It takes two to make a relationship work. But if you are giving up who you are to keep it going, you're likely to resent your life. A healthy relationship asks you to be YOU.
Relationships aren't always simple. Even the most compatible of couples have conflicts because, well, they are still two distinct individuals with diverse interests and personalities. This being on one end, the other side has us thinking about being selfless and giving what our partner needs. Finding the balance between unconditional love and being true to oneself seems to be elusive more often than we would like to admit.
So how do you know if you are letting your relationship define you to an extent that you stopped being yourself? Let's start with the basics: love doesn't demand that you become less of you in any way. Being accommodating is different from enmeshing or losing your identity.
The first sign of being untrue to yourself is a growing sense of resentment. It happens when you do what you "ought" to do, not what you want to do. This could be going to a place that your partner likes even if you are not up for it, or cleaning the house every day just because your partner expects the house to be spotless.
If you are so accustomed to giving into what you think is the right thing to say or do, even before thinking if it is good for you, you're likely to slip out a YES to any request or demand. If your partner says, "Let's go on a camping instead of a beach vacay, you say OK, even though your body and mind needs a relaxing trip."
Do you think twice before you even consider saying NO? And after thinking much, do you still say YES? If so, you believe disagreement is the same as rejection. You and your partner cannot and will not agree on many things. If you always say YES to their preferences, you are losing a bit of yourself every day and it won't be long before you can't recognize who you've become.
If your partner says something out of line or suggests an idea that you know would not work, do you call them out or do you smile awkwardly, thinking how polite you can be in saying it's absolute BS? Conflict is a healthy part of a relationship. If you are afraid to rock the boat, you are doing so by becoming a shadow version of yourself that doesn't stand up for your truth.
Do you think your choice in music, fashion, movies, art, and books aren't as good as your partner's? If so, this can redefine your individuality in more ways than you can imagine. It's great to share notes and explore new artists and writers. But if you have stopped listening to your favorite tracks or begin to think that your taste in books not as intellectual, you might simply become a clone of your partner.
Are you an introvert and your partner a social butterfly? Or, do you enjoy hanging out with friends now and then and your partner thinks this is too mainstream? You are entitled to have your kind of fun, irrespective of what your partner thinks. If you don't make any plans without asking your partner, you are giving up who you are to safely fit into the mold your partner expects you to be in.
Let's be clear. Your personal goals are about you and what you want to do in life. Your relationship is one part of the bigger whole, not the entire picture. Do you have fitness goals, self-growth goals, skills to ace goals, and a fun bucket list that doesn't involve your partner? If you don't, that's a little worrisome, but if you do and you don't work on it, then you're putting your needs in the backseat.
Do you spend enough time with people who matter to you? Were you the kind who always made time for your close friends or parents? Did the frequency decrease drastically once your partner entered your life? A bit of a change in priorities always happens.
But if everybody else who matters sees less of you, then you need to look at how much time you want to spend with them. And, when you do meet, do they find you to be different? Do they wonder why you act, speak, think differently? If so, listen to them. They act as mirrors when you are lost in self-denial.
Your crazy side takes a backseat. You don't find joy in the things you used to love. You are a lot less spontaneous. And you think and feel what your partner might feel even before what you think and feel within.
Did you always want to practice your guitar more often? Is bettering your sketching or baking skills on your to-do list, but you've not managed to spend enough time for it? If so, you need to see how much of your time and effort your relationship is taking, which can be changed to become a better version of yourself.
1. Take stock. If you feel resentful, stay with the feeling and see what comes up.
2. Write down your thoughts and feelings. It helps gain clarity.
3. Talk to a friend or family member who has known you for a long time and ask them if you have been unlike yourself. Listen to them with an open mind.
4. Talk to your partner. Sometimes, your partner would be more than happy to have you be who you are rather than becoming someone passive and dependent.
5. If your partner is the reason that you've stopped being yourself, have an open conversation once you've had time to process the changes. Be objective when you talk to them.
6. Tell them what you would like to do, what makes you happy, what you miss doing.
7. If your partner suggests something that you just don't feel like doing, say it. The world will not end.
8. If your partner does make it seem like the end of the world, rethink your relationship.
Nothing or no one is worth losing yourself for.
Listen to Coach Corey talk share tips on how to avoid losing yourself in relationships.
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