A concept I find confusing is the invitation to be myself.
Sure, I cannot be someone else.
But being myself doesn’t seem possible either. At least not without some knowledge of the situation or the context within which I am supposed to be myself.
It is natural to adapt to the situation in which we are. If I’m leading a training I have a different role than when I am participating in one. When I facilitate a meeting my role is a different one than when I’m active as a coach. The professional roles ask different things from me than the private roles.
In all of these roles, I will interact with my personality, my history, the skills and organization I need for that role as well as the culture I associate with this role.
With personality, I mean genetics as well as details like the way a person perceives the world, motivates herself, wants to be appreciated and what the person seeks to achieve in life.
The history of a person shapes their experience and learning. They use it to know how to react in different situations. It also teaches them the strategies to use when seeking to achieve results. Based on their history they’ll have an image of themselves and see their own potential.
Culture is what surrounds us at any given moment. The norms and values which are commonly accepted in our environment. It allows us to assess if we can belong to a group or not.
The skills and organization I have will not only determine the role I can take up but even more so, how I take it up.
The combination of these four elements is the source of a dynamic we use to adapt to a variety of situations. While all four elements will be available in a given situation, we won’t be able to use all of it at the same time as no situation can use that much information. there rarely is a perfect match for any of them. We feel at home when we can use our skills, recognize the culture at that moment, find memories in our history which explain what is happening and for example when the way we motivate ourselves is accessible in that situation. Our uncertainty grows when one of these elements doesn’t match well enough.
This also means, that our behavior depends on the situation. We use different resources and choose the self we can show at that moment.
Seeking oneself seems to be a choice leading into confrontation as it needs a world that adapts to it.
Moving into the self that allows us to feel at our best in a given situation is based on our flexibility to adapt.