Catriona Futter – Equip For Life Coaching Becoming your best self and living life to the full – 07713 974138

Relationship Lie No 5 – I don’t have to change who I am

Where is change needed?

Where is change needed?

This is a subtle lie, one that is easy to misinterpret –

I shouldn’t have to change who I am to make our relationship work.

Or, as Gloria Gaynor so powerfully put it, “I am what I am!” Now, I am not saying that we should diminish, hide, or conform who we are to suit our other half. As a Life Coach, my passion is to encourage people to understand who they are – unique makeup, strengths, character traits, values – and embrace and celebrate living as the best version of that person. Not living in the shadow of someone else, or trapped by negative internal dialogues that diminish our true self, or playing the comparisons game to destructive, exhausting effect.

BUT ….

….and it is a big BUT

….none of us are perfect, and knowing and understanding who we are also means accepting where change is needed.

If we believe this lie, that we don’t have to change to make the relationship work, we could be saying one of a number of things:

  • I am who I am and that is it, accept me or tough – I am not willing to change
  • I’m happy with who I am, and therefore all the problems in our relationship are your fault
  • I don’t need to change – either I don’t have any bad habits, or I am quite happy with them and you have to accept them
  • Who I am is as good as it is going to get
  • I know that there are aspects of my character that are not great, but it is too hard to change

As ever, I am polarising things somewhat to make a point and get you thinking. But if we are really honest with ourselves, can we relate even the teeniest bit to any of those statements?

How many of us are perfectly aware of our own character flaws but choose instead to point out those of our partner, to avoid having to do the hard work to change our own attitudes and behaviour?

We might be fully aware of our short temper…tendency to criticise…lack of self discipline…stubbornness…emotional unavailability…[add your own]. But we choose to not address those issues in ourselves because it is too hard, too painful or requires too much time and effort. So we stay as we are, and expect the other to accept us.

If we think we are content to stay as who we are and don’t need to change, we are essentially saying that there is little in us that needs to change. We are completely happy being who we are, including bad habits that we are ok with and therefore expect the other to accept.

This might be seen as perhaps a little selfish, and that we are making unrealistic demands on our other half?

It is important to note that this is not about conforming or becoming a wet blanket to try and please the other. This is about

  • recognising what aspects of our character are hindering intimacy and deep connections within the relationship
  • facing up to and owning that
  • being willing to change.

Being in the right relationship is about being the right person not finding the right person. The question isn’t “should I change to improve my relationship” but

What should I change to improve my relationship?

Expecting our partner to change but not being willing or seeing the need to change ourselves is going to lead to disconnect, discontentment and disaster. Perhaps the bravest question you could ask your partner or spouse this week is

“If I were going to change one thing about me that would make our relationship better, what would it be?”

Inspired? Encouraged? Get in touch!

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