The Influence of the Past on Present Behavior

Question from a reader:

“I am wondering about the events and teachings from early childhood that affect our later behavior. For instance, I have no control as a three-year-old regarding the free will of my parents. How do you view this?”

Your childhood and your parents certainly has a huge effect on the beliefs that you develop and carry into adulthood.  Often it’s what our parent’s teach us and how they treat us during our formative years that really shapes who we become as a person.

As children, we often look to our parents as though they are superheroes or God–they can do no wrong and everything they say is gospel, until the day you come to the realization that they are flawed human beings just like everyone else.

You never have any control with regard to the free will of your parents even as an adult. As a child, you have free will, but lack the knowledge to wield it, and as such, you are still directly under the influence of your parents.

It is your job, once you’re old enough to engage in self-reflection, to begin the important shadow work of sorting through the beliefs created in your childhood and decide which ones will determine who you are and which ones won’t, and then discard them. Through this process of self-awareness, you are able to become the person you want to be, and not just be the person your parents made you to be.


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  1. Ash this is great. What you say here has a lot of meaning for me!
    For a long time I had been feeling so bad inside. I was saying to myself that I wouldn’t be feeling this way if I hadn’t had the experiences I did from my parents. Lots of pain.
    Today I am soooo different! I work hard to be aware and I really do like myself!!!. My eyes are open.
    I love reading your blog among other things; all things that help me feel stronger and good about myself!
    So today (for the first time!!) I can say the same thing, but it holds a totally different meaning for me. I wouldn’t be feeling this way if I hadn’t had the experiences I did from my parents!! Wow!

    • Thanks Liza 🙂 And that’s right – if you hadn’t experienced the pain, you wouldn’t know how great it feels to really love yourself. Contrast 🙂


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