r5If you are one of many who have “created” and “developed” an un-true image of themselves, it is likely that you will have problems establishing an honest and long-lasting intimate relationship.

Let me explain: there are many who, for one reason or another, being driven by one need or another (need for love; for appreciation; for acceptance, etc.) pretend to be not who they really are. They have put a mask on themselves, attempting to project – to themselves and to others – someone who they are not. As they perfect this image they develop for themselves, they come to the point that they themselves can’t differentiate anymore between the “real them” and the image they have created for themselves.

Let me give you an example: Jim has a low self-esteem; he feels less competitive than others and unsuccessful relative to others. And, to add to it, he feels he is not worth – as long as he doesn’t have a partner and a relationship.

But – and here comes the hardest point – Jim feels that no one will truly love him for who he is. After all, who might be interested to develop a relationship with an unsuccessful person, who is insecure, who will be clinging to his partner like a branch to a tree?

So what does Jim do to camouflage this situation, to present himself as someone different, as someone who is not him, as someone who might attract a little bit more attention from others? You

What Jim did – consciously or unconsciously – was to create an image of himself as a person who is all-love, totally-giving and caring for others; a person who is there 100% for others, willing to give to others (especially his partners!) as much love as well as financial support if need be. To say it simple: Jim has put a mask on his face of a person who is, to say it simply: “the perfect partner”!

Are you also one who puts a mask on your face in order to get love and attention?

The funny side of this story is, that if you – just like Jim – develop such an image of yourself, you begin to forget who you really are. You walk around, meeting people, making friends and developing partnerships, as if you are indeed this perfect partner.

Initially you are successful: those around you see you as the person you present yourself to be, not the person that you really are. They see you as the all-loving, caring person, not the insecure, needy one that you really are.

Hence – you have reached your goal!

Or have you? Since, in the long run, as you get involved in serious intimate relationship, the “real you” pops up, comes out, surfaces, and your partner begins to see the real you.

Your partner might then feel cheated; disappointed; surprised; disbelieving: are you the person he/she has begun going out with? And after some time, as your partner begins to realize that you are a walking mask, he/she might get angry (at both you and him/herself for letting him/herself be cheated!), and with all probability will cut off the relationship.

Why don’t you “get to your senses”, decide to shed off your mask and be “who you really are”?

* First, you have become so accustomed to your mask that you feel it has become you. You are your mask.

* Second, you are scared to death that without your mask you will project to others the exact personality you are trying to run away from: the insecure; needy; unsuccessful; etc.

*Third, you have by now developed your ways of behaviour – your mask’s ways of behaviour! – to such an extent, that they have become your patterns, your habitual ways of presenting yourself to the world, to the point that it is almost impossible for you to change!

So when one relationship ends you immediately begin looking for a new partner, telling yourself that, by some “mysterious” ways your destiny is one of being unsuccessful with relationship; of being one who is always being left; one which is always disillusioned with relationships. Oh well, you tell yourself, “is there anything I can do to change such predetermined destination?”

But believing in predetermined destination, and not wanting to take the blame on yourself, you don’t make any attempt to change.

And this is a common reaction: in general, people usually don’t change, in spite of encountering repeated failures. They blame others; they blame destination; they negate thinking they have done anything wrong.

… and they keep going, keep striving to succeed, finally, finding a good, healthy, long-lasting relationship…

… only to fail once more.

How can you stop the unproductive cycle and make a change for the better

It is only when:

* you are willing to carefully consider your part in the continuous failure of your relationships;

* that you get up the courage to observe yourself and understand what has motivated and driven you to put on a mask;

* that you want to understand – once and for all – what needs and issues drive your endless unsuccessful attempts at relationships –

that you might embark on a productive and efficient way to make a positive change in the way you handle yourself and in the way you project yourself to yourself and to others around you.

This process of getting to know “who you really are”, accepting yourself (without a mask!) and getting to understand the issues which have driven you until now to sabotage your relationships is called Self-Awareness. This is the single most important process you can embark on if you truly wish to get in touch with “who you really are”, with your issues and needs, with your escape routes and damaging behavioural patterns and embark on empowering yourself to finally find a partner with whom you’ll be able to develop a healthy, mutual, loving relationship.

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