We all want to be seen. In fact, a huge part of our partner search involves finding the person who we think ‘sees’ our true selves. So why do we make this so hard? Why do we construct huge amounts of time and energy, constructing a version of ourselves, that we think is better than our true selves? We don’t just do this in our love lives – we wear masks in all areas of our lives – assuming we need them. How many times have you been on a date, trying to mold yourself into a version of what you think the person in front of you might like? The answer to the one of my most frequently asked questions, ‘Why is it harder to flirt with people whom I like?’ also stems from this; you need to be something other than you’re not in order to impress the other person.
I also have masks. One I have been wearing for awhile is of ‘expert’. You should see my reaction when someone dares to question my credibility as an anthropologist or flirting expert. Last week I was at a dinner party. The girlfriend of my husband’s friend started telling me that my research into cultural flirting was wrong. My response? Let’s just say that it wasn’t my best moment…
The reason it riles me when someone interferes with my version of my perfect self is the same reason you also wear masks and create constructs that hide your true self. We have been taught that we must be perfect because who we authentically are isn’t good enough.
So, I just wanted to share something with you. When I spot that I am playing a game where I can never win (like me trying to lose 10lbs. Why? What’s the point of this game other than to make me feel bad? Does it even mean anything?) I just stop playing the game. This is why I am stopping the ‘I am perfect’ game. In fact, I think the word perfect needs to be redefined. From now on it’s, ‘I am authentic’. I need to be me. You need to be you. And, that’s it! Therefore, on your partner searches, no one needs to change anything. Everyone can just just be who they are. Then, when we meet people who aren’t the right partners for us, we can think ‘not a good fit for me, but perfect for someone else’. No one is bad, good, or needs to change. Authentic is the new perfect. You heard it here first.