The whole nature vs nurture debate comes up a lot, and these are my thoughts.
What shapes our Personalities?
Our big part of what defines our personalities, besides our interests, are our emotions, right? We often determine by: “Are they happy a lot? Are they grumpy all the time? Are they constantly positive? Are they selfish? Are they caring and giving? Are they bubbly? Are they quiet?” Think about the last time you talked about someone’s personality, and what words you used. “Oh, she’s just such a happy person!”.
So we understand that “emotions” of a person can define their personality, perhaps if a person always has an emotion, so I now want to talk about WHY some people may be happier, or sadder, or angrier, or more selfish.
The Purpose of our Emotions
I’ve written this in another article, but I believe all emotions are similar to physical pain and their purpose is to help us survive better. Sadness is there to help us realise we don’t want to be in that situation. Anger helps us fight or dash off so we don’t get taken advantage on. Fear helps us get out of situations that may cause us danger. Happiness helps us realise we are great where we are, and that we shouldn’t change anything. This is similar to the feelings of hunger and pain. You touch the stove and instantly feel pain, so you move your hands away. If that didn’t happen, you wouldn’t know this was bad, and eventually your hands would be completely burned. If we didn’t know how to feel hunger, we’d probably die of starvation because we didn’t know we had to eat.
Though there are lots of loopholes in emotions, such as sometimes the very existence of sadness is what causes suicide, and that I believe is when the person is absolutely unable to get out of a bad situation, and they believe death is their escape. But, we won’t get into that.
So when we were born, do we get a personality, or did it happen along the way?
I firmly believe that it’s a combination of both.
Yes, some people seem to be born shyer than others, they may seem to care more about themselves, but I believe that could also be due to what their parents, grandparents and even great parents went through. Selfish, again, is another survival instinct. We are selfish because we need to think of ourselves to live, otherwise we could easily let ourselves suffer and give all the benefits to others. While that may be good, but that means you’d just easily die.
Think of it as evolution, you went through something that lead you to be more cautious, afraid and think more for yourself so you can survive better, you are likely to pass that down to your kids, right? That’s why I believe that often, you see kids having certain traits of their parents. Because not only physical features get passed on, emotions do as well!
How does nurture help with all of this?
I believe nurture can really change a person, for example: You have someone born very selfish, and want everything to him. However, you can teach this child that it’s alright to share, and that it won’t lead hi to lose out on anything. Eventually, this child may even realise that his experiences are completely different, so there’s no need to be afraid or selfish.
How did I come to all these Conclusions?
As you probably know, I like to think about why. I’ve often noticed that I have selfish thoughts, like when I’m eating good food, I “don’t” want to share it, even though I know it’s wrong. (Though I do share it, but it’s the desire inside me that makes me crazy). Another example is my own phobia of vomiting is so bad that if someone actually vomits, I would panic, walk the other direction (or run), and all I’d be thinking about is not catching it myself. It does sound very selfish, but I can’t help it. So, instead of beating myself up and calling myself a selfish idiot who cares nothing about people, I chose to analyse why we’re this way, and that’s how I came to these conclusions.
So to end this, I want to say that I doubt kids will be doomed if they were “born” with certain personalities (or more of one emotion), because you can slowly change that. I believe the most important thing to do is help them realise by putting themselves in other’s shoes. Spoiling them will definitely cause problems.