Thinking about you… and others!

One or two of you may relate directly to this Post and conclude that it is about you. It is not!

My exposure to, and education in, psychology and psychiatry has been on a “need to know” basis, which has been dictated mainly by volunteer work in positions where such knowledge was necessary. I like to think that I know quite a bit about a very, very tiny component of those areas of expertise!

Thinking is an interesting trait which some of us do more than others, but I am constantly puzzled at the variables experienced. For example, if I can plan something and incorporate what I believe would be your perspective, why can you not go through the same thinking process?

Why do so some of us fret over the minute details of a project, while others just see a high level view and muddle through. Both approaches can have merit. These kinds of questions interest me, but the answers are outside of my knowledge range. Could those traits be driven by parental role modeling?

My parents were socially rather withdrawn, but would open their home to anybody in trouble. I can remember me asking them if a close friend of mine could stay with them until some personal issues were resolved, and they agreed without any hesitation (and had a guest for about 3-4 months).Β  I can see what an impact that would have had on me however, I am not too sure whether they consciously tried to see the other person’s perspective. In this example, I imagine they just saw somebody in need, and was pleased to be able to assist.

I can look at a number of my traits, and attribute them to my upbringing, and some life experiences, but does that explain all of them? I really don’t think that it does because while I believe in a higher power which I call God, my parents were both anti-religion (“It’s all a load of rubbish!”) Their position on religion could perhaps be explained by the teachings of the time where there was an omnipotent and loving God. I can understand my Dad having problems with that.

He was in the Royal Navy on convoy escort duties in WWII and saw many an oil tanker explode after having been torpedoed, and watched the crew jumping into an oil covered and burning sea. They were not allowed to pick up anybody because they could not risk losing their own vessel by stopping (would be a golden opportunity for any submarine in the area). He therefore watched men jump off doomed oil tankers, knowing full well that they were either going to be burned alive and/or drown.

More recent (at least to me) Christian teachings have stressed the freedom of choice that we all have, and with that freedom of choice comes consequences and responsibilities, but I do not think that he was ever presented with that rationale.

So to those of you more learned than I in these matters, help me out a little. Why do some of us consciously consider other perspectives before we react, while some others do not? Why do some of us live a very modest lifestyle, but are prepared to share what we have, while others living a much more luxurious lifestyle have no interest in others. Why are some people happy in their 1000 sq ft homes, while others are complaining at the cost of 5000 sq ft homes?

There are so many examples of contrasting perspectives, but should we lay the blame on our upbringing? I really don’t think so simply because we all have the ability to learn. We all have the ability to change. We all make choices as we go through life but then, why do some us make choices that involve change, while others just stayΒ  with the status quo? Why do some of us see a rose bush as a flowering shrub with spikes, while others see a spikey shrub with flowers?

As noted at the beginning of this Post, I like to think that I know quite a bit about a very, very tiny component of those areas of expertise! These questions are not answered by the very, very tiny component referred to! Just thinking!


37 thoughts on “Thinking about you… and others!

  1. There’s the whole nature/nuture aspect to consider. It goes to show the unlimited variability of the human brain and how it’s ‘plastic’ & constantly shaped by our interactions with the world. We can be ‘wired’ a particular way and have a tendency towards certain traits and characteristics, but there is so much on top of that which shapes us.
    I’m like you and have an interest and a teensy little bit of knowledge in various areas of psychology (through work too) – but always way more questions than answers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi! My memory is not quite what it used to be (aging!) in fact, can I even remember what it used to be? Anyway, I digress! I believe this is your first time here so welcome, and thank you so much for choosing to express your thoughts. I hope that you will drop by again when you have some free time; pull up a chair by the fire; kick your shoes off; enjoy a cup (or glass!) of something really relaxing… and perhaps browse the Just Thinking category? You sound like the kind of person who would enjoy some of my mental gymnastics where nobody gets a medal, but many people start thinking… and thinking is good! πŸ™‚


