To be authentic or aspirational in relationships? (DW#976)

It seems obvious that we need to be comfortable around our loved ones, be vulnerable and show our true selves. When we are accepted and appreciated for who we are, we can thrive and focus on bigger things.
Of course, research confirms that the ability to be yourself and be understood by your loved one makes for a happy relationship. (as if we needed research to tell us that!)
HOWEVER, I have some interesting news for you.
According to a study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology, feeling like your most authentic self isn’t necessarily what makes the relationship feel authentic; instead, relationships are stronger and more satisfying when they encourage you feel and behave like the best, most aspirational version of who you can be.


Being our best selves around our family and at home is not just spiritual wisdom. It turns out that when we are intentional about being our best selves at home, we are happier for it.

In this study, participants were asked to describe their "true selves," their "ideal selves," and their relationships. In some cases, volunteers were also asked to contemplate how much they acted like either of these versions around their partner. The researchers found that people who said they behaved like their ideal selves with their significant other also rated the relationship as more "authentic" than those who (a) said they couldn’t be their ideal selves, or (b) said the relationship pushed them to be their true (not ideal) selves.

"In other words", the researchers concluded. "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".

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