in this sometimes disconnected world, here are some ways to truly embrace and lean into your true self:
Stop focusing on what everyone else is doing
If you really want to know how to be yourself in a relationship, the most important thing to keep in mind is that there is only one you. Every single person in this world is different, and the sooner you realize this, the sooner you’ll stop chasing everyone else’s dreams and desire for your life.
Stop focusing on what everyone else is doing—from their jobs, to their personal goals, to their trends, to their relationship habits.
Just because someone looks “happier” than you on social media doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling with something under the surface. Just because someone else’s relationship looks “perfect” on the outside doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Instead of worrying about what the “right” or “smart” move in dating is, think about the move you really want to make. Think about what matters to you and how you want to convey your own thoughts, hopes, and goals. The sooner you push away those outside voices and lean into your true self, the happier you (and your potential partner!) will be.
Listen to both your heart and your head
Along the lines of focusing on yourself, you have to truly listen to yourself if you want to see growth or change. Being yourself in a relationship is all about finding out what’s true for you and leaning into that (even when it’s scary). In order to do this, you have to create a balance between your heart and your head in order to know how to move forward.
People say “listen to your heart,” but sometimes that’s irrational or confusing. You can’t simply listen to your heart if you don’t know what your heart is saying. And there’s an element of being rational that, of course, has to be considered. Creating your own balance and subsequent “voice” to listen to will help you be true to yourself and true to your partner’s desires, too.
Discover what you care about and openly share it
If you want to know how to be yourself in a relationship, the truth is, you have to be willing to get vulnerable. Real relationships are born of openness, mutual trust and respect, and communication. As you get to know someone, share what’s on your heart. Share what you’re passionate about. Share what bothers you. And give your partner the space to do the same.
Quiet the doubts and lean into fear
Similar to listening to both your heart and your head (and creating balance between the two), in any relationship, you have to be both rational and reckless.
On the rational end, you have to be smart before jumping in and giving someone your heart. But, there’s value in being a bit “crazy,” too.
The best relationships are born of blind trust (after you’ve built the foundation, of course). You can’t make someone feel, do, or act a certain way, so at some point, you have to jump in, trusting that it will all work out. This “reckless” behavior is what makes relationships so good. When you’re willing to take a chance, you’ll realize that love is always worth leaning into. Even if you get hurt.
But part of being your true self is knowing when to jump in, simply because you believe in something bigger than yourself—love.
To learn more about relationships, giving your heart to someone, or finding who you’re compatible with, based on personality, head over to our Birdy blog and take the FREE personality test!