There’s a fine line between being your true self and being your best self. Often in relationships we strive for the former when considering our partners, while the later becomes more of a personal goal. Though according to a recent study from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and as noted in BPS Research Digest, when it comes to relationships it’s all about being your best self.
After asking members of the public what they felt was more important, researchers discovered that 70% felt that in a relationship being your “actual” self was more important than being your "ideal" self.
Researchers also queried volunteers about their relationships as well as their “true selves,” and “ideal selves.” Subjects were asked about which side of themselves they tend to put on display most. They then rated just how much they could be themselves versus how often they felt “artificial.”
As noted by Christian Jarrett of BPS: "In other words, at least when it comes to feelings of authenticity in a relationship, what seems to matter the most is not that we can be ourselves, but that we can behave as the kind of person we strive to be.” This concept actually correlates with the Michelangelo phenomenon.
“This is the finding that we tend to make more progress towards our ideal selves when our partner has the same traits that we aspire to have ourselves, through encouragement or acting by example. The name of the concept invokes the idea of our partners helping to reveal our ideal selves, like a sculptor gradually reveals the form of a statue. These new findings suggest that if you have a partner like this, not only will you make more progress toward the kind of person you’d like to be, but that you’ll also have stronger feelings of authenticity in that relationship.”
So basically, the next time you're starving while figuring out what to eat for dinner with an indecisive partner, don't be a jerk. If your true self is to become intolerably hangry, choose your the person you aspire to be. Calm down and check yourself, okay?