Building Authenticity Into Relationships For A Happier Life
We\’ve all been there: forcing yourself to be a little more this or a little less that in order to fit in. It\’s natural and healthy to show different sides of yourself to different people in your life. Your mom knows a different side of you than your coworkers, and that\’s probably a good thing! But what if you\’re so drastically shifting yourself to fit in that you no longer feel like YOU?
The tendency to alter ourselves in order to more closely fit different environments and relationships (let\’s call it the \”chameleon effect,\”) is something we all experience. But the question is whether these chameleon tendencies are causing you stress and keeping you from a higher level of relational well-being — without you even realizing it.
Most of us do not even realize how much we stray from our true, authentic selves when we show up to the different relationships in our lives. It\’s just what we\’ve always done.
Let\’s imagine the stereotypical teenager who doesn\’t like their friends to see them with their family — the teenage and young adult years are a time where it\’s healthy to explore different social identities, keep family life and social life separate. Even though we outgrow some of the tumultuous identity-searching, we carry many of these same tendencies into adulthood. The idea that we can\’t be our whole, authentic selves within all of our closest relationships is just a given to most people.
What if authenticity was an intentional choice?
Newsflash: life is busy and we\’re all overstimulated. But if we stepped back from the hustle for a minute and started tuning into the people, places, and things that make us feel most like ourselves?
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- How do I show up differently to different relationships in my life?
- In which relationship(s) in my life do I feel the most authentically ME? Why do I think that is?
- In which relationship(s) do I feel the least authentically ME? Why do I think that is?
- How would I feel if my family, friends, coworkers, and spouse/partner all got together in one place? How does this hypothetical feeling inform my understanding of my ability to be authentic in my different relationships?
- What fears stand in the way of being more true to myself within the relationships in my life?
- What would it look and feel like to achieve a higher level of relational well-being?
- What stands between me and a higher level of relational well-being?