I’ve been reflecting of late on the way that our perception changes when we are with different people. Seeing the world through the eyes of a young child, for example, is a contrast to viewing it through the eyes of an adult. What seems normal in a workplace is different to what seems usual in family time.
We sometimes think of ourselves as an unchanging, fixed being. We imagine we are entirely the same and consistent no matter where we are or who we are with. It’s just not the case. We adapt continuously, depending on our environment, who is with us, our levels of comfort, and our context and the meaning we are making from it.
Me the partner is not the same as me the psychotherapist, or me the mother, or me the daughter, or me the friend. Different people offer different things, and bring out varying aspects of my way of being. So long as there is a coherence and a continuity to our sense of self as we morph and flex in this way, this is healthy and desirable.
The knowledge that you are adaptable and continually changing is also useful. In those moments where you despair or find yourself wanting, it's good to notice that you already have so much flexibility and choice, and that you make good decisions most of the time. Translating your skills and competence across from a context in which you feel resourceful into one where you feel more vulnerable or unsafe can help you to make good choices more of the time, and to build your confidence and self-esteem.
If you find yourself stuck in repeating patterns you want to change in important contexts of your life, psychotherapy may help. Why not check out the UKCP directory and find a practitioner that feels resonant to you?