“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.” Shannon L. Alder
We had a beautiful conversation on a recent coaching call, where several ladies shared that they felt as though they couldn’t be their true self inside their marriages.
“If I reveal my true self, I won’t be loved and accepted….”
“When I am my true self, it causes problems…”
They had perfectly good reasons why they believed this to be true:
- One shared that when she revealed who she really was and what she really desired, her husband reacted negatively.
- Another shared that when she had gathered enough courage to share herself fully, someone she loved deeply ended the relationship.
- Yet another said that when she expressed herself in an unfiltered way as a child, her mother had some things to say about that.
Once we began looking more closely at this, there was a powerful realization among the women that I think can be helpful to so many.
When you hide who you really are….or you only show parts of yourself that others agree with in order to gain their love, acceptance, and approval…
…You abandon yourself in order to sustain the relationship.
… You deny some of the very parts of yourself that make up who you are.
… And the person you are trying to appease doesn’t actually love and accept you.
Read that again.
They love and accept a version of you….a representative or characterization that you’ve created. They can’t love the “real you” because you’ve not shown that to them with any consistency. Who your partner loves is the person who has oriented their choices and actions around THEM.
So inside our most intimate relationships, part of telling the truth includes being open and honest about who we really are with the people we love. When we do that, when someone points their love at us, at least they’re pointing their love at our true selves, rather than some fictional character we’ve created.
And maybe the most important person we’re seeking love and acceptance from is actually ourselves. Our true self.