“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”
~ Brené Brown
One important aspect of being yourself in a relationship is staying grounded in your own life.
Keep yourself at the center of your life, rather than wrapping yourself around someone else’s. This does not mean being selfish or self-centered, but rather remaining focused on your own life and well-being.
When you get into a relationship, it is critical to keep on taking care of yourself the way that you did before you got into the relationship.
Whatever you were doing that kept you healthy, attractive, and desirable – you need to keep doing.
Speak your truth, rather than being a people pleaser.
Sometimes, we say what we think someone else wants to hear simply to get their approval or to please them. The person you are in a relationship with is not your authority figure, that person is your equal.
Let him know what you really think and who you really are.
This includes being honest about what you want and like, and what you don’t.
It is OK to be yourself and to disagree with others.
The key to disagreeing is learning how to do it agreeably.
This requires good communication skills. Each person is allowed to have their own point of view and to learn from one another. Sometimes no one is completely right or wrong, and each person has the opportunity to learn from the other.
Keep up your own self-care, habits, and routines.
This is perhaps the most important part of holding on to yourself. Many people get into a relationship and lose themselves in the relationship trying to be what they think the other person wants them to be, or allowing themselves to be controlled by another person.
It is a faulty model that two people meet and are supposed to become one person.
You were an individual before you met this person, and you need to still be the same individual now. This means that you may be very different, and that is perfectly OK.
The point is not to find a clone of yourself, but rather to find someone that you’re compatible with, and with whom you can share and complement one another. When people are different from one another, new growth occurs on both sides.
Stay true to your own values and priorities.
Your values are fundamental to who you are and what matters to you in your life. Your priorities are what you decide to give your time to.
Remember to make time for your own family and friends, and continue to engage in your own hobbies and interests and see your own friends even though you have a relationship in your life.
Remember that the person that you are in a relationship with was attracted to you, not to a lesser version of you.
Be who you really are, allow yourself to continue to grow, and hopefully the two of you can grow together in a beautiful and wonderful way.
When two people remain in their own identities and complement each other, they can contribute to one another’s growth and become a force multiplier.
Anita Gadhia-Smith, PsyD, LCSW-C, LICSW – www.drgadhiasmith.com
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