Don’t Be Yourself

c896a7e82c9b8f0c0817c845bea7ea9fThere are few pieces of relationship advice more annoying than “be yourself.” Along with “follow your heart,” it seems to be the slogan of my generation. Maybe we’ve watched too many Disney movies and romantic comedies. Maybe we truly think we deserve to be loved by everyone as long as we’re staying true to our every emotion and whim. Whatever the reason, the belief is that it’s always best to do what you want, and be exactly who you are at the moment.

I say that’s lazy. And, it’s extremely self-absorbed. And very unchristian.

It’s lazy because it assumes that people in a relationship shouldn’t have to change their behavior at all to make a relationship work. But successful relationships are built on change. They’re built on sacrifice, on compromise. Time spent in the company of another person is going to change your self. It might mean you have to learn to say nice things to them that you didn’t used to say to people before. It might mean becoming a person who talks less and listens more.

Something I’ve noticed in myself and in my sister is that we’re more inspired to be better people when we’re in relationships. It might be superficial, but the reality is that maintaining a healthy relationship where both partners are giving and receiving in some way makes you a more considerate person.

Besides, who wants to be themselves? If we’re Christians, then we believe what the Bible says about our sinful state. We know that there is nothing good in ourselves. So why would we want to be that?

The person we should be trying to be is Jesus, not ourselves. Whether or not we’re in a relationship, Jesus is who we should aspire to be. I know myself to be selfish, sinful, prideful, among countless other negative things. I don’t want to change that sometimes. But I should want to. I should want to be more like Jesus.

I don’t want to be myself. I want to be better.

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He’s Just Not that Into You

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So, he thinks you’re cute. He flirts with you every chance he gets. You two become the laugh factory whenever you’re together. Now your heart’s all aflutter, and daydreams of him consume your every waking moment, all boiling down to that one flattering thought.

He thinks I’m cute.

This is such an exciting time! You’re making your way into the dating scene, and someone seems interested. You feel a new confidence in roping him in with your charm. You’re happy to know that someone appreciates you in this way, and you make much of it in your innocent little heart.

Time goes on, and he hasn’t asked for your number yet. At most, he’s added you on Facebook, but there haven’t been any playful exchanges on the social media plane. But, not to worry. You know you’ll see him again soon, and flirting will resume as scheduled.

Now the stalking commences. Big mistake. He’s posted pictures left and right of him and his lady friends. They’re . . . having fun. All too aware of their cheeky grins. Cluttering up the hashtag space with inside jokes and pet names. There may even be some side-hugging involved. You feel righteous anger seep through your mind like blistering lava over peaceful country side. This is completely unacceptable! You’re supposed to be the one he finds cute! You begin to hate his stupid face, his stupid hair, his stupid smile, his stupid everything! Your picture of perfect bliss is eroding. Oh, everything’s wrong!

You assemble your wise council of gal pals and start retracing your steps. Surely there’s an explanation. Maybe he’s trying to get your attention. If so, this seems like a really inefficient way to do it. Why wouldn’t he just reach out and say something? Maybe he’s trying to make you jealous. But, what reason would he have to do that? It’s not like there’s some cutthroat competition for your favor going on (that you know of, anyway). As you muddle through the maybes, you slowly come to realize the ugly truth.

Maybe he’s just not that into you.

I mean, sure, you two have been flirting up a storm – but he hasn’t exactly moved heaven and earth to be with you. You don’t even have his phone number, for crying out loud. So why do you find yourself feeling so overwhelmingly discouraged? Because you got way too emotionally invested. You’ve created an image in your head of who you think he is. You’ve run away with your thoughts and made too much of it. You’ve set yourself up for disappointment.

You have to face the fact that if his interest in you is rivaled by his flirting with others, he’s just not that into you. If he’s not doing whatever he can to genuinely get to know you, he’s just not that into you. Sometimes when he says he thinks you’re cute, that’s all there really is to it. You’re not undesirable, but you’re not number one on his list of priorities, either. You’re only in the beginning stages of a potential dating relationship, should you choose to pursue this any further. If not, there will always be other chances. There’s no need for undying devotion just yet. Is that really such a bad thing?

You feel down for a little while, but you get your head back on straight soon enough. Your daydreams decrease significantly, and the idea that he’s just not that into you doesn’t seem as soul-crushing as it once did. You take a few steps back and find a newer, brighter confidence in yourself. There’s still so much that could happen. This winding road known as the dating scene is wide open before you, and you’ve learned not to get ahead of yourself. You take it slow from here on out.

He just thinks I’m cute, after all.