How do infants, babies, and young people discover who they are? What tools do they have to use? Do you think they find facts, truth, and who they are? The question of who we are as individuals have been the topic of many lectures, books, studies, and conversations. Perhaps a better question: is it possible for an individual to truly know who they are as human beings?
An infant would usually only have its caregivers, in most cases the mother and father early on; in some cases, one parent or caregiver. The tools the baby has are listening, watching, instinct, environment, emotion, and observing. The parents tell the baby how beautiful it is and how much they love him or her. Maybe the father keeps saying you’re going to grow up and be big and strong like your cousin and play baseball, or the mother says you are going to be a beautiful and talented dancer. I’ve never heard of a parent telling their baby that they are talentless or homely as a frog! Babies don’t usually get facts, they get hopes and dreams of the parents, and parents look at their babies through skewed lenses to start with.
Young people also listen to, read, watch, play, and hear from friends, siblings, teachers, coaches, and religious leaders. They are also impacted by doctors, friends of the family, extended family, people in the community, television, social media, music, professional sports figures, movies, books, gaming (such as Xbox), and other influences.
Then as individuals mature, they can have employers, girlfriends and boyfriends, coworkers, unions, customers, other professionals, wives or husbands and their families, children, employees, and many other influences.
Then, of course, they have religion; most believe that man is made in the image of God. Naturally, not everyone believes this as there are many religions and some families who are nonbelievers.
Is it possible for an individual to really know who they are? Even if an individual thinks that they know their body, do they know their spirit and mind? These are difficult questions that only the individual can answer.
There are factors that seem to block individuals from getting to know self and maturing in the norm, such as childhood trauma, addiction, broken homes, and some disabilities. Unhealthy relationships can also interfere with the normal process of getting to know self. Certainly, fear, pain, trust, anger, and many other emotions and feelings impact the individual.
The individual’s perceptions and perspectives become their reality. Their worldview as a child can be drastically shaken when they find out that their parents did not have all the correct answers about their questions as young children. Some adults may have violated their trust or much worse. Horizons may be broadened with age when it comes to worldview, religion, politics, culture, perceptions, and perspectives.
People are not sheep and should not blindly follow anyone’s words or statements without questioning facts. The free thinkers, who ask questions and seek out facts and truth seem to have the best chance at finding it.
Perhaps we are all mirrors for each other. Some believe that we are all sisters and brothers, while others believe that we are all one. To complicate matters further some, say that when the ocean dies that man dies, that everything is connected. The earth, water, air, humankind, everything is part of everything and everyone. That from the smallest insect to the largest animal, everything was created for balance in the world. Scientists have made some amazing discoveries over the past few decades and continue to do so. From our history to current day, perhaps we really don’t have all the correct information as to who we are as humankind? It seems that history had a great deal wrong when it came to the dinosaurs.
Young people a few decades ago seemed to have a much clearer idea of who they were, where they came from and where they were going than teens do today. You could say that there was a greater amount of ignorance or less information available at the time. You could say that teens today are a victim of too much technology too fast and that what they are experiencing is a side effect of that growth.
Greater pressure on the family unit, financial strains, broken homes, lack of supervision in the home, lack of structure in the home impact our young people in negative ways. Economic stress, lower education standards and higher costs, lack of jobs, fear, hurt, pain, and anger, total lack of communication and trust, complicate matters further; do we have a lost generation of young people struggling to find out who they are?
How does this feed into the drug epidemic that we are currently experiencing? It stands to reason that it must be impacting young people and addiction. Addiction is now defined as a chronic brain disorder. One thing that I’m sure of all people are made up of body, mind, and spirit. Can we find a solution to this horrible disease without addressing the entire person, any more than someone attempting to understand self could do so by only looking at the brain? We must not overlook the spiritual and physical aspects of addiction if we are to find its identity.
Every problem has a solution what blocks us from solutions are perspective and perception problems.