If there is one drive that all humans have apart from their sexual drive, it must be the desire to look good. By looking good I don’t mean just visually but also intellectually. What constitutes looking good varies from person to person. The common denominator probably is avoiding not being good enough. In all these years of coaching people I have never come across a single person who deep inside truly thought that he is good enough. This, of course, applies to women too. Appearance is everything. What will others think about you? Do you come across as stupid, incompetent, not lovable, too old or too young, not sexy enough, not beautiful, rich, respected, well dressed enough? The list goes on. Pick your own reasons as to why and in which area you think you are not good enough. So now you may think what has that got to do with relationships. Maybe you already have an inkling.
But first let’s quickly summarize where this deep “knowing” of something being wrong with us comes from. It comes from our beliefs, which are mostly formed before our age of seven or so. Something kept happening and we interpreted it as if it was our fault, and if only we were somehow different that would not have been happening. Well, without our knowing it we could not have interpreted it any other way because up to that age we are very self-centered and we are not able to see the world as separate from us.
Then we become adults and forget about the source of the decisions we made when we were five and keep believing that that’s who we are — sad, but true. Now all the rest of our lives we try to compensate for our not being “good enough” by proving that we are, pretending, and trying to appear as good enough by doing everything to be attractive, loved, respected, accepted, approved of, etc. In other words, we are implementing our “survival strategy,” not being aware that we do not need one in the first place. The original conclusion, of which we forgot the source, was faulty and for the rest of our lives we are trying to correct a nonexistent wrong.
This is where the notion of love comes in. You cannot love anyone if you do not love yourself first, it is said. In other words, how can you satisfy one of the basic components in your relationship, i.e., to love your partner, if your focus is on looking good and pretending to be someone you are not, which is bound to come out in almost all the conversations and especially the ones where you are not in agreement with your partner.
So, now, start noticing when you are not being “you”, but someone who you think you “should” be. How often do you still try to meet someone else’s expectations (like your father’s or your mother’s)? How often you feel uncomfortable because you “must” look good. You see, the whole life is one big meditation, being aware where you pretend and by pretending you squander a chance of pleasure to be authentic, your true self. This is who your partner or spouse want you to be – just you. Don’t you?