You used to go to your in-laws for Thanksgiving Day. Now, you host dinner, but your father-in-law still carves the turkey … and your husband still yields at every point with, “Yes, Sir.” It took you the first six years of your marriage to really know the groom; and you’re still trying to get to know the guy he turns into around his father! Or, maybe you’re too busy resenting the charade to try to understand it.
Remember the first time you were dumbfounded watching your sweetheart with his college buddies or his pals from the old neighborhood? You watched this man who had romanced you with poetry and baby talk turn into a gruff, back-slapping guy with a limited vocabulary. That was a poignant picture of how men communicate differently with different people — especially when they haven’t yet come into their own.
Enough about him, though. How does your behavior change when your oldest sister arrives on the scene or your ex shows up unexpectedly? Who intimidates you so much that you become somebody you don’t want to be, somebody you’re not?
Oddly enough, one of those people could be your sweetheart!
With all the entertaining and socializing coming up, this is the perfect time to observe how free you are, with and without an audience … whether that audience is your sweetheart, the crew from work, or your mother. While you’re taking that in, you can quietly — in your best nonjudgmental posture — observe your sweetheart, too. And don’t stop there … look at how the two of you interact together.
Here’s a tip: Don’t wait until you find yourself on stage to start watching; the show begins before the audience arrives. Look at how you prepare for the company of others — whether it’s your gynecologist, the mailman, or dinner guests. What expression, piece of clothing, jewelry, or air do you put on that distorts or protects you? And how does that vary if your sweetheart is with you.
Now ask yourself what you are trying to hide … and keep in mind that when you shield some of your parts from rejection, you also shield them from the love you want. If there’s something about you that you want to change, go for it. In the meantime, live with what’s there; so you know how much you like it or want to change it.
If you’re comfortable with you and your behavior, chances are others will be, too.
Ultimately, you just want to be YOU — with or without an audience. Feeling like you have to put on a front is feeling like you’re not good enough. If you know that you are before the audience arrives, you are less apt to play the role of somebody else for them. And that’s true even when your sweetheart is the only one with a ticket to watch.
Authentic is as good as you get!
Whether you’re entertaining your sweetheart, children, boss, best friends, or strangers, do it wholeheartedly. That could mean not doing it at all! Sometimes it will mean going out or serving a simpler meal. It might mean impressing people less with your culinary skills, personality, clothes, house, or relationship. But it will unequivocally mean impressing them more with you.
You can be aware of the little voice that would have you worry about what everybody’s thinking, without acting on it. You can stop making life hard by trying to please others … and please more people as a result!
An old boyfriend once told me that he hadn’t changed since we’d committed, he just stopped putting his best foot forward. Your best foot is your authentic foot. And keeping it out there is simply following your bliss.