In this article Sarah writes about her own challenges of being true to oneself and how slowly she is widening her perspective to learn more in this area.
I’ve always approached my past relationships, both friendships but mostly romantic relationships, in very much the same manner I would approach an interview. I want to show the other person on the other side of the table sipping coffee that I am capable, competent, worth being in a relationship with, that the person would be lucky to have me on board. I guess trying to gain the other’s approval in the beginning of a relationship is quite a natural thing to do.
But my tendency is to prolong this game ad infinitum, constantly trying to prove myself, leaving no room for the other to know my weaknesses, my fears, my insecurities, which is crucial in maintaining a successful relationship. I play the game of trying to implicitly make the point that he might easily lose me, giving out the message that he’d better be alert and perform well, or else I might just say goodbye.
Being raised in a family where we were encouraged to be our best, I interpreted this outlook as the need to always be the best. I’m noticing I’ve carried this attitude in approaching relationships. I never address real issues with the other person, lest they might see me as weak or inferior which might lead to them not feeling the need to be with me anymore, and then – God forbid!, rejecting me. Oh what I do, how many miles I walk just for the sake of not being rejected. I have an insatiable thirst to be loved and approved of by everybody.
As my perspective is slowly widening, I’m starting to think ‘Man, this is not it!’ We are talking about relationships here, not about competitions. This is a learning curve which we travel through while holding hands, not a rat race which you sprint through while stealthily checking if the other person is ahead of you.
If I am with a guy, I want to be in a relationship with him, not in a playful tug of war. I want to be known by a person for who I really am. If the person really loves me, I want him to fall in love with the truth of who I am, not with a false image, a mask behind which I constantly hide. For, in truth, if a person falls in love with my mask, he wouldn’t be falling in love with me. But what a beautiful thing it would be if I show the true multi-layered me, with its good and bad, and be truly loved for that, for all of what makes me me. I don’t need to be loved by the whole world. But if I am going to invest in some close intimate relationships, I want to be who I am.
I need to become more aware of my patterns, the underlying truths behind my behaviour. This way, I would be better able to communicate them with the persons who I’m investing in. Because if I wouldn’t really know myself well, it would be much difficult for the other persons to understand me.
I want to live in the truth. Yes, the truth can be hard to digest sometimes. But I’d rather go through the hardship and pain in order to obtain and give out something real, rather than remain on the surface with the glitter and the shine and obtain absolutely nothing, also giving out nothing.