For the first two decades of your life, your parents, or an assortment of parent-like figures, define your worldview. During this time, you aren’t in control of where you go and what you do. Who you interact with and very often how you interact with them is determined by your parents’ preferences and biases. Meaning, if your mom doesn’t like the neighbors, you probably won’t be heading there for dinner. For most of us, this leads to taking on the opinions and habits of our parents as our own. For others, though, it leads to some form of rebellion and taking on the opposite opinion from their parents. Usually, it’s one or the other, with no middle ground. You either agree and fall in line or disagree and rebel. Either way, most of us aren’t entirely conscious of this process, even though it determines a lot of the why behind what we feel and how we act.
These forces are inescapable parts of our being.
This is how we develop our unique personality and worldview. At first, the grooves in our brain are light, like scratches on a table. But the more you scratch the same part of the table, the deeper the grooves get, and the more deeply held your opinions and habits become. For example, if you’ve been eating spaghetti with a certain type of tomato sauce and enjoying it for decades, it will be difficult to convince you that tomato sauce should be made differently. Although this is a highly superficial example, it applies in exactly the same way to your most deeply held beliefs. If your parents believed in saving 10 percent of every paycheck, marrying within your religion, or voting Democrat, you’ll most likely feel guilty if you don’t follow suit. Or you will vehemently oppose those beliefs and spend a lot of time, energy, and emotion trying to convince others to as well.