Nature vs Nurture

Why is this important?

I got to talking with a friend of mine after wrapping up a photo session. For the first time, we discussed our particular health issues, treatment choices and just our overall daily struggles. It made me realize that so many women have some of the same worries about the impact of their youth on their adult life.

In my short thirty-something years, I can say with confidence that I have had some pretty bullshit hands dealt to me. I have had experiences that keep me up at night, now that I am a mother.

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            my inspiration

I spent the greater part of my adult life in this cycle of pity, self-destruction and an unhealthy obsession with success and proving everyone wrong. I made terrible decisions; thankfully this was before the ‘cloud’ reared its stupid head.

I really don’t like to dwell on the past anymore; it ruined me. It became this baggage that I literally carried around with me everyday. I was letting it weigh me down and I was letting it become my identity.

At my core, I believed that I would never be anything but that girl who was molested for years and whose mother threw her out like the trash when she was 15. The girl whose father took her in and kept her locked up like a bad secret.

Then life knocked at my door and made me face my reality. And as messy as it was, I did it. In return, I started making better decisions and started fucking sleeping better. In 2011, I started to slowly put the baggage down, piece by piece. It is 100% possible to change your own narrative.

Like anyone who has suffered, you struggle with the notion that history will repeat itself. That no matter what you do, you will become a product of your experiences.

I started to realize that I didn’t have to fight so hard to not become a product of childhood. That I would not become the mother I had or the shitty experiences I endured.

Nature Vs Nurture

Do you ever wonder why you are so different from your siblings? Or how you were able to overcome trauma that others could not? Or maybe you wonder why you do not relate well to your family?DSC_8302-S

Here’s what I know, and I am adding a reference for those who think I pull this shit out of my arrogant ass.

Researchers now believe that genes could have a stronger influence on temperament and personality than perviously thought. This is probably not a news flash, but the genes can influence such qualities such as optimism, depression and aggression. (Nelson, Erwin, & Duffy, 2007)

HOWEVER, “while a child inherits certain traits and tendencies through her genes, the story of how those traits develop has yet to be written,” explains Nelson, Erwin, & Duffy.

So what does this mean to me? We are a product of nature AND nurture. It means that we have genes that have been passed down through genetics that cannot be ignored AND our caregivers have to ability to help shape our personalities.

However, science has taught us that the human brain never stops growing and never loses the ability to form new connections and synapses (cells that join together in a network of connections). It gets more difficult with age, but change in attitudes and behaviors is always possible. Isn’t that a fantastic bit of information!

When have a lifetime of experiences to move past and taught behavior that doesn’t work for you, it can seem impossible. But the magic of the brain is that you have the ability to change your own narrative.

You can take what you learned and experienced through the nurturing phase of your life and use that to fine tune what nature gifted you. 14355531_1279686685397836_7803897842245525869_n

Despite the shit sandwich that was my youth, I am not a stripper with daddy issues who is on Welfare with 10 kids; despite what the statistics say!

Nelson, Jane, Erwin, Cheryl, Duffy, Roslyn. Positive Discipline for Preschooler, For Their Early Years- Children Who Are Responsible, Respectful and Resourceful. New York: Harmony Books, 2007.

 

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