Me: I started college in 2009
Her: I thought you were just a kid!
Me: How come? I’m a big boy now.
Her: Not yet a man.
It didn’t feel good being judged for something I’m insecure about. I don’t mind revealing my age. My ‘babyface’ is the issue. I fear her ghosting me or saying “see ya!” at any moment. But since I’m taking this romantic opportunity seriously, there’s no reason to hide any parts of myself.
Most of us avoid the risk of losing someone by covering up our undesirable traits. It’s especially true for women, as they’re usually uncomfortable sharing things about them that might chase a guy off. Hence, they work hard to become everything that a man would want. But at some point, it’s necessary to let their hair down, figuratively and literally.
I thought about giving her a disclaimer beforehand
My ‘childface’ is only one of my many insecurities. I’ve considered warning her about all of my flaws to lower her expectations of me, so she won’t drop me an instant after discovering my dirty laundry. But then, what does that say about me? I’m ashamed of the way I am, so please don’t get your hopes up too high. No, that doesn’t seem like a viable alternative either.
I learned that the key is to let it be. Without transparency in dating, we’ll constantly watch over our shoulders, self-conscious about them finding out that we aren’t the person we claimed to be. Relationships that require hiding and ducking imply that there simply isn’t enough interest. If they really like us, they’ll tolerate our shortcomings.
So no, I decided not to share my list of vulnerable secrets. But I also won’t lie about them.
The sooner we show them who we really are, the quicker we know if they like us
Shortly after my ex-girlfriend and I became official, I had a hair transplant surgery. If I wasn’t wearing a hat outside, I wrapped my head with a bandana indoors. I kept it on throughout our vacations, even when sleeping. I trusted that she wouldn’t judge me for my bald head, yet I wanted to retain a Mr. Perfect image in her eyes. Thinking back now, what a mistake that was.
If we want to know how much someone likes us, be forward with them. As Marilyn Monroe would say, “if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” Let’s find out how they’ll react to a lesser version of ourselves.
Many of us restrain from talking and acting the way we do in private. We dismiss our beliefs for the sake of being agreeable. We exaggerate our accolades and downplay our mistakes. Our partner knows all of our highlights but none of our pitfalls. They know everything we want them to know. They just don’t know the real you. But this type of relationship has no value, given that it would even last.
Opening up to a stranger or someone we have yet to feel safe with requires self-esteem and courage
Losing someone can feel like it’s our fault, that there’s something inherently wrong with us, and it must be fixed before we deserve love. This unease towards our own imperfections is exactly why we push people away. Unless we embrace our lesser parts first, nobody else will.
If we don’t take a chance to show the other person 100% of who we are, we’re leading them to love someone we’re not. In the long run, we either get exposed or lose our authentic self to the relationship.
Besides a healthy dose of self-esteem, relationships also require courage. Intimacy with another human being comes with a lot of vulnerability and hurt. We get nowhere by dodging the inevitable. However, if we show up with honesty and acceptance of ourselves, the person we’re dating will be left with one of two choices: love us or leave us. It’s that simple.
Hiding is less about our partner but more about ourselves
Why is looking too young even a flaw? I realized that the issue isn’t my ‘babyface’ but the fact that I’m not okay with it. Actually, it should be an advantage. I stand out.
Self-acceptance doesn’t mean lying down. Being self-content doesn’t equate to accepting mediocrity. In fact, it’s when we’re honest about who we are at the moment that we’re able to realistically assess ourselves and move forward. Otherwise, we’re stuck believing we’re more capable than we truly are. Many people have more than us and are more popular than us, and that’s okay. There’s no need to be them. Imperfections aren’t defects. But an integral component of our identity.
“This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections. “
So what are you afraid of your partner knowing about you? Do you believe that they’ll leave you once you’re exposed? The better question is, are they worthy of your love if they can’t fully embrace your entire being?
Previously published on medium
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