When was the last time you brought your authentic self to a relationship? The one who wholeheartedly embraced every challenge, missed step, quirk, and moment of unknowingness?

When was the last time you let people see you for the unique and beautiful combination of fear, sadness, love, hope, confusion, forgiveness, and joy that you have to offer as a real, breathing human being?

When was the last time you allowed yourself to be vulnerable? Bringing everything you have to the table, so to speak.

Often, when we’ve been out of a relationship for a while, or have seen challenges in a relationship, we forget the pure pleasure of simply being ourselves when we’re with people and experiencing together the powerful connection of shared authenticity.

Whether it’s a relationship with a lover, child, mother, brother, sister, friend, or coworker, we sometimes need to remind ourselves that being in a relationship means that we are equally the giving party, and we do a disservice to others when we offer anything less than 100% of who we are at our core.

Relationships, by nature, should be partnerships that provide incredible opportunities for two people to learn from each other, heal because of each other, and grow with each other.

How do we be of service to our relationship partners on their journey through life?

We show up as the unique and brilliant version of ourselves that we know as our truth, and we willingly share ourselves in order to be of benefit in the world. We stand as ourselves, willing to be contradicted and misunderstood. We show up ready to explain ourselves and gently offer our point of view. We admit when we have made a mistake, and we forgive others when they have made theirs. We engage in a mutually-beneficial merging of sprits, where two people acknowledge that they don’t always know it all but they will always try to be better people.

Each of us has something special to add to life’s mix, and it’s time that we start being honest with ourselves and others about what we have to offer.

If you want to find yourself in a perfect relationship, first, redefine the word perfect as two people being perfectly themselves. Then begin to love the feeling of open, raw, naked communication. The kind of communication that leaves you feeling unbearably exposed for a moment, but so incredibly at peace afterward, because you’re finally free to just live.

So, let me ask you. How are you showing up in your relationships? Are you ready to live from your heart, and let others know and love what they see? What are you willing to bring to the world, and how will you remain true to yourself in the face of diversity of thought, opinion, and belief?

Curt Canada coaches relationships and careers in Glover Park DC at Adapting2change.

Adapting2change is a DC Chamber of Commerce Member