How much does upbringing count?

How much does upbringing count?

The other day, my friend and I were discussing how significantly backgrounds affect how we all turn out.

Which would explain A LOT!!!

I’m quite certain there are ten million clichés out there that reflect how much upbringing weighs in on who you are and who you become, i.e., “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” “like mother like child,” et cetera.

But here’s my question…and it’s a biggie:

If you’re born into bad stock, can you change your broth?

And I’m not talking chicken soup.


In my opinion, yes, you can. You can definitely change your broth, but not entirely.

I think people can evolve, progress, advance and grow, but your true background always stays somewhere deep in your core.

Even when you try to hide it, it’s there, lurking in the background, pretending it’s gone.

But it’s not.

Take for example a girl who wasn’t attractive growing up, but as an adult woman, has had many surgeries and looks great (sorta). You think when she looks in the mirror, she sees the beauty that stands before her?

No, she doesn’t. She sees the unattractive girl from her childhood. Despite all those surgeries, somewhere deep down, that little girl who didn’t feel pretty still exists.

Even highly successful people born into low income families still have that financially challenged person somewhere inside them. While they appear to be confident and strong on the outside — deep down, hiding in the corners of their spirit, is the underprivileged kid proving how far he/she made it.

I especially see it with parents when raising their own children. I love when I see a mother who pushes her child to be and do and achieve everything that they themselves weren’t able to. They think they can modify their own broth scars by changing the outcome of their children’s lives.

Nope, their broth is the same, only they’re spilling the lack of their own soup ingredients into their children’s lives.

Different discussion for a different day.

So while we can definitely modify our broth, we don’t seem to be able to fully alter our stock.

We can alter our outcome, but we can’t change how we were raised and we most certainly can’t change our background.

It is what it is…good, bad or indifferent.

It’s in us forever and it affects the decisions we make and the way we perceive things daily.

John Locke had a philosophy called “Tabula Rasa,” which was the theory that, at birth, the (human) mind is a ‘blank slate’ without rules for processing data and that the data and rules added for processing are formed solely by one’s sensory experiences.

If this is accurate, then it is possible to suggest that who we become is based on the experiences and ‘programs’ that are put into us as we grow, develop and learn, which include our upbringing, our parents’ voices, and the messages we’ve been taught. Whether good or bad, these messages stay within us like little hitchhikers who have jumped into our passenger seats.

During our road trip of life, our ‘passenger’ tells us all the things we’ve heard and seen growing up: “You’re fat,” “You’re never going to amount to anything,” and “You’re too pretty to be smart.”

You get my drift.

What we see and hear becomes who we are. It doesn’t always have to be bad. If you’re a lucky one, you experienced unconditional love, respect and support, but there is still always something that defines us and it’s with that lens that we see ourselves.

I remember when growing up how my mother would use the word, “cookie” at the end of her sentences when she was angry.

It would go something like this…”Don’t talk back to me, COOKIE.”

I mean seriously, COOKIE? Wasn’t that some sort of oxymoron? I mean, the way I understand it, cookies are sweet and full of sugar and delicious. She clearly wasn’t trying to send that message.

Anyway- let’s proceed.

To this day, my skin actually crawls when I hear that word other than when I’m stuffing one into my mouth. However, when I heard myself utter the same word in the same context to one of my kids years ago — that was it.

I immediately changed my soup from Progresso to Campbell’s and called it a day.

Until Next week,


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The Buddha Team

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