Be Yourself, Maybe Even Your “Best Self”
“Don’t change so people will like you, be yourself and the right people will love you.”
As a therapist who specializes in relationships/dating, I do not give my clients tips on “how to get the guy (or girl)” or give my clients advice to “say these 6 (or maybe 10?) phrases, which will, automatically get the guy (or girl) to fall in love with you.” Why not?
Because it wouldn’t be genuine. If you find a dating coach or therapist who helps you figure out what to say or how to act in order to get a guy/girl to be interested in you, or even commit to you longer term, then what happens next?… What do you say and how do you act after the fact? It seems to me as though you would have to figure out a way to keep up a façade or continue saying/doing the “right” things in order to keep this person around. That sounds like a lot of work, and not a doable task in the long run. Additionally, you would be using someone’s scripted lines/behaviors in order to manipulate a girl/guy into committing to you. Do you really want to be with someone who has to be manipulated into doing so? Don’t you deserve to be with someone who chooses to be with the real you?
Instead, be yourself- your genuine self. Relationships are hard work to begin with. You do not need the additional stress of putting on a performance every time you see your partner. Think about your married friends, relatives, and acquaintances. They are not dating experts- they did not have to come up with magic words or phrases in order to get their partner to commit. I’m sure that none of them are perfect or had to act perfect in order to woo their mate. Maybe a few of them even seem a bit high maintenance or awkward. Yet they found people who were good matches for them, who love them, flaws and all (and maybe their partners don’t even see those characteristics as flaws).
So, no need to figure out how to “get the guy/girl”. And no need to change yourself in order to make someone like you more. Just be you. In Oscar Wilde’s words, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Who you are, however, can be a person who continuously grows and learns. Instead of changing, maybe focus on being an improved version of yourself.
Maybe Even Your “Best Self”
Being yourself doesn’t mean you don’t have work to do! You can always work towards being your “best self,” or an improved version of yourself. But, being your “best self” does not involve changing yourself in a way that would make someone else happy; it may potentially involve making changes, or working on yourself in a way that makes you happy (or happier).
According to Dr. Richard Schwartz, the founder of Internal Family Systems Therapy, a person has many different parts within him/herself (think of the movie Inside Out). When you are your “best self”, or to put it another way, when your parts are being led by your “best self”, according to Dr. Schwartz you possess these 8 C characteristics: Calm, Clarity, Curiosity, Compassion, Confidence, Courage, Creativity, and Connection and 5 P characteristics: Perspective, Patience, Persistence, Playfulness and Presence. (Note: For more on IFS and Dr. Schwartz, please refer to “Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model” by Dr. Richard Schwartz.) Many of us, myself included, are not our “best selves” all of the time but it is certainly a goal that I try to work towards.
You may be reacting to the 8 Cs and 5Ps by thinking, “But I’m not calm (or curious, or any of the above) so if I try to be that way, I’m not being myself.” …If you feel that way, or if you had that thought, that’s totally ok! The 8 Cs and 5 Ps are a suggestion of what one’s “best self” could look like, and one that I personally aspire (with challenge) to work towards. My suggestion: Aspire to be the best version of yourself that you can be, or at least the version of yourself that you are most satisfied/content with, and everything else will fall into place. Challenge yourself to keep growing, learning and healing.
How do you get there?
Therapy is a great place to start that growth!
Reach out and connect with me anytime.