“Don’t change so people will like you, be yourself and the right people will love you.”
I saw this quote on the wall of Therapy With Heart’s Facebook page and was inspired to write this blog post. As a therapist who specializes in relationships/dating, I don’t give my clients tips on “how to get the guy (or girl)” or give my clients advice to “say these 6 (or maybe 10?) phrases, which will, automatically work to get the guy (or girl) to fall in love with you.” Why not?
Because it wouldn’t be genuine. If you find a dating coach or therapist who helps you figure out what to say or how to act in order to get a guy/girl to be interested in you, or even commit to you longer term, then what happens next?… What do you say and how do you act after the fact?
It seems to me as though you would have to figure out a way to keep up a façade or continue saying/doing the “right” things in order to keep this person around. That sounds like a lot of work and not a doable task in the long run.
Additionally, you would be using someone’s scripted lines/behaviors in order to manipulate a girl/guy into committing to you. Do you really want to be with someone who has to be manipulated into doing so? Don’t you deserve to be with someone who chooses to be with you freely and excitedly?!
Instead, how about this. Be yourself, your genuine self. Yes, my simple advice is to be you. Relationships are hard work to begin with. You don’t need the additional stress of putting on a performance every time you see your partner.
Think about your married friends, relatives, and acquaintances. I’m sure most of them are not dating experts- they didn’t have to come up with magic words or phrases in order to get their partner to commit. I’m sure that none of them are perfect or had to act perfect in order to woo their mate.
Maybe a few of them even seem a bit high maintenance or socially awkward to you… Yet they found people who were good matches for them, who love them, flaws and all (and maybe their partners don’t even see those characteristics as flaws!).
So, no need to figure out how to “get the guy/girl”. And no need to change yourself in order to make someone like you more. Just be you. In Oscar Wilde’s words, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
What if you’re not completely content or satisfied with your current self? Being yourself doesn’t mean you can’t work towards being your “best self,” or an improved version of yourself. But, being your “best self” doesn’t involve changing yourself in a way that would make someone else happy; it may potentially involve making changes, or working on yourself in a way that makes you happy (or happier).
According to Dr. Richard Schwartz, the founder of Internal Family Systems Therapy, a person has many different parts within him/herself (think of the movie In & Out). When you are your “best self”, or to put it another way, when your parts are being led by your “best self”, according to Dr. Schwartz you possess these 8 characteristics: Calmness, Clarity, Curiosity, Compassion, Confidence, Courage, Creativity, and Connectedness (that’s right, the 8 Cs!). (Note: For more on IFS and Dr. Schwartz, please refer to “Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model” by Dr. Richard Schwartz.)
Many of us, myself included, aren’t that way all of the time (life is stressful!) but it’s certainly a goal that I try to work towards (for myself, of course, not in order to make others happy).
You may be reacting to the 8 Cs by thinking, “But I’m not calm (or curious, or any of the above) so if I try to be that way, I’m not being myself.” If you feel that way, or if you had that thought, that’s totally ok! The 8 Cs are a suggestion of what one’s “best self” could look like, and one that I personally aspire (with challenge) to work towards.
My suggestion: Aspire to be the best version of yourself that you can be, or at least the version of yourself that you are most satisfied/content with, and everything else will fall into place.
Wishing you all the best!
This Post Written By:
Rachel Freidus, LMFT, MS – Therapy With Heart
8737 E. Via De Commercio, Suite 200
Scottsdale, Arizona 85258
Phone: (480) 888-5380
Fax: (480) 203-2881