What Influences the Way a Person Views the World?

Hand in Hand

Article by Wendy McCance

There has been a running discussion in our household that has gone on for about a week.  It began when my oldest daughter was asking some specific questions related to life after high school.

My own personal background was not the easiest.  I wasn’t close to my immediate family.  I always felt like I was out there on my own.  From an early age, I learned that I should only rely on myself.  It helped to make me fearless in going after what I wanted in life, but it was a hard struggle nevertheless.

I apologized to my daughter for having such a tangled history of bad experiences to relate to her.  Her response stunned me.  She felt that it was a huge benefit to learn from someone who had seen the good, but so much of the bad.  It gave me a new perspective on my own past.  I realized that I had a lot to offer my daughter.  I was able to share a huge amount of experiences and what I learned from them.

Anyway, that conversation led into the question regarding what shapes a person’s life when it comes to making decisions?  More specifically, how can you put two siblings side by side and see such different outcomes in the way they handle their experiences?

I have seen families where there was more than one child growing up in a pretty toxic environment.  The kids would grow up and the paths they took were startlingly different. You would have one child who became very successful in work and in life.  Patching the wounds from their youth and creating a much better life for their own children.  The other child would be consumed with bitterness.  Life was a constant flow of disappointments.  Pessimism was that siblings best friend.  Learning to play life in a role as a victim was what felt most comfortable for that individual.

So here is the ultimate question- How can two people with the same background learn to cope in such different ways?  What were the influences that made them choose the paths that they ended up taking?

That discussion between my daughter and I led to the question that I have wondered for years.  I want to know how to guide a child who you see going down the road of helplessness to reestablish themself on a path that is more secure.  I want to be able to throw the breadcrumbs down a road that will lead to happiness and a life more fulfilled.

How do you change a pattern of bitterness?  When a child is still growing up, can you help them to rework their thinking patterns to a more solid view of worthiness?

Maybe the brain is so hardwired that a person’s personality is what it is.  Maybe I need to accept that some people are just going to live their lives in pain, viewing their lives as a fateful situation.    Maybe I should, but I don’t think I will ever give up on trying to help someone who could use some support and words of encouragement.  I guess that’s just how my brain is hardwired.

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: mccance.wendy@gmail.com

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7 thoughts on “What Influences the Way a Person Views the World?

  1. Wendy, there’s a new curriculum for all kinds of learners from elementary to lifelong learners to teach people how to discover their own and others’ world views and best ways to work together within an interconnected system. It’s called Worldview Exploration and was developed and produced by the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). I just bought the curriculum and plan to facilitate a group of college students this fall at a local community college. The women who lead the development team is Katia Peterson. She was part of the group who developed the anti-bullying policies for schools.
    I know it will be fun. Deb B.

  2. Wendy, I enjoyed reading your thoughts. We cannot help all people who are in pain, but we can continue to try to be a positive influence in their lives.

    Keli, I loved your ideas about looking for the silver lining, the assignment of talking to their parent for 30 minutes, and giving compliments to others. You are a wise women!

    For a related article, “Twenty Ways to Foster Values in Children,” see:
    http://www.kellybear.com/ParentTips/ParentTip4.html

  3. I really like this one Wendy because it really hit home with me. As you may remember, I was a teacher for about 20 years and then an Elementary School Counselor for 13 or so. While I loved both jobs and honestly believe that I left an imprint on many children (cuz they still come up to me all the time out in public… LOL … & they’re grown now) but We always had a “thing” we did… at home, and at school. When a child was angry, upset or bitter, I let them tell me all about it, and then we would “look for the silver lining” or how they could have positively changed the situation. It didn’t always work, but usually, and also I would give them weird assignments like they had to spend 30 mins. talking to one of their parent’s about their childhoods & parents had to sign off saying they did it, sometimes it would be that they had to NOT play their video game one night, or turn on the TV for an hour. When at school, they would have to go through the day saying nice things “compliments” to others not in our class, and see how they responded. They were always amazed by those… I think I just lucked up with my two kids, and they are different, but I would always tell them my opinion on whatever, but tell them that it was their life so they would have to make the decision… Problem is, they’d have to live with the consequences either good or bad… LOL (I was just lucky 😀 I think)

  4. Great posting – I can relate to this question completely. Have you ever read the book “Biology of Belief” It is all about how we are built to process things, how we ae influenced by people, ideas, beliefs and perceptions of the world around us. I enjoyed the audio book version a lot. There is one analogy about playing back beliefs and perceptions – as if on a looping tape over and over- which I was reminded of when when you wondered if people could change. And the answer is yes.. But long held perceptions take a lot to break the pattern.

    Again.. Thank you for sharing
    Holly Hansen
    Lazy Hammock Investments, LLC

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