    • A nature/nurture question? Not specifically, as the subject also includes life experiences – environmental, work related and social; also outside (of family) influences. Religion and God are absolutely two separate topics. My parents had no time for any religion, but were only exposed to God teachings. Thanks for stressing that just in case somebody thought God was synonymous with religion.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve often wondered that, too. Among the people I know, being generous seems to have very little to do with how many actual resources they have: someone is either willing to share, or they are not. And again, just from my limited observations, it seems to have nothing to do with sex, race, or religious beliefs either. Maybe some of us are born with the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, and some are not? Or possibly it has to do with our early years and the behavior that was modeled for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmmm…like you mention we all have very different experiences, a test with an expected result is impossible to guess how everyone might respond, unless you have only specific choices to select from A, B, or C. Who wants standardized testing for life…oh we do have that–Myers Briggs, Four Lenses. Not horrible, very useful tools in learning more about people’s behaviors. But, we’re all unique. I’m learning that as I have no idea why my little guy is so fascinated by monster trucks! One child is a gymnast, one loves computers and gaming, and my youngest adores trucks, tires, let’s tear things apart. Where’s my bookworm? πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

        • I agree with you but with conditions! Appreciating diversity is wonderful but there are limits. Having two children, with one accepting society and the other rejecting it, is certainly diverse… but not particularly desirable, especially if it leads to substance abuse and/or illegal activities. The term “diversity” becomes very questionable unless qualified with some parameters.

          Liked by 1 person

            • Hi Sharon. I cannot remember (age!) whether I formally welcomed you to my Blog. I usually do it after a Comment has been posted… so welcome. I have a wonderful group of Followers from around the world, and they all “play” so nicely together that I am sure that you will fit in perfectly! Based on your response to this Post, you may be interested in checking out the other Posts in the “Just Thinking” category. If you like dogs, then are so many Posts about my beloved Ray, and he even has a book about him (click on front cover over in right column of home page for details! There are also a few other categories which may be of interest! Have a wonderful day, and I hope that you have a few minutes to drop by again soon; put your feet up; help yourself to an imaginary and comforting drink; relax and read. πŸ™‚

              Liked by 1 person

              • Thank you Ray for the warm welcome. Yes I like to think, love dogs, and I enjoy reading so I think I’ll fit in alright. I do see you have a book published about your Ray. I will check out soon. I really have to be up for books about dogs or a dog. I still have my Boots (Maltese) , but my Brillo and Mila are gone–they were Beagles and I’ve had them since they were pups. 17 and 14, a long time in Beagle years. They passed within a year of each other, one could not he happy without the other. But thank you again for the warm welcome. πŸ™‚

