We are all weird in our own way, which is why having someone in our lives that accepts us for who we are is a trait that many would argue as the most quintessential component to a relationship.
There is even research that shows how feeling understood in a relationship makes for a happier pairing.
The logic is pretty straightforward: be with who makes you comfortable. Why wouldn’t you want to spend the most time with who you can be yourself around?
But apparently, there is something better to strive for.
A new study recently published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and highlighted by Christian Jarrett in BPS Research Digest, feeling like your most authentic self isn’t necessarily what makes the relationship feel authentic; instead, relationships are stronger and more satisfying when they make you feel like the best, most aspirational version of who you can be.
The study asked volunteers to think of their “ideal” selfs and their “true” selfs, then they were asked to reveal how often they were able to show one side versus the other and how frequent.
Researchers found that people who said they behaved like their ideal selves with their partner also rated the relationship as more “authentic” than those who had trouble living out who they felt they could be. The nature of the relationship also pushed them to be their true selves.
According to Jarrett,
“In other words, at least when it comes to feelings of authenticity in a relationship, what seems to matter the most is not that we can be ourselves, but that we can behave as the kind of person we strive to be.”
This goes along with the idea of the “Michelangelo phenomenon.”
This means when we see traits in our spouse that we aspire to have, it motivates us to attain it in ourselves through encouragement or acting by example.
This is the idea that your significant other can bring the best out of you and you’ll feel a stronger bond in the relationship.
So next time you’re in search of a significant other, consider who she pushes you to be rather than how comfortable she makes you feel.