So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there.
— S.Chbosky/The Perks of Being A Wallflower.
They’ll hurt you and desert you,
They’ll take your soul if you let them,
Oh yeah, but don’t you let them.
–J. Taylor/You’ve Got A Friend
One of the things I have really wondered about over the last few years is how much control we have over who we become. There are a lot of things in life that are entirely out of our control. Maybe most things. Where we are born and raised. Who raises us. A loving or abusive upbringing.
A lot of the things we don’t have any control over have a huge impact in how we turn out. Does someone teach us to control our impulses? Does anyone read with us? Does someone teach us manners?
Then there is a certain core part of us that is us. The self, whatever that means. Two people with the same upbringing can turn out very differently. There are elements of the personality that we seem to be born with.
Eventually, we grow older and reach a point where we do have more control. We have choices.
Maybe our core self doesn’t change. Overall, I think our personality traits are often born practically the second we are. I have always been someone who ponders things. Some people are naturally spontaneous. Does that mean I can’t work on not overthinking everything or that I can’t be spontaneous? Of course not. We have a whole lot of choice about how we live, and even more choices when it comes to how we react to life. How we react to how people treat us, or to things that happen to us.
Do we assume the worst or have faith?
Do we let ourselves be consumed with anger and hate or do we try to steer ourselves in a different direction and become someone who reacts with empathy and compassion? That part, I am convinced, is a choice. Not always an easy one!
Here’s what I think:
It’s not about the answers. It’s about continuing to ask the questions. It’s about wondering if you like the person you are becoming every day. Asking what you can do to compensate for traits that you find less desirable. Trying things out.
Never stop wondering. Never stop asking “what if…”
Never stop becoming who you want to be. Accept that you will never be finished becoming you.
Always be a work in progress.