What makes us who we are?

good decision

An age long question, with not yet a set answer. Some people believe their upbringing and core values given to them by their parents is shaping their choices; others believe it is all written in our DNA; others still include their faith and religious beliefs, life experiences and hardships in what has made them become who they are today.

Science tells us it is a mixture between nature (genes and DNA) and nurture (parenting, experiences and environment) that establishes personality, but what does that mean for us and do we ultimately have any control on our life choices?

There are certain things in life we are unable to choose or have influence on, such as who our parents are, where we are born, how we are brought up, etc. As we grow older we are able to take more control on our lives and decide what University to attend, what to study, where to live, what career path to take and so forth. Each of these important life choices will inevitably set us onto a path that will dictate other choices and so forth. For example, if your chosen career path is to become an Engineer, you will have to also choose to study Engineering at University and you will probably have to choose to work casual or part time for the time of your Degree, which in turn has an effect on your finances and your ability to afford nice things such as a car, living in or out of home, meals out and entertainment, etc. But you make these choices because you know that once you finish your studies and land that amazing job with an international Engineering company, you will be able to travel the world with your job, go out and have great meals, buy that expensive designer suit and shoes and spoil the ones you love. Add all of the above to the personal satisfaction and confidence boost you get from knowing you have been successful in your chosen path, and that hard work to get to where you are, was very much worth it.

And it is ultimately that internal reward, the confidence of being able to say “I made it”, that guides us in so many aspects of our lives. We continue to make choices that will challenge us and when we reach our goal, it will provide us again with that internal reward. Naturally, because we are all so different, this reward changes from person to person: for some of us it comes from getting a promotion and getting higher and higher up the corporate ladder; for others it is about becoming a mother and seeing your child grow and become themselves happy and accomplished… Whatever it is, it was the right path for you and it made you the wonderful person you are, it was an excellent choice and it made you the excellent person you are today.

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About the Author

Provisionally Registered Psychologist. I am a Provisionally Registered Psychologist and I am completing my specialisation in Sexology with Curtin University in Perth, Australia. I have a keen interest in sexuality related topics and how it affects the person under both the physiological and the psychological level. I believe one’s own meaning and understanding of their sexuality is at the base of many behavioural, social and cognitive processes and these inform many of the lifestyle choices we all make. I aspire to become more specialised in the field of sexology in order to be able to integrate this knowledge into my psychological practice. Contact: federica.zamboni@hotmail.com

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