Are you ready? Your alarm clock is going to ring any moment. Are you ready to wake up to be You? Are you ready to fulfil your role? Read your lines? Act out your part?
You understand that’s what a life is, right? That’s why as people age they become more and more aware of how much they’re like their parents. They’ll say “Oh I get more like my mother every day!” when what they really mean is “Most of what I am is mimicry of those around me, including my family, and so I’ve always been like this but I’m just noticing it now.”
Say you grew up with both parents around. If your Mom gets angry by throwing things and your Dad gets angry by screaming, then you will either throw things, never throw things, scream, or go quiet. No matter which direction you go, you will have been trained by experience to do what you do. Remember, as a child you don’t divide it up, “Oh this is a task, and this other thing is my Dad’s personality.” You’re just watching and absorbing. So you’ll either do the same or the exact opposite.
So if one of your parents hated winter, odds are you will too. If one of them yelled at drivers in the car then you probably do to. And if your parents cheated on their taxes or their insurance etc., then you probably do. And if you don’t do those things, then you’ll do the opposites: you’ll never do those things. You either think your parents are a bad example, or you don’t notice they’re your example at all. Either way they or some other major force in your life will dictate who you become. They will write your first draft lines and reactions.
So when you’re getting angry it’s like your Dad handed you a script of the sorts of things you’re supposed to do and say. Is it personal attacks designed to undermine the person? Or are they statements designed to belittle the entire issue? Or did he throw things or even get violent? Did he disappear or get drunk? No matter what he did, no matter what your mother did, or your babysitter did—you learned to be human from the human’s you grew up around. And you probably never even knew there was another way to be until you had your first dinner at a friend’s house and you found out people prayed before they ate, or they put raisins in their stuffing, or maybe they all help with dishes afterwards and you guys just leave your mom to do it.
The ways other people act are aren’t wrong. They are simply other ways of being. Are some more destructive than others? Yes. Are some more productive than others? Yes. But is there are right or wrong way to live? No. Your script will always be there. It’s what makes you You. But it’s not a contract. It isn’t binding. You do have freedom within it. So if there are things you subtly inherited that you don’t like in your life, then change them. It’s not hard. You were only acting that way anyway. If you want a different life, act a different way.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.