How To Stay True To Yourself In A Relationship

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Written by: Lindsay Sibson

There he was… a tall, dark and handsome man looking like a model as his head stood out above the crowd at a bar in Sicily, Italy.

I couldn’t help myself or control my actions and the next thing I knew our eyes locked, my hand raised and I pointed in his direction. Without even a SECOND thought I was motioning him to come over to me.

As I stood before him in my only “nice shirt” I traveled with, I was in awe of his beauty, height, accent and charm.

Instantly captivated.

Do you know what I mean? Have you ever met someone and thought, “THAT is my person. I need to know everything about them.”

We spent a whirlwind 5 days touring around the coast of Sicily, taking motorcycle rides, vespa rides, dining in pizzerias, eating gelato… damn… I’m talking straight out of a romance novel type of stuff.

But then I was gone.

You see, I forgot to mention that I am a backpacker from the U.S.A. – and I am on a mission to not only see Europe, but to also explore all areas of the world.

He on the other hand, comes from a small traditional Italian village where “everybody knows everybody,” is working for the family business, has a tight knit group of friends and family and is absolutely happy with his “little life” (as he refers to it).

“I can’t come to the U.S.A.,” he said – then he came for 3 months and we traveled cross country together.

“I won’t come back to Sicily again,” I claimed – then I went back and lived with him for 2 months.

Sometimes there is something FAR greater than you that is guiding you into your “next step.”

One thing I have faced in this relationship is being true to myself, given my partner has a different upbringing, culture, lifestyle, life experience, mother tongue (language) and mindset than I  do.

Here is what I learned about staying TRUE to yourself in a relationship:

Have A VISION

Do YOU know what you want? If you can’t answer this question then you have a little work to do – and luckily all it takes is taking some time to sit and THINK about what you see for yourself in your life.

Questions to ask yourself are:

  • What kind of person do I want to be?
  • What am I curious about?
  • What do I find myself thinking about often?
  • What do I want to learn?

Once you set out to fill your vision, it may change from time to time… and THAT IS OKAY! Be flexible enough to listen to your desires and follow your curiosity.

Communicate

  • “Say what you mean and mean what you say” – don’t dance around important conversations if they are needed to clarify or solidify your relationship.
    • Speak clearly and precisely.
  • It’s impossible to take words back once they leave your lips – if you aren’t sure how you feel or what to say, RESPECT your partner by telling them you need a moment to gather your thoughts.
  • “Be intentional with your words”:

Confidence

  • Be PROUD of who you are and embrace the unique qualities you bring to the relationship.
    • Yes, your partner should make you feel great about yourself with his/her words and actions… BUT ultimately this “job” is yours.
  • Take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally.

Independence

  • Having confidence and faith in your partner is crucial (but you know this already).
  • You MUST be able to:
    • Believe that your partner is speaking the truth.
    • Display to each other a sense of reliability.
  • If there is a confrontation, be true to yourself by telling the truth from the first moment.
    • Even little lies can cause great anxiety in a relationship.
  • Watch this 5 minute video to hear John Gottman speak  about the importance of trust:

Independence

  • To maintain your true self there has to be a sense of independence in both you and your partner. It is GREAT to do things together, but alone time is also necessary to do activities that bring you personal joy.
    • Schedule time alone for each other to pursue personal interests.

Happiness

  • Happiness is an inside job and something you need to master on your OWN.
    • It’s NOT your partner’s job to “make you happy…” you need to figure that sh*t out yourself and know how to make yourself happy first.
  • Like attracts like, which means happy energy attracts happy energy.
    • Do the inner work to figure out WHAT brings you happiness and you will attract a partner that will recognize this and CONTRIBUTE to your happiness.

So where are we now (the handsome Italian and I)?

I stayed true to myself and was honest with him from the time we first met that I am on a mission to travel… therefore, NOW I am backpacking Southeast Asia and he is at home in Italy. We aren’t hung up on “figuring out” every detail of our future right now, but rather each enjoying the moment we are currently in.

But yes, of course I miss the heck out of him and wish he could be here with me! But for the time being, I am happy being a “table for 1” in Thailand.

Do you have a TIP or INSIGHT to add? Please SHARE in the comments below!

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Lindsay Sibson

Lindsay Sibson

Lindsay Sibson turned her lifelong dream of traveling the world into a reality when she first stepped on a plan in April of 2014. With the simple intention of learning more about this beautiful world, she stepped away from corporate America to explore an alternative lifestyle of long term international travel, volunteering, blogging and pursuing a blissfully happy and fulfilling way of life.

Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life. Connect with her on her website and follow her travels on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/_traveloholic_).

Through her blog, Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life.
Lindsay Sibson

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