How our personality formation through our past influences our future problems.
Our past determines every single one of our decisions, our behaviour and shapes our personality — both consciously and unconsciously. Problems that one has in adulthood usually have their origin in childhood or in past (traumatic) experiences. It is important to understand how and why this is so in order to prevent them from turning into acute or bigger problems.
Many assume that problems, situations or misunderstandings arise in the moment. An action produces a reaction. But is it that simple?
Our behaviour is not divided into black and white gradations, as is often believed. It takes a lot of knowledge to understand it. Every kind of action has a reason and is deeply anchored in the memories and life events we have learned, experienced and witnessed.
From an early age, children are influenced by many impressions. Up to a certain age, these are limited purely to the emotional level, because a young child does not yet have the ability to see and understand circumstances, situations, views and other situations. The only thing it does is: feel. Happiness, joy, security, well-being and other positive emotions — or just the opposite: fear, sadness, insecurity or unhappiness. These feelings form the basis for our memories and experiences. In this way, we learn to draw conclusions and make decisions in connection with our emotions. We thus develop behaviours, coping mechanisms (also called coping strategies) and personality traits.
What is important here are the coping strategies. We deal with certain events differently depending on the situation and the person. But the consequences, or the results of this coping are important, because these also determine future actions in relation to events or other people.
But what does this have to do with problems or misunderstandings in adulthood?
Everything we say, how we say it or express it and when we say it has a reason, an origin and an intention within it. So how do we ensure that conflicts do not arise?
There is never one hundred percent certainty, but by staying self-reflective, you can prevent a large part of it.
When person A experiences something with person B, the latter is influenced by his own experiences to assess a certain situation differently. Thus, the memory may vary from person A to person B. Likewise, the narration will vary because person A does not use the exact same vocabulary as person B. This circumstance will then be reflected in another person’s narration. This circumstance will then leave another person C, to whom the situation is described, with a different impression of the situation, which differs from the actual events.
What is important to understand here is that each individual person not only has a subjective perception and reality, but (unfortunately) also does not always have enough insight into the circumstances of the other person. The more often this original information is passed on, the more often subjective realities and experiences can increasingly be included in an interpretative way.
You cannot know or know everything about another person. What they have been through, how they were brought up, in which language or which culture they grew up. Depending on what a person has experienced and how (also in the emotional sense) and how they coped with these circumstances, this information is by no means always available to outsiders. It is up to the person themselves to decide whether they want to share this information.
This is one thing we cannot influence. But a person’s behaviour that is distant from the norms is always an indicator that the person has gone through a traumatic experience.
Misunderstandings can always arise. The misunderstanding that becomes a problem can be a way to solve it.
How do we solve problems and how do we create the willingness to clarify them?
It is important to keep everything in perspective and remain self-reflective, understanding that when you say and hear something, there is much more behind it than just the words themselves. You should always remember that behind every action and every statement there are always reasons that go much deeper than you first see or think you know.
Solving problems does not only mean an effort for the other person, but also for oneself. This means: the willingness must of course be there and one must pursue a goal with it. Which goal that is is of course up to each person. Perhaps the general goal could be to promote peaceful coexistence or to prevent recurring problems.
Reflection means being able to be honest with oneself and to put one’s own experiences in relation to situations. The effort here lies in listening to oneself and identifying and differentiating as well as possible which emotions belong to one’s own personality and which do not, and when the emotion and motivation of the other person needs to be heard and understood. You don’t have to empathise with them, but you should at least understand or accept them. One does not necessarily have to be empathetic, but to approach the other person, his or her experiences and experiences with respect. It is not about being right, because everyone thinks their own view is the correct one at first. Conflicts are about finding a solution and being able to think constructively forward so that both parties feel understood, seen and respected.
When a strong reaction comes from the other person, it often expresses a form of despair and there is something behind it that you don’t see. Even the person concerned is rarely aware of this. Despair or fear often leads to insecurity. A feeling that many people cannot bear. Insecurities lead to a need for certainty and a desire for answers. People look for explanations that make sense subjectively (i.e. in relation to everything they have learned or experienced). But this does not mean that they correspond to objective or normal reality.
Let’s take an example that has become increasingly influential in recent decades: the internet.
Almost everyone has access to the internet. One can get any information one can think of via the internet. This information is uploaded by other people. What does that mean? That every piece of information is a subjective view on a subject. This means that it is shaped by experiences and adventures.
Since this information is available to anyone at any time, each person can of course “cherry-pick” the information that plays into their hands and supports their own point of view.
Freedom of speech or freedom of the press does not mean that everything that is said is right, it just means that every person has a right to their own opinion and that everyone should respect that opinion. It does not mean that one must necessarily share that opinion or impose it on others.
It is important to understand that any information shared with or by a person (this is applicable at all levels) does not necessarily correspond to the reality of others.
One should learn from an early age to recognise these differences in order to be able to better assess situations and thereby create a greater understanding of our counterparts and their individual situations.
It cannot be emphasised often enough: One does not have to agree, but one should always be able to respect other opinions (and this applies in both directions).
Reflecting on your own behaviour and understanding your own motivations and emotions also helps to make a greater understanding of the other person’s behaviour possible.
So don’t take everything so much to heart and always try to think about who is making a statement and what situation that person is in. Does she have something to gain? Something to lose? Under what circumstances was the statement made? How is the person doing and what is he or she going through at the moment? Could there be more to it than that? What information cannot be denied and could be considered fact? When is information fact and when is it not?
Our goal should be to create a greater understanding of this issue and also to teach this to our children from the beginning so that they grow up in a better environment, treat each other differently and do not repeat our mistakes.
Nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, that’s part of life and that’s the only way to develop. You should be open to it and learn to deal with conflicts in the right way.
We have to help our children learn understanding and respect, how a person works and how to communicate properly in conflict situations. All this is only possible if one is emotionally open, reflective and tolerant. These are things that should be learned from the beginning and preventively.
Because prevention is not only important and self-serving. Prevention is the way to a more peaceful and happier life.
You too can make a difference! Because change always starts with yourself first!
 Norms means everything that is regarded and accepted by a majority as a binding rule of what is right, correct, etc. for people to live together.
 Reality corresponding to the norm.