No matter how you slice it, most relationship advice boils down to some version of changing yourself for a relationship.
“She won’t love you if you …” “Women aren’t attracted to guys who …” “If you want her to stay with you, you better stop doing …”
Today, we’re gonna explore that kind of thinking. We’re going to find the kernels of truth hidden in this kind of advice … but mostly, we’re going to shit all over this line of thinking.
Stop Changing Yourself To Please Other People
While this one might not be the key to life, it certainly is a key: You do you.
One of the worst forms of reasoning you can have is, “Well, I’m not getting what I want. There must be something wrong with me.”
This whole philosophy is wrong. If you focus on changing yourself for a relationship, you cease to become yourself. You become a damn puppet.
Sure, you’d be finely attuned to other people’s needs, but no longer attuned to your own. At the end of the day, you gotta be true to yourself first. Always.
Instead of your first instinct being, “How can I change?” think, “How can I change this situation?”
Beyond the inner-struggle you create, it’s also a hell of a lot less attractive to make yourself into a picture of obedience. Stand on your own two feet.
People won’t like everything about you, but at least they’ll respect you. If you conform to their wishes, they might like your individual behaviors more, but they’ll like the whole less. They’ll respect you less.
Changing Yourself For A Relationship: What You Shouldn’t Do
When it comes to relationships, there are certain things that you should never, ever change to appease the person you’re with.
Lowering your standards: If you have to reassess your standards when you’re in a relationship, that’s a terrible sign. Don’t accept less than you deserve, and don’t be with someone who wants you to be happy with less.
Your values: This one is key. You are who you are. That’s what makes you an individual. If you have to change or hide what you really believe, your relationship is doomed.
Unless you have an epiphany on your own and truly change your thinking, your beliefs will never really change. It will grind on you and either make you into a shitty person or lead to a total breakdown later on. Don’t ever, ever do it.
Your priorities: Does she have different plans for you than you have for yourself? Red damn flag. You need to find someone who wants you to achieve your dreams, not someone who has dreams of their own that you need to achieve.
Just play this one out a little bit. Five years down the road, 10 years. You’ll never forgive yourself for giving up on the things you wanted.
Your sense of self: Do your opinions get lost when you’re with her? Do you feel like she thinks of you in a totally different way than you think about yourself?
Be very careful because as time goes on, you’re bound to gravitate naturally to her views, even just a little bit. The key? Find someone who likes you for exactly what you really are. It will help ensure that you stay true to your identity.
Exceptions: Things That Are OK To Change
Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. I spent this entire article talking about never changing, and now I’m gonna talk about things that are OK to change.
Deal with it, I’m unpredictable.
Life isn’t about being a dictator. I would hate for you to go off the deep end the second she asks you to change anything about yourself. Not all change infringes on your values or identity.
Here are some things that you might wanna be open to changing if they come up:
Annoying habits: Look, we all have them. Maybe you leave the toilet seat up, and your girl just got a butt-full of toilet water when she sat down without checking. F*ck that, I’m with her on that one. When she asks you to change that habit, just do it. It’s not infringing on your independence. It’s just part of sharing your life with someone.
Your arguing style: If you haven’t been in too many long-term relationships before, know this: If you want to be with someone for a long time, saying mean shit makes it harder to move on.
Perhaps you’re used to arguing “street brawl” style, where you just say whatever you can to win. That was awesome when your older brother was picking on you, but in a relationship, that can be hurtful.
Be open to developing a more diplomatic style of arguing, where you refrain from using that sick burn about her parents — even if it would have been epic. Again, this probably isn’t a core value of yours, and it’s for the good of both of you.
Bottom line, if you’re willing to change anything about yourself to please someone else, you’re missing the point of a relationship. You want to make someone happy, sure, but you also want to make yourself happy.
When you’re confronted by the opportunity to change, take it seriously — and never change what makes you, well, you.