Since I became known as the “Heartbreak Hypnotist” on Q100’s The Bert Show back in 2012, I’ve seen clients on a regular basis seeking help with matters of the heart.

Some are looking to get over a tough breakup. Some are trying to work through a divorce. Some are trying to find their ideal mate.

In my efforts to help people in all of these situations, The Truth is always the answer. I capitalize it because the concept deserves such reverence.

When it comes to dating, my clients have told me many stories about how hard it is to be honest, especially right up front. It seems a popular strategy is to attempt to hide or conceal our perceived flaws and imperfections as long as possible, with the (unrealistic) hope that if they find our dirty little secrets later on, they’ll be less likely to reject us for them.

Yeah… that doesn’t tend to work out so well. In fact, it often ends up producing significantly more pain and suffering for both parties.

Holding back on your true thoughts, feelings, opinions and personal history not only creates a distorted image in the eyes of your date (or partner), it could artificially delay an inevitable breakup that results in greater feelings of heartbreak and regret, while of course wasting both individuals’ time in the process.

The longer you’re with someone, the more your irrational (subconscious) mind develops emotional attachments to them. The feeling of being in love intensifies and solidifies as time passes by and partners share more experiences together.

So if you know there’s a huge red flag, or something about your personal history, morals, principles, religious or political beliefs that could be a problem for your partner, you do yourself a tremendous disservice by pretending the problem doesn’t exist.

In short, it’s only going to hurt more later.

The best recipe for success in dating that will produce the least amount of suffering and time wasted is to be your true self right from the start.

Just tell The Truth.

That’s right, beginning with your very first interaction – whether in your online profile, cocktail party chit chat, on on your official first date – be honest with yourself and the other person about who you are and what you want.

Sounds scary, right!?

Relax. There’s a secret formula that allows you to choose this path while avoiding unnecessary feelings of panic and distress. That formula involves knowing and liking yourself.

It goes something like this: you know who you are (flaws and all). Because you are who you are for a reason (I hope!), there are things about you that your ideal partner will like. No matter how strange or off-center you think you are, there’s someone else out there who’s a perfect fit for you. So if the person you are dating rejects you for who you are, they are not your ideal mate! If they accept you for who you are, they just might be!

Too simple?

Here’s the truth. It’s waaaaayyyy easier to be yourself than it is to try to be some modified, edited, artificial version of yourself you think or hope others will like (or desire). Being yourself requires no special planning. It requires no guessing as to what your partner/date wants to hear. It requires only that you speak your mind (I always recommend doing this “with respect for others” to avoid being rude). In short, being honest produces less anxiety and stress.

This strategy also has the effect of eliminating bad fits more quickly and efficiently. Rather than wasting weeks or months with someone who isn’t interested in having children (assuming you are), you make it clear right up front and find out right away. I can’t tell you how many of my clients reported prolonging their own misery over a doomed relationship by keeping it afloat by holding back on a deal-breaker like that… just so they’d have some companionship a bit longer.

And that’s the real thing for some people, isn’t it? The desire for companionship – even if it’s superficial, artificial or devoid of a future – often produces the incentive to just pretend these problems don’t exist and enjoy the moment.

While I’m a big fan of seizing the day, you have to remember that the choices you make today have consequences tomorrow. If those consequences outweigh the benefits, it’s worth re-thinking that strategy.

If your goal is to find someone who loves you for who you really are, you’re depriving yourself of meeting them by being anything but your true self – right from the start. The more time you spend with Mr. Wrong, the longer you miss out on Mr. Right.

Whether your date or partner accepts you or rejects you, the response you get from being honest, while not necessarily the one you want, is always the one you need.

That honest feedback will always let you know if the other person may be right for you, while doing them the same courtesy.

Now, for those of you who don’t like yourself… or think you should but find it difficult to do so… well, that’s my specialty. Some hypnosis with an experienced and skilled therapist can help you to change your self-perception and develop a healthy level of self-esteem as well.

After all, how could you expect anyone to love or accept you if you don’t afford yourself the same courtesy?