How we think we are sometimes differs from how other people think we are.
I’ll give you a client example from many years ago.
This young man came to see me and he was deeply depressed and upset. He felt that the world was very hostile towards him.
He couldn’t understand this because, he said, he was a loving, caring, and joyous person. He would never hurt a fly. Why was the world so aggressive towards him?
There seemed to be a radical disconnect between how he saw himself and how the world saw him.
My experience of him in our initial metings was telling. This young man did not stop talking, to the point of my finding it hard to get a word in. He spoke very loudly. He dominated spaces with his body and his voice. Frankly, at times, I was aware of feeling squished.
Although he was indeed a very caring and loving person, he had a huge blindspot about how the world experienced him. The world often got pissed off with him. He had even been physically attacked in public spaces – at bus stops, tube carriages, and sandwich shops.
We cannot be who we are without being relational. If we are blind to how other people experience us (and different people might experience us in different ways), we are operating at well below the best that we can be.