It’s common to say we shouldn’t ever change ourselves for anyone, but is that really the case?
Self-acceptance and self-love are big right now. We’re living in the age of “you do you”, where we’re encouraged to live our truth, to do whatever brings us joy, and to consider our needs and desires as the most important things to be met. Along with that, our modern dating culture has taken a similar stance — never change who you are, compromise a piece of yourself, or alter your desires, in order to date someone.
Doesn’t sound like bad advice, right? It says that we should love and respect ourselves, and treat dating as a way to find someone who fits into our lives, instead of fitting ourselves into someone else’s life. But, turns out, that’s not all it says. While the idea of never changing ourselves for a relationship seems noble, it’s not always such a respectable move.
Growing Isn’t the Same As Bending
There’s a belief going around that we’re perfect and wonderful just the way we are, that anyone should be so lucky to love us exactly as we are, that any guy who doesn’t accept every single part of us isn’t worth our time.
Part of being in any relationship is taking the other person’s needs into account.
We tend to think of changing ourselves at all as weak and cowardly, but part of being in a relationship (of any kind, by the way) is taking that person’s needs into account, not just our own. This means looking at ways we can make positive change in ourselves for the better of the relationship — and spoiler alert: there’s always something we need to be improving. Challenging ourselves to look past what makes us feel good in order to see how we can love our partner more fully isn’t bending to meet their expectations, it’s just an inevitable part of caring about someone else.
It’s Honorable To Mature
We’re sold the idea that fully accepting ourselves as we are, without giving in to any pressure to improve or enhance ourselves, is strong, admirable, and one of the most difficult things to do. But is it really?
Somewhat unpopular opinion: it’s better to be honest with ourselves and take a hard look at our shortcomings than to bury our head in the sand and stay stagnant. It’s far more demanding and commendable to see the ways in which we fail or don’t measure up to the person we could be — and a relationship we care about is worth doing that for. Our significant other deserves our very best, hardworking, and introspective selves. After all, wouldn’t we want our guy to do the same for us?
It’s better to be honest with ourselves than to bury our head in the sand and stay stagnant.
Changing Ourselves Can Help More Than Our Relationship
It’s not just for the purpose of becoming a better dating prospect that we should consider where we can improve. Choosing to acknowledge our weaknesses and imperfections by learning to improve our temperament and communication skills, understanding how best to present ourselves in friendly and professional situations, and even investing in a complimentary wardrobe will help us in the long run as we search for jobs and new friendships.
But There’s Also a Line We Shouldn’t Cross
None of this is to say that we should be ready and willing to drop our principles to get a guy to like us. Convincing ourselves to go further intimately than we want to, take up hobbies we don’t even enjoy, or put up with questionable behavior and character will never lead us to a fulfilling relationship. It’s always okay to have non-negotiables, especially when it comes to religion and personal values.
Changing ourselves to become a better dating prospect isn’t always weak. When done right, it’s actually a show of strength and maturity in a world that assures us we’re perfect the way we are.
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