Our experiences shape the way we see ourselves, others and the world around us. The responses we have to those experiences are wired into us over time and we may find ourselves repeating the same “dance” over and over again. This may play out in the way we respond to conflict, the way we discipline, how we spend money, how we handle stress/pressure, and how we deal with others, just to name a few. Over time we may even find ourselves frustrated that we don’t like being in the same old “rut,” but there seems to be a comfortableness that makes us feel we were born to do things a certain way. The reality is we were taught most of what we do. Anger for example, I have never met an angry infant. The impact of our environment and our repeated responses seem to have a huge impact on how we carry out our decision making process.
Can it be reversed? Let’s say you were spanked as a child and when you got older you decided you were not going to use spanking as a form of discipline. So you go to school, take child development courses, participate in parenting classes, observe other families and how they discipline, talk and plan things out with your significant other, all in efforts to do things differently. Then your child comes home, they begin being children and inevitably do something that needs correction. What’s the first response? Is it to spank? Most likely. However, what can be done to rid ourselves of what seems like a natural response. There are many options and ways to deal with relearning how to do it better. Implementing new pathways of behaving, having patience, and being consistent over time are some aspects that will bring about relearning and becoming empowered to make the changes we want.