Many of us grew up with misconceptions and misunderstandings that led to confusion and a lack of clarity concerning our values.
Our parents didn’t know better; they gave us the best they could.
They educated us with the tools that they knew, tools that they believed would make for success; the very same tools that their parents used with them. History repeats itself. They told us not to lie, to be honest and caring and that hard work pays. Their goal was for us to be part of a society in which they believed; they wanted us to be successful.
Parental education is a precious gift, one of selfless dedication in the best cases, and something for which to be grateful.
However, it was not necessarily the most efficient or accurate education. They taught us to conform to a society that had passed; they educated us to live in their world.
They also passed on to us their fears, traumas and shortcomings. They unconsciously passed the buck. Many people have to recover from childhood, no matter how loving their parents.
Our upbringing is greatly influenced by matrilineal teaching, in which the mother, grandmother, great grandmother and so on, teaches the newest generation the family’s values, mores, and folklore goes back to the beginning of time.
Very little has changed in the way that children were educated, and although some families are more liberal, and some are more totalitarian, people fall into the same familial patterns.
Part of the issue is a lack of knowledge and understanding of thehuman brain.
From birth until we are about 14 years old, but particularly till the age of 7 or 8, our brains are very impressionable. As infants, humans believe everything that they are told, and do not have a critical mind.
The brain at the time of birth is a clean slate that will have to be populated with ideas and opinions as the child develops. Children will start forming their own opinions at the age of 8, but the beliefs that were planted on their brains from the time of birth, may remain with them for their entire lifetime.
In the preverbal child, communication occurs through words, emotional tone, and actions. These important early impressions can remain as law in the ‘child mind’ for a lifetime and become the base of one’s own critical thinking skills’ foundation.
Infants and children use their elders as egos; believing whatever the elders say or do is the truth, and this trait remains until critical thinking develops. They perceive adults as authority figures that will give clues about feelings, thoughts, and survival techniques.
If one has supportive parents that freely offer praise one grows up to be confident. Inversely, if one’s parents push for better behaviors and actions, one may grow up to be a perfectionist. If a child is constantly told how disappointing, lonely, and sad life is, the child will perceive life as an empty, disappointing experience.
Previous generations of parents and educators had no idea about the brain’s inner workings, and they had little concern for children’s emotional and spiritual intelligence. It was understood that children learn more quickly than adults, and education was focused on practical knowledge. No concern was given to the development of emotional or spiritual intelligence, children were considered to either “have it or not”
Some people were born with a star, with charisma or with a cloud over their heads. Some people were judged to be “happy go lucky” or “jinxed”. But nobody is born that way. We are all a product of our environment, the family we were born in to and the teachers and peers we had. How our experiences developed and how we were encouraged or discouraged to go through life.
We may think that much of what we do is natural or intuitive, and some is, but much of what we “just know” comes from what we have seen others doing. From eating certain foods, to political and social opinions as well as religion and personal likes, all of is acquired knowledge, nurtured as opposed to natural or inherited. We may just think that we are “a nervous person” or “good at math”. There maybe some genetic background in all this, but scientists are finding out that much of our beliefs about the world and about ourselves are learned from others, and we spend a lifetime reinforcing those believes until they become our reality. Immovable truth. We also learn fear and anxiety, which again maybe useful, but in many cases we learn to just be afraid. What is fear any way? Is fear worth our time? Can we differentiate between being respectful and aware of danger, being cautious and being concerned, too concerned, to the point that we are afraid all the time?
As we are seeing we learn many useful things that help us live in this world. But we also learn a lot of bad habits, we learn about other’s traumas and misunderstandings, making them our own. We are led to believe that that is the way to live, the way to behave. As we don’t have a recollection of when we learned it or from whom, we turn learned opinions in to deep beliefs. This can be very distracting and damaging to relationships with ourselves and others.
We may not like some people just because our parents, teachers or childhood friends were wary of them, or because they were raised under circumstances that warranted ignorance about circumstances or groups of people.
What do we do with all this? How do we differentiate between what is really helpful to us and what is just boycotting and undermining our possibilities? Is all this saving us from danger or actually stopping us from being successful? Can we still aspire to have happy and fulfilling relationships?
Looking at our emotions helps.
Following our instincts may bring some light in to this chaos. Modern men and women are so out of touch with their bodies and their true selves, often assuming that their thoughts are Truth. In many instances Ideology, religion nationality, or majority rule has replaced individual thought.
We are constantly evolving and what was good yesterday may not be good today. Our environment has changed and we, as society, are developing through science and experience, we move forward. We are evolving in our society and our values, indeed, in the evolution of our minds.
We are coming to the awareness of how important it is to give children respect and a fair chance, to protect them and allow them to thrive. Children need to learn about love and awareness. There is no need to sacrifice practical living skills for the development of a child into a whole human being.
We are learning that stable, confident, loving people will be very successful in most areas of their life. This is evidence of the learning evolution.
But what do we do with all the beliefs that we have, that could be shortchanging us in life?
We can learn to forget. We can remember to forget and get over ourselves. Most of our deep-rooted beliefs are directly attached to our egos.
By personal experience I am learning that is mostly wrong to try to be right. Everyone is right in the sense that one can be right while otherswith a different opinion can be right as well.
The understanding that nothing is written in stone, that all is an opinion lead one to see things more clearly, finding deep truth in Self and Other.
Leniency, loving actions and compassion wins the day.