What Made Me The Person I Am Today Essay

What Influences Have Made Me The Person I Am Today

What influences have made me the person I am?

It was a Tuesday afternoon and I was just getting to my psychology class and as usual I was chit chatting with my neighbors in class, Cpl Christie and Fausnight about the things that each of us did this weekend. Just when I had finished talking to Kara (Fausnight) about her weekend our psychology teacher Dr. Douglas walks in. As she is walking in I in my peppy self- personality ask how her weekend went. Dr. Douglas then proceeded to tell me that it was “none of my business”…….maybe she was having a bad day or was really stressed out or maybe in fact it was “none of my business”. She also told me that there was a certain thing called boundaries and that I needed to find out what that was. I felt dumbfounded to say the least. I’ve always been a real social person. Pretty much striking a conversation with anyone. So I was brain storming the other day and I was wondering about what to write my paper about. Just then the previous scenario came to mind and I figured I could intertwine me and how the influences that I’ve had throughout my life have influenced me and made me the outgoing, friendly, social person that I am. I’ll attempt to do this by using Erickson’s stages of development (Myers, 2005). O.k. we will start by looking at the infancy stage. Where an infant learns either to Trust or Mistrust people. I don’t know how much is true but in talking to my parents they told me that ever since the day I was born I was such a crybaby. They also told me that I never wanted to be alone or have anyone even go as much as 5 feet from me because I would start crying and throwing a fit. The thing though is that most infants develop a sense of “stranger anxiety”, which is the fear of strangers (myers, 2005). Me on the other hand, I would only cry when I was left alone, I was never really too afraid of strangers. One reason could be that ever since I was born I came into an environment rich with people. My dad was an associate pastor at the church that even now we still attend. So for this reason and the fact that on my dad’s side there are 14 brothers and sisters and on my mom side there 9 brothers and sisters I was always going from one person to another being passed around. As Erick Erickson explains I formed a sense of “basic trust” with not only my parents but with my extended family members and members of the church because when I would cry I would always be picked-up or have my needs attended to. I was always ahead of my peers when it came to developing, so it was no surprise that I started walking when I was only 6 months old. Which brings us to the next stage of development, toddler hood and the issues of Autonomy versus Shame and doubt (myers, 2005). At first my parents say I was a bit apprehensive, and I cried when they put me down and walked away. But I soon learned that if I wanted to go after them….that I could. Or when something interested me and I wanted to explore it that I could do it myself by...

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When I was thirteen I was so sure of myself, so sure of everything that would happen in high school, and so sure of how I wanted the next years of my life to go. I though I knew what love was and I thought I had the wisdom to pass on what I had learned to the younger ones in my life. I was optimistic about the possibilities of high school and was ambitious and hungry. But, the best thing that ever happened to me is that nothing I, and i mean absolutely nothing, happened the way I had envisioned it in my head. And that is by far the best thing that could ever have happened to me. However, at the time it crushed me so completely I almost lost myself.

Sometimes I go back and I wonder had I made the other choices how everything would have worked out. Would I have gotten everything I hoped for way back when? Would I even be writing this article right now? When I start thinking like this I always tell myself that if any little part of my past changed I would not be the person I am today. So, I make a list. Of things I would tell little thirteen year old Natalie. I hope that in reading this list someone finds the strength I did to not let your past rule you, but instead to learn from your past to make a list like the one I'm going to make and use it to inspire someone who is younger than you and give them the insight they may need.

1. Dreaming is the best thing you could possibly do, and you should never compromise on your dreams.

There's nothing wrong with dreaming. Dreaming the most important thing that a person can do because dreams turn into goals, and goals become a person's path of action for life. For me personally, whenever I want to do something it would set my mind in motion to find a way to do it because the end result would produce the most happiness for me. If you find something that makes you happy make a plan to do it because no matter how hard the journey the end result is going to be beneficial.

2. Be flexible.

The single most important lesson I learned was that everything will not go your way. This was shockingly hard for me to learn because I hadn't really be subjected to adversity before. You can plan and plan, but if something something comes up that stops your plan and you give up on everything because of it you weren't flexible and it hurt you. I needed to learn to adapt to any situation that come my way in order to be successful.

3. Your personality and your likes will change, that does not mean you're not the same person.

Between my freshmen and sophomore year of high school I underwent a complete reinvention. I changed everything I liked my music tastes, my dressing habits, everything about myself. For a while I felt lost because I didn't know if I had changed essentially as a person as well. I thought that I could no longer have the same friends or do anything I used to do because somethings had changed about me. So, I spend a couple of years doing stuff that I really didn't enjoy because I though that's who I was now. I later learned that you can have multiple joys in life and you don't have to be stuck to one thing it's so much more interesting having a collage for a life than to have a single focal point. At the end of the day, it made me so happy I can go from free spirited hippie flower child one day to hardcore raver the next. One day I can be the embodiment of barbie and then tomorrow I can be clothed in all my quirky vintage band t-shirts and recycled and reclaimed thifty clothing.

4. Friends who can not stand by your side during the hard times, shouldn't be in your life to begin with.

The hardest thing for me was to learn how and when to cleanse people out of your life. When I went through a dark time in life between my junior and senior year of high school, I had many friends who "gave up" on me because they though there was no getting to me anymore. But, I still hung on to them for several years to come. I still texted them even though texts and calls went unanswered. I still acknowledged achievements and memories about them even though they wouldn't do the same for me. It took me until after graduation to realize, that I hadn't needed them in my life because I was expending energy on people who wouldn't do the same for me.

5. At the same time, learn to give back to those who do give the time to care about you in their life.

However, the previous experience made me really closed off to people in general. This meant that when someone did want to get close to me I wouldn't really give back to them. So, then they would feel the same way I had felt before. It took me awhile to realize this though, and I'm in the process of reteaching myself how to be a friend and everyday I feel really grateful for those people who have put up with me and have made me feel like I'm a friend to them, and have been patient with me.

6. Family may be your adversary when you are younger, but they will become your backbone later in life.

During my high school years, I was not on good terms at all with my family. They were the source of all my problems as far as I was concerned but I quickly learned how necessary family can be when you have nowhere else to turn for help. In hindsight, I wish I would have never shut them out, but there is nothing I can do now. Now, I work every day to repair the relationship with my family and I'm not scared to go to them with any problems that I may have.

I hope that in reading this, you remembered that your past is what built you to be the incredible person you are today and that this is not a denial of my past or a wish that I had done things differently. This is simply a message of hope and inspiration to help someone get by the hardships of life a little easier than I did.

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