For a long time in my life, I thought about a person through an atomistic paradigm. One in which something can be understood in isolation, regardless of the context. I felt that I should have been able to identify who I was, no matter the circumstances. That I should have been the same in every situation.
But I wasn’t. My behaviours were different depending on where I was and who I was with.
I remember asking myself “who’s the real me?”
Because I was unable to find an answer, I was confused and insecure.
The fact is that I was always the real me, I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that my behaviours were so inconsistent.
It took me years to realise that something can only be understood within a particular context.
In his book Principles of Topological Psychology, published in 1936, psychologist Kurt Lewin defined a simple yet powerful equation.
Behaviour is a function of the Person in their Environment, or B = f (P,E).
My behaviours are informed by both my identity and the environment in which I am. Which one has more influence in a specific situation? It depends on how much I’m centred in my own identity.