How do your surroundings, circumstances, and upbringing affect the kind of person you are? How does understanding this interdependence affect my actions? I was raised as a reformed jew in a liberal temple community in the middle of a small hippie surf town. To try and say that my surroundings did not have a huge affect on who I am and will become is a ridiculous idea and yet I can not say that I am entirely because of my circumstances.
As I have looked more closely at myself I find that certain aspects of my personality, those that maybe don’t feel as natural or comfortable, such as the enjoyment I get from singing or the connection I feel to spirituality and religion, come from the way I was raised. Time spent around musicals and the temple caused me to be the way I am. These parts of my personality may not have come about had I been born in to a christian family or in to a family that didn’t love musicals and therefore I have come to believe my upbringing and circumstances made a huge difference in who I am.
I also have noticed that some parts of me come as naturally as breathing. My volume level when I speak and my outgoing disposition are things that I can not control or change. These things are as large a part of me as my love of singing or spirituality and yet they did not come from an external source, they came from within me and no matter how much any other person may want them to not be part of me these qualities make up me.
My surroundings, circumstances, and upbringing do affect who I am but can not change who I am in the deepest understanding of myself. This understanding of the interdependence of people, the fact that while I may not change I am deeply influenced by those around me and visa versa allows me to be mindful of my actions and in being mindful prevent myself from hurting the people around me whom I care for.
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