A deeper exploration at who we are when in relationship, the tools and skills that can improve not just the relationships, but who we are within them. This is the look at interpersonal relationships, not group relationships, which comes later.
We are all different when we are with others than when we are alone. Many people have likened this to Halloween masks that we wear. This mask for the office, this mask at play with close friends, this mask when meeting people for the first time, and of course the one we wear for the person who is most significant in our life.
Each one has it’s own thickness, and different features even if they all resemble our likeness. Masks are a good imagery representation of our boundaries. Our boundaries are about being emotionally, mentally and physically safe. Safety means something different to different people, but our safety with our Self is complete. Even when we try to hide things or ignore things about our Self, it is still there and we are still aware on some level. The only way to build the life that makes you truly happy, is to look at everything that makes us who we are, the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. Actively choose what we are going to keep and what we are going to change. Keeping some of the ugly will be necessary.
Nothing shows us this better than when we are in relationship.
Not judging the parts as good or bad, just useful/not useful will be very important. We need those ugly parts. We need to know how to protect ourselves from those who would hurt us deliberately. We need to be able to manage the social requirements. Even the expected white lies to maintain face or appearances or expectations within different groups.
We each have our own ways of being with others. there are no right or wrong ways for comfort, but transparency is required for good matches.