I wanted to steer clear of the cliché subject matter you’d normally find in a run of the mill relationship advice column. Who cares about the “top 10 do’s and don’ts” on a first date? Is what you wear on your initial excursion with a potential boyfriend all that important?
In my opinion, there’s something far more important that we all need to possess before we can consider upgrading our wardrobes at one of Macy’s red tag events. Your most formidable piece in this chess game we call dating is a true, let me emphasize… true understanding of yourself. This doesn’t mean realizing that your favorite food is pizza, or acknowledging that you prefer horror movies over comedy.
What I’m referring to, is a greater understanding of how you function within the social realm of society. Are you outgoing? Are you shy? Do you like being the center of attention, or do you prefer playing the cool, laid back role? You have to look at your attributes, interests, and anything else that may help define you as a person. Appreciate these pieces that make you unique. Becoming comfortable with your disposition, accepting your qualities is the first step to being able to venture into the dating realm with authentic confidence.
Too many times, we wish we were different, that we could somehow change aspects about ourselves. Many times we’ll try to mask our true characteristics and create facades we think other people want to see. We perpetuate this sort of fantasy version of ourselves in order to attract and keep the interest of select members of the opposite sex.
We view our real attributes in a negative ways. For countless reasons, not to be discussed in this particular article, many of us believe that our true selves just aren’t good enough. It shouldn’t be a surprise then that so many relationship attempts never get off the ground, and why so many more crash shortly after take off.
How can you ever expect to meet someone who’s really compatible with you, if you’re spending your time projecting a falsified persona? Only one of two results can be achieved by taking this flawed approach to meet a mate.
Either your love interest will see through the charade early on, and will be turned off (which, in my opinion is probably the lesser of two evils), or you’ll actually be unfortunate enough to lure someone in with your manufactured pseudo-personality. This is where problems can arise. Ask yourself, how long would you be willing to put your comfort, your needs aside? Can you actually deal with suppressing your likes and dislikes for another person? That’s exactly what you’re doing when you decide to hide your true self for the sake of someone you’re trying to impress.
If you do succeed in developing a “relationship”, remember, the object of your affections has fallen for a sham, not your true self. In essence, instead of strengthening bonds with your significant other, you’ll be expending your energy trying to keep up the farce. Speaking from experience, it’s emotionally and mentally draining trying to force a relationship to work with someone that you really have nothing in common with. You may genuinely like this person, but what’s the point if they don’t genuinely like the real you? Now you’re trapped in a one-sided relationship, and you have no one to blame but yourself.
The bottom line is that you’re not being fair to you. The relationship wasn’t given an honest chance to work because you’re not being sincere. By modifying your behavior and totally catering to your love interest, you’re lying to them. You aren’t allowing them to see just how great of a person you really are. Most importantly you’re lying to yourself if you think a happy relationship can be erected on a foundation of a pseudo-personality fortified with counterfeit actions. This brings me back to my first point, being satisfied with your self.
A solid relationship is often described as a culmination of two halves to complete a whole. What isn’t said, is that each half has to be whole within themselves. What this means is, you should be able to stand as an individual without being involved in a relationship. Many times people mistakenly use their relationships and the people they’re involved with to define themselves. A good working relationship involves two people secure within themselves first. Then, the two secure individuals define their relationship. They don’t let the relationship define them. A person lacking confidence in his or her self will define themselves based on what the other person in the relationship thinks.
How many times have you heard someone say something like “she is my happiness” or “I don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t with him”? Should anyone’s opinion of you carry so much weight with how you feel about yourself? The answer is most definitely no, but countless people base how they feel about themselves on the opinions of others. No one can know you better than you. Therefore, you should look internally for acceptance instead of relying on outside sources. People will argue that it’s easier said than done, but if you learn to think logically about certain things, you will begin to develop a stronger self acceptance.
First of all, you need to realize that no one is perfect. Everyone has strengths as well as weaknesses. What’s good for you, may not work for him. You need to figure out what your strengths are and accept them. Work to strengthen characteristics that you feel may be slightly weaker if they bother you.
Secondly, don’t be ashamed of who you are. You were given certain gifts. You have an affinity for certain things, and so on. Don’t hide these things because you feel they won’t be accepted. Be proud that you have talent in these areas. No one will support you if you don’t first support yourself.
Thirdly, realize that not everyone will like you. You don’t need them to. If someone doesn’t like you for the person you are, then you don’t need to be dealing with that particular person anyway. You two obviously aren’t compatible. Enough said. Don’t dwell on previous failed relationships. Learn from the mistakes you made, and strengthen your understanding of how you work within a relationship. Move on.
Lastly, remember that confidence in oneself is a very attractive trait to have. People are often drawn to the person who doesn’t need to care what others think about them. Like I said before, the majority of us worry about what other people think. A person that can separate themselves from this train of thought displays a sort of freedom that many of us wish we had.
After we understand ourselves, the dating game becomes easier to deal with. Get comfortable with yourself first then you can worry about the proper dining etiquette at a five star restaurant.