If you think you might be so good at hiding the “flawed” you that you forgot who the real you is, he
In coaching successful women who excel in their careers, communities and philanthropic efforts, all too often I find that despite these accomplishments, women have difficulty showing their true, authentic, multi-faceted and perfectly flawed selves-especially to their partner. Women tend to believe there is an expectation to be all things to all people-pleasing, perfect and pretty. They are conditioned to avoid drawing attention to their feelings. After years of layering on the perfect outward persona, many women feel fragile and fearful of allowing themselves to be vulnerable, even with their partner. Underneath this facade, women long to be to be “the old me” again. The new Meryl Streep movie “Hope Springs” is a beautiful illustration of the women’s dilemma-“Can I be myself and still be desirable to my partner?”
If you think you might be so good at hiding the “flawed” you that you forgot who the real you is, here are 7 signs that you are hiding the real you:
1) You never slow down. Even in your down time with your partner, you have a long to do list that makes intimacy impossible. The Plan: Keep busy, don’t look back and he won’t notice that I fail at things just like everybody else. FYI…this includes total dedication to your children’s schedule while neglecting yourself.
2) You divert attention. You do not accept compliments and credit your partner or family for your accomplishments. The Plan: If people don’t see what I do, they can’t judge me.
3) You create a false physical appearance to hide behind. There are two ends of this spectrum. The first is the hair extension, Botox injected, spanks wearing “airbrushed” version of your true self. The second is the frumpy dressing, no eye contact making, extra weight carrying disguise. The Plan: Hide behind my external appearance to protect me and avoid hurt and rejection.
4) You use food as your emotional outlet. Food can give you pleasure and stuff the pain. It can be the one time and place you allow you to be you. This is especially evident if you have a secret indulgence food that you only eat alone. The Plan: I’ll suppress my feelings and eat myself numb. Then everything will be ok. (The same applies to shopping, watching TV and even exercising to avoid feelings. This is likely due to low endorphin levels in your brain and is easily corrected with the right nutrients. Find out if low endorphin is making you turn to food for comfort.
5) You go with the flow. Even if you have a different political opinion or disagree with vacation plans, you avoid telling your partner exactly what you think. Apologies are second nature. The Plan: If I don’t say what I think, he can’t disagree with me. Tell tale sign-you walk into the other room to have a phone conversation with your girlfriend and keep a secret password to your phone and computer.
6) You use alcohol as permission to speak your mind. You find yourself repeatedly having a melt down when the two of you drink together. The Plan: If I go too far in expressing my feelings, I can always blame the alcohol in the morning. No harm done.
7) You change your daily routine, when he is out of town. His business trips and boy’s nights are your time to do the things you really want to do. The Plan: I can get by with being myself occasionally and he’ll never know the difference.
Before you go beating yourself up for any of these behaviors, understand that everything you do is for good reason, no matter how misguided. Your intention is to have a good relationship and make your partner happy, yet something feels like its missing and that something is you!
It is possible to come out of hiding and improve your relationship. Good relationships (and your well being) start in your head. Follow the steps below to harness your thoughts and your brain chemistry to be your sexiest, most confident, most interesting and attractive you yet. Be yourself again!
5 Steps For Coming Out of Hiding:
1) Determine what you really think and feel. Chances are you haven’t gone down this road for awhile. The most effective way to cut through the “shoulds” and get to the “desires” is to journal. Let the thoughts out without judging them. Try this FREE on line journal course “Thoughts That Make You Feel Good.”
2) Rule out brain chemical imbalance. Sounds technical and unlikely, but it is estimated that 80% of people in the US are low in serotonin and that is just one of the brain chemicals needed for emotional balance and to be clear about your own feelings. Gauge Your Emotional Balance.
3) Speak your truth. Tell your partner something that you have been holding in. Let him know that you are not expecting him to solve your problem or change his behavior. Explain that sharing your feelings makes you feel secure and sexy.
4) Act on your thoughts. Once you have uncovered what you think, there is likely something that you really want to do. Do it! The best way to build your self-validation muscle is to go for it! Chances are, your partner will be completely supportive of your dreams.
5) Encourage your partner to take these steps for himself. Women are not the only ones who get stuck on living up to expectations. There is probably something he’s been wanting to do or say, but doesn’t think you’ll approve. The mutual liberation can make your relationship safe, intimate, hot and steamy.
If you are still feeling a little selfish for considering these steps, keep this in mind. You are not doing this only for yourself. Coming out of hiding will benefit your partner and can even improve both of your health including disease prevention, weight loss and anti-aging. You are doing you both a favor!