This image is the background of my WhatsApp conversations. ‘Choose People Who Choose You’, in big, fat, bold letters. It’s a constant reminder to myself to be me.

It’s so easy to edit ourselves for the purpose of being liked. I guess it’s an implicit trait most of us have. We’re social beings, we need our herd, our tribe, to be safe and survive. So we need to be accepted, liked, or even loved.

I have witnessed it in myself so often. I would walk into a room, and straightly adapt my words, posture, and behavior to the people I’m with. To a certain degree that’s beautiful, as respecting a culture or family habits. But it’s different when it takes away from our feeling of Self. Of who we are.

How often, especially when romantic possibilities (I’m not even saying ‘feelings’ here) are involved, don’t we try to put forth our most amazing, and non-existent version?

We put on clothes we may never wear usually. And in conversations, we try to highlight our accomplishments, successes, achievements, amazingness. We hide the sides we think may scare the other. We don’t show our flaws or intense character traits.

Have you noticed how tired you are when you come home?

I know I have. And then there’s that lingering feeling of discomfort, of not truly feeling seen – because I never gave the person the chance to see me.

And it can get worse. We may cross our own boundaries, sometimes not even feeling them ahead, because we move along with the other.

‘Choose people who choose you.’

It reminds me that I want to be my full self with others. I want to be around people who accept me fully. Who love my quirks, my rough edges, my weirdness. Who appreciate my desires and respect my boundaries.

Relating in this way feels scarier. People could reject me. At the same time, it feels so spacious and relaxing. I don’t have to put all this energy in making an effort, in trying.

I allow myself to relax into who I am. And as a result, the people who choose me are amazing fits to who I am, and life just gets better.