When we meet new people, we tend to put our best foot forward. This can be by looking our best, going the extra mile at work and in our personal lives, or by making ourselves and our lives seem put together.
At first, presenting the best version of yourself is not a bad thing. Doing so can make a fantastic and lasting first impression on the person you want viewing you in the best possible light. After a while though, people will start to expect this from you all the time, which can quickly become exhausting, especially in relationships.
Constantly trying to be the best version of yourself or putting up a facade of who you are will most likely fail.
Not being your true self can result in you lying about things that are important to you, such as your core beliefs/values, interests, or even your sense of humor. This can mean that you are trying to impress or fit in with the wrong people.
When you pretend to be someone else for long enough you can begin to lose sight of who you really are or once were. You will also be more likely to dwell on your shortcomings and failures, as reported by the Journal of Consumer Research. Doing so can lead you to being with a romantic partner that doesn’t align with who you truly are. It can also mean that you are allowing yourself to be unhappy or uncomfortable, or being treated in a way that makes you feel this.
Pretending to be someone you’re not can further fail as other people can usually sense when you’re not being genuine, which can prevent your romantic relationships from moving past the dating stage or eventually ending.
If you do wind up being successful in hiding your true self, you may come to realize the result is not what you were trying to achieve. You can actually end up being unhappy and feeling lonely. Not being open or true with others about who you really are makes you expect to never feel truly understood. Your partner may even fall in love with who you’re pretending to be.
When we fail in these ways, we may crash and burn, resulting in immense damage to our minds, relationships, and our whole lives. According to Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist, the vast efforts we put into faking who we are uses up our mental resources and interferes with our ability to make good choices.
A few things UK-based Counselor and Psychotherapist Claire Law says you can practice as you work on being your authentic self include, accepting and loving yourself, practicing self-improvement, and controlling who is a part of your community.
When you are able to do this you give yourself the opportunity to grow and accept who you are. You will no longer need to wonder who you’re ‘supposed’ to be and rediscover who you are and where you hope to go.
You will attract the kinds of people you want in your life and cultivate more meaningful relationships. The people gravitating towards you will lift you up, love you, and tell you things you need to hear - not just things you want to hear.
You’ll learn how to bring fulfillment and happiness to your life. This can be through spending more time on things you love, staying present, and practicing gratitude. When you are true to yourself you will be able to more easily look inward and know when a relationship is worth leaving.