Essays,  How to be a friend quotes,  Marc & Angel Chernoff,  relationships

How to be yourself

Photo by Cindy La Ferle

“Whenever you choose to pull back, say less, or restrain your magnificence to survive in a relationship, this spells trouble. The next opportunity you have to spend time with this person, ask yourself: Will I have to shrink to make this work, or is this a situation where I can grow?” ~Marc Chernoff

Today’s quote got me thinking about being authentic in our relationships. Of course, there’s a huge difference between being brutally honest and expressing our truth with tact and diplomacy. 

But how often do we refrain from saying what we really think in order to keep the peace — or to ensure that others will like us? How often do we give in to those who take vicious delight in challenging us? How often do we underplay our own accomplishments to keep from overshadowing someone else? How often do we stifle our opinions or stoop to make other people feel taller? 

How much time do we spend with people who talk nonstop about themselves and rarely express interest in us? And why would we give others permission to make us feel less than who we are?

As Chernoff’s quote suggests, there’s something “off” in a relationship that makes us feel judged or restrained. We’re wise to seek out the company of people who are so comfortable in their own skin that they make us feel equally comfortable in ours. ~CL

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

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