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Feeling authentic in a relationship comes from being able to be your best self, not your actual self

08 March 2017

Psychological studies seem to show that authenticity in a relationship arises from the belief that we can be our ideal selves.

Feeling authentic in a relationship – that is, feeling like you are able to be yourself, rather than acting out of character – is healthy, not just for the relationship, but for your wellbeing in general.

Dig a little deeper, however, and things become slightly more complicated, because there are different ways to define who you "really" are.

For a paper in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers asked members of the public whether they felt that the ability to be your "actual" self in a relationship was more important than being your "ideal" self, with some 70% of respondents agreeing.

Psychological research on the subject seems to disagree with the folk wisdom, with researchers across several studies finding evidence for the opposite - that is, feelings of authenticity in a relationship seem to arise not from being our actual selves in the relationship, but from feeling that we can be our best or ideal self. 

Read more on our Research Digest blog.


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