Don’t be Yourself.

I was driving home from work a few years ago when I got a call from one of my favorite Aunts. She wanted to set me up with a guy whom she was very impressed with. He was a strong but gentle soul and so she figured that if I was to make this work out in the way she’d envisioned, I’d need to tone down…me.

She casually requested it as she was telling me what time dinner was,

“Be here at six, bring a salad, and don’t be yourself.”

Normally I’d fight back (or at least suggest she’s nuts) but I was tired. It had been a long few months of fruitless dating and quite frankly a part of me wondered if she was right. If I was the reason I was single, maybe I shouldn’t be…me.

I arrived at six, salad in tow, and met the gentle soul whom I would go out with several more times. He was kind but didn’t really stoke much interest in me but I pushed through in an effort to appease my Aunt. Here’s the thing, this guy was not some loser. He had his own business, made grundles of money, had an impressive resume that included the architecture of famous landmarks, and he was tall , muscley and handsome. Boring, right?

Obviously he wasn’t the problem. The problem was me… again.

The answer to my problem was embedded in my Aunt’s request that included this explanation,

“You’re so strong and impressive, Meesh, I bet you can be intimidating to men. So just don’t be yourself with this guy.”

How many of you cringe at being called INTIMIDATING? For me it was like a broken record. I was further in my career than most guys my age, had a lot of disposable income, traveled for fun and for work, had lots of friends, etc etc.

Thus it could be construed that I was intimidating.

Honestly, though, that wasn’t really what made me intimidating. My awesomeness wasn’t the problem, the problem was how I used it. Sometimes as a single gal, life got taxing, and I got to wondering the age old question, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I still single?” After a while of wondering I’d either come up / create reasons for my single state or I’d get defensive and list all the reasons I was great and how anyone would be lucky to be with me.

It was THAT defensiveness that made me intimidating.

Being awesome wasn’t what my Aunt wanted me to leave at home, it was my defensive awesomeness that needed to PROVE I was ok even though I was still single. What she could see that I couldn’t was that I felt insecure with my single state and purposely intimidated others.

I don’t think I’m the only one who has ever done this, but why do we do it?

I think it’s to keep people away from a very tender part of us that wonders if we are truly loveable. A part that wonders if there’s something wrong with us and that’s why we’re not claimed.

Let’s be clear on something – most people WANT an awesome person. They want that impressive resume with all the bells and whistles, but they want a real person too.

That’s one of the first ways I knew my husband was right for me – I couldn’t intimidate him with my usual display. He saw through it and knew there was a real woman underneath all my bravado. He appreciated my education and experiences but he loved me.

So the next time you’re called intimidating maybe practice not being yourself too. Be awesome – just not defensively awesome.