We are a product of our upbringing
No matter what, we are all immensely influenced by our parents, caretakers, close relatives - those who raised us. Whether we choose to believe it or not, social 'modeling' has a powerful impact on how we learn to make decisions, cope with stress, deal with emotions, treat our spouse or partner, and eventually how we approach parenting. To ignore these influences is to miss important information about ourselves; particularly about why we behave the way we do - both positively and negatively.
Becoming your own person
Even though early influences are powerful and hard to resist, it is crucial that we each find a way to be our own person, to define a "self" that is independent of those who raised us. This doesn't mean we become cut off from our role models or family, but rather, we learn to grow and develop with a mind of our own, whilst staying emotionally connected to those we care about. Understandably, this process of being independent and connected simultaneously is not as easy as it sounds, and it requires some risk - mainly, that our actions may result in some turbulence in the family system.
Thinking and Feeling
For you to be secure in your "self" and to exist independently you will need to learn the difference between thinking and feeling, particularly when making decisions. Do you make decisions thoughtfully, looking at all the options and finding what works in your best interest and that of others? Or, do you often make decisions primarily based upon your feelings, and how it will affect your relationships, fearing any decision that might cause disruption in those relationships? These questions are just examples of how important it is to understand your emotions and your thought process with regards to defining who you are outside your early family experiences.
Take the risk to grow as a person
Taking a step towards greater self-understanding is a key factor in reaching your goals and becoming the person you want to be. It is not always simple or easy, but it is achievable and can be rewarding. Counselling may be useful; offering an opportunity to get professional assistance to look more objectively at who you are, where you came from, and where you hope to go.
For more information about Counselling with Dirk Hansen, click here.