Fitting in is very appealing. To be the person someone else wants you to be just so you can get what you want is an arguably easy route. But we have to remember that being yourself always trumps any other individual you’re pretending to be.

Whenever you feel the need to put on airs, remind yourself of how good you are “as is.” If you think about it, pretending to be someone you’re not goes beyond being fake; it’s downright deceitful. Behaving in a way that is unlike you will only breed resentment in the long run–not to mention requiring a whole lot of work.

I’ve come across quite a few people who lose themselves once they get into relationships. Their behavior goes well beyond that of compromise, and in fact, becomes a straight-up adaptation of their significant other’s life and being. They stop seeing their own families, dress in a manner that doesn’t reflect their personalities and essentially attempt to be the perfect mold of a mate they think their partner wants. Pretending to be someone you’re not actually does more harm than good. You not only rob yourself but you also rob your mate of an authentic, long-lasting connection because he or she is denied the privilege of knowing the real you to even fall for.

Those who feel the need to hide their true selves may be relaying signs of deeper issues with their self-esteem. In order to proudly be in a relationship, you must first be comfortable with yourself and know that someone will love you just the way you are meant to exist in the world. Compromise is necessary for a relationship to thrive, but it’s definitely a two-way street. Make sure you’re in a situation where both parties believe this to be true and are willing to commit to it.

Anything that puts pressure on you to not just bend but to break who you are as a person is plain wrong. Instead, opt for balance. As relationships progress, it’s natural to blend characteristics because you’re creating a new identity as a unit, to some extent. Each of you will bring unique contributions to the relationship, and they should be celebrated. I challenge you to continue to walk in your authenticity and to be comfortable enough to expect the right people to notice and appreciate what you have to offer.