There’s the nature side. The one that says we are a product of our D-N-A, the genes that we get from our parents and ancestors.
There’s the nurture angle. The camp that says we are the product of our environment and external influences.
Even the Church has opposing thoughts. One side says we were all born with original sin… the sin of disobedience we inherited from our first parent Adam and Eve.
The other party is more on the positive. We were born with original goodness for God who is the Ultimate Good, is our Creator.
These definitions alone confuse us, to the point of an identity crisis.
Drawing from the insights and wisdom of motherhood, I dare say that we are a product of all these theories.
As a mommy of two girls… I have seen very distinct differences. They may come from the same lineage but from birth, there were clear distinctions.
While both are fair-skinned, one is chinky-eyed taking from her paternal grandfather, the other has more rounded eyes which must have come from her maternal grandpa. One almost looks Japanese, still from the Barrios side. The other is mestiza from the Bautista partida.
It is amazing how nature works wonders in combining traits, too. Our eldest got the lankiness of her Daddy, the hair of her maternal auntie and milky white skin of the maternal side.
Our youngest inherited Mommy’s petite physique, Daddy’s lips and her paternal grandma’s wavy hair.
But what is more mind-boggling are the early signs of their characters from infanthood. Daughter 1 always smiled at everyone she met. A stranger even commented that the child would grow up to be either as an actress or politician because she was so friendly. Now she is turning out to be a people-pleaser, a strong trait of her Daddy.
Daughter 2 was quite a snub. She may have known the baby routines like close-opening her palms, high five and all that but when she did not like the person coaxing her to do so, she just gave her “who are you, I don’t care look.” Now she is growing up to be a very strong-willed, independent individual so characteristic of her Mommy.
Given these genetic predispositions… the challenge remains to be how to raise children as confident, compassionate and God-fearing citizens. This is where parents as the first environs come in. They may take the Original Sin slant and focus on the negative side and use punishment to straighten up their child. Or take the more optimistic paradigm of catching them doing good and emphasizing on rewards to better persons. Or have a balance of both.
The way we were raised, judged by elders and authorities, and treated by peers… all these come into play in defining or diluting our authentic selves. Somewhere along the way, we lose our anchor and get lost in knowing who we really are.
When we commit mistakes, we hear voices in our head echoing the rants of people who constantly put us down. When we achieve something, we cannot get ourselves to fully bask in victory with culture telling us that it is not okay to boast.
Getting lost in the confusion of what others tell us and what we falsely believe about ourselves, we deprive ourselves of getting to know our authenticity and lose the opportunity to tap our full potential
So how do we get to the center our being?
In his article, Define Your Core Gift and Remain Faithful to Who You Are, Preacher in Blue Jeans Bo Sanchez maintained that “unless you remain faithful to who you are, you have no gift to give to the world… Don’t let anyone force you to be who you are not. Your gift won’t be for everyone. So don’t try pleasing everyone.”
But first, you have to get hold of yourself and learn to accept every aspect of your life, good or bad. Strengthen further your strong traits and use this to help others.
If you know deep down that you are an introvert who would rather get down to business and write your thoughts down, then do so and stop forcing yourself going to parties you do not enjoy just because your friends say so. Who knows, when you decide to publish your stories, other people out there would identify with you and connect with your insights.
If you are the bubbly type, then let not your spirits be dampened by prim and proper people who get irritated with your “noisiness”. But of course it would help to be sensitive to others’ need for silence, too. Use your chattiness in a more positive way like encouraging people to bring out the best of themselves or make new friends or employees feel more at ease.
If you are good at music, then pursue your passion even if loved ones tell you would starve pursuing a career as an artist. Everybody has to start somewhere anyway.
If you have a business streak, why be pushed to take up an IT course just because it is the in thing? Instead of wasting energy pursuing studies not in line with what you want ultimately in life, then focus on which product or service you want to develop and take a college degree or vocation that would help boost and develop your trade.
When we get over the hang-ups of other people’s wrong beliefs about us, it is easier to be true ourselves and to others. Accepting who we are leads us to a more satisfying life as we pursue careers or paths akin to our authentic selves because we would measure our own success according to our standards and not of the world.
And with our happy, contented selves, we could share our gifts for the good of all and the glory of God.