Showing More of Your Authentic Self in Your Relationship
There are many different variations of what it means to be your authentic self in relationships, but most include something along the lines of feeling safe to be who you truly are and being able to share your honest thoughts and emotions. It is especially important for partners/spouses to feel that they can be their authentic selves within their romantic relationship. Below are some areas to explore and possibly expand on within your own relationship with your partner as a way to work towards showing more of your authentic self with them.
Work Towards Congruence in Your Communication
According to therapist Virginia Satir, part of being human is working towards what she called congruence, which is being in a place where what we say, do, and believe all match. Pay attention to when and how often you find yourself saying something to your partner that you don't believe or behaving towards them in a way that does not fit your beliefs or values, and then think about what might need to be different for you to be more congruent in your communication/interactions with them.
Be Honest about Your Emotions
Set up regular times to sit and be present with your partner during which you each share your current emotions with each other. You can also use this time to find ways to validate your partner's feelings and discuss how you can best support each other in these emotions.
Create Shared Meaning
According to Dr. John Gottman, one of the most important things couples can do is create shared meaning, which is the act of creating experiences that are unique to you and your partner, ultimately helping you to grow your friendship/bond and bring you closer. One way to do this is to create rituals, such as planning a weekly date night or staying in and watching a movie once a week. Having these consistent experiences together helps to build the intimacy and emotional safety that can help partners be more of their authentic selves with each other.
Of course, to be able to do any of the above, one must feel safe to be vulnerable with their partner. If you feel that the emotional safety in your relationship may need to increase in order for you to be able to show more of your authentic self, couples therapy can be a safe place to explore what may be contributing to you and your partner‘s lack of showing your authentic selves to each other. A couples therapist can help you and your partner have these conversations in a safe space, as well as help you explore new ways to show more of your authentic selves within your relationship.
Gottman, J. M. (1999). The marriage clinic: A scientifically-based marital therapy. WW Norton & Company.
Satir, V. (1988). The new peoplemaking. Science and Behavior Books.