Why you are the way you are - do you know?

How your personality was formed?


Did you know that the first four years of your life were the most important and formed your personality? The way your parents were taking care of you, stories that people were telling you and the whole environment – these are the factors that influence your life even today.


When you were born, you knew nothing about the world and very little about yourself. You knew just very basic emotions – anger if you were hungry or your diaper was full, sadness if you were left alone and happiness when you were full and close to your parents.


All other emotions and feelings you learned from others – definition of jealousness, guilt, shame, even love. Today, your behaviour results from those definitions that you learnt and decisions you made in early childhood.


Unfortunately, for most of us or maybe all of us today it is quite difficult to meet our needs, reach our goals and be truly happy – our beliefs are limiting us and some of our behaviours are dysfunctional.


Dysfunctional behaviour


Dysfunctional behaviour results from decisions you made in your childhood. At that time those decisions were the best option that you had available for taking care of yourselves in the family and the situations that you were growing up in. 


However, those decisions that worked very well in your childhood, usually don’t work, or even limit you in your adult life. 


Let’s take an example:


Why may you be struggling to understand and accept your feelings? Well, if you grew up in a family where parents didn’t know what to do with feelings and emotions, they tried to suppress them. Highly likely that they criticized you or punished you for showing feelings or emotions. For that reason, you may have decided not to feel (even though you don’t remember this decision). 


This worked well in your family. However, as an adult, you might be struggling. To feel, to understand feelings and to accept them is very important. Your feelings let you know what your needs are. It also motivates you to take actions to get your needs met. If you don’t let yourself feel, you don’t know what you need and you are not motivated to take action to get those needs met. 


One more example:


Why may you be struggling to have close relationships with others? If you grew up with abusive parents, you simply may have decided not to get close to others. And it worked well for you in your childhood, it protected you in difficult moments. But as an adult you might have problems to create an intimate relationship.


Let’s take the last example:


Why may you be struggling with feeling of guilt or need of control? If you were growing up in a family where one or both parents had alcohol or drugs dependency, you probably had an idea that this is your fault – that you are not good enough for your parents to choose you over the alcohol/drugs. You may have decided that you don’t do enough and that’s why other people have problems. It probably helped you to survive your childhood, but as an adult it no longer serves you.


There can be many other decisions that worked for you in childhood, but not when you are adult. 


What can you do with it?


You can redecide. But first, of course, you need to identify those beliefs that are limiting you. And it might not be an easy task. Self-analyses takes a lot of time and a lot of energy. Don’t be afraid to seek help – psychotherapy or coaching is a very good way to start.
Once you identify your limiting beliefs, you must realize and accept that whatever you decided as a child – was the best for you at those particular situations. It helped you to survive. However, now you are an adult and now you have more choices of how to take care of yourself. Now you have control over your life. And if the beliefs that served you in your early childhood don’t serve you anymore, you simply can redecide – choose options which are the best for you right now.