                Liked by 1 person

  4. I believe in reincarnation and that we are choosing this life as a way of experiencing ourselves in a different way due to our physical body and the duality we live in. I believe that we all made a plan for this lifetime. We may not consciously remember but it is a program we have inside and this program is leading us in some way or it makes us like or dislike things, let us have skills, … It is responsible for where we are born and what we experience. Because what we experience will help us to get to the insights we wanted to have, Also we wanted to feel certain feelings which again will be provided. We see the world through our experiences and the way we perceive them. Our decisions again result from what we experience. I just thought of my Monday post where this is perfectly explained through Walsch’s teachings which make absolute sense to me… I don’t know if this makes sense to you but it came to my mind after reading your post. There was much more to write about it and in much more details but I hope you get the idea! We all have different life paths and in order to experience what we want to experience, we need to have a certain perception and need to make certain decisions. That leads us to those insights and more experiences we wanted to experience. We will always see what we believe to see because it all is there. But our mind is not able to get the whole picture when you look at a landscape for example. Your perception chooses what you see…..I don’t claim this is the truth but It is how I feel about and how I experience and perceive this matter! Oh well, sorry for the length of this comment. See how your post inspired me….lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • When a Post creates some thought, and ideally a response, it has (to me) served its purpose! No need to apologize Erika, I loved reading your Comments here.
      I am undecided about the reincarnation idea, but pretty much everything else you note, I am in total agreement. I am constantly surprised at how many people do not grasp the concept that we see what we want to see. If we believe that our world is totally self-serving, then we will look for all the examples that support that belief. Just as if we distrust everybody we meet, then we will possibly never acknowledge a trusting person simply because although they are around us, we will never see them. “Perception is reality” was taught when I was in the workforce, but there are so many variations that make the same point.
      To use your phrasing… yes, “We see the world through our experiences and the way we perceive them. Our decisions again result from what we experience.”
      Thanks again Erika. It’s always interesting to know some of what is going on in your head! Have a wonderful rest of your day! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve seen too many good people come out of horrendous upbringings to believe upbringing is everything. I have more respect for those who develop sound, moral values along their journey, which are different from an indifferent upbringing, than for those who are taught at the mother’s knee to be a good person. Overcoming has always caught my attention and admiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally agree. I admire people who are willing to change to being more compassionate and caring than their upbringing would suggest however, I would not think any less of the person who was just as compassionate and caring but who learned it from their upbringing. The functional end result would seem to be equal, but one individual made significant changes to get “there” which is deserving of recognition.

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  6. I like the rose bush analogy. I don’t know if there really are answers, its hard.
    I agree with you though in that I don’t think it has to do with our upbringing totally. I can see how our upbringing can definitely attribute at times, but it is not fully responsible for why we make the choices we do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly. We can all lay blame on our parents; our circumstances; our boss etc. etc., but that is simply not accepting responsibility for the choices we make. Once we start taking responsibility for our choices, we are likely to start making better choices. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting post, Colin. I was adopted in the early 1950’s. I often wonder if I was like my biological parents in some respects. I will probably never find out but that doesn’t matter. It is a case of background over character I guess. Would I have had a different character if remaining with my originals. Probably. Who can tell. Would I be sitting here now ?
    Would I be aware of a lovely wee fella called Ray..πŸ•πŸŽΈπŸ»πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • I believe that there is a genetic basis for our early character traits, but then we are heavily influenced by the world we grow up in. It’s a fascinating topic! From my (and Ray’s) perspective, we are so glad that you were adopted and your resulting path of life crossed ours! πŸ™‚


    • Diversity is good, but only under some conditions. Diversity is not good with humility vs arrogance; with caring for others vs self-focused; with giving vs hoarding; with law abiding vs criminal; with dreams of peace vs delusions of grandeur at any cost etc. etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Do you believe that the average person possess one set of principles or characteristics only – to use your example, will the one person be arrogant, self-focused, a hoarder, have criminal tendencies and delusions of grandeur? Through and through evil in other words. Sure, there are some of those, I grant you that (not referring to anyone in particular :D), BUT I believe that diversity of the human nature in any one average person will balance the good and the bad.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Absolutely not (to your initial question). I have no doubt there are variables, but there are parameters which can be common. I also have no doubt that characteristics can be changed… but the person must be receptive to change. The first step in AA’s 12-Step program is simply admitting that “you” have a problem. Nobody has resolved a problem that they did not believe they had! Whether there is a balance between good and bad is rather subjective, but I think most people would want all good if that option existed! πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

          • Only if “all good” does not change all humans into similar tasting vanilla cookies! Sometimes a bit of arrogance, cunning, etc. (the minor flaws) can be quite charming and they also encompass the excellence that sets someone apart from others.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I have yet to see any “charm” in arrogance (“an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions”). My point is not that differences are bad (i.e. diversity is not bad), but rather that it has to be selective in what traits we are considering.

              Liked by 1 person

  8. Good questions, all. I guess if we were all alike, it would be a boring world, besides not having a need for the Briggs-Meyer personality test. But the why of it is the question, now, in’t it!

    Liked by 3 people

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