Many things make us who we are, from our upbringing and culture to our education, friendships and economic situation.
But what about the psychological forces that mold us into who we are?
Here’s a look at 16 of the top psychological reasons you are why you are.
1) You’re on a mission to find your tribe
Humans are tribal creatures, and we have been so ever since our earliest origins. Even cavemen and cavewomen had designated roles within their tribe.
They cooperated together, hunted and gathered food. They fought other tribes and defended themselves.
Our tribal origins have led us to today. But in our digital societies, many of the roles that used to define us have fallen away.
This is leading to new questions, and new answers.
Much of what’s made you who you are up until this point is the inner desire you have to find your tribe of fellow individuals.
Those who share a spark that you share deep within.
Our tribes these days are becoming less about blood and more about bonds of character and ideas.
We are being formed into new communities, and choosing to find others who share visions that can combine and cooperate with us…
We are all being led forward…
And this driving force has helped shape you into the kind of person and the kind of questions you’re asking today.
Every psychological factor that shapes you goes through this prism.
2) Let’s travel back to your childhood
I believe that we all start with the desire to be part of a tribe and find our personal power and authenticity. We desire to be useful, recognized and ultimately meaningful.
These urges first present themselves in our first mini-tribe and delegation of roles:
The roles of our parents, guardians or those around us have a massive impact. Their energy, expectations, words and actions all imprint into us deeply.
Psychoanalysis founder Sigmund Freud believed that children go through various phases of sexual development which coincide to psychological traits.
For example, if potty training goes poorly this can later have direct impact on someone having less self control and so forth…
Whether that is true or not, it’s definitely the case that childhood is a time when we begin to experience the world, form values and feel strong emotions about the people around us and with authority over us.
Where do we fit or not fit?
Are we a “good” boy or girl, or are we told we’re “bad?”
Are we accepted or told we must be different to be “normal” or acceptable?
3) …Then on into your adolescence
One of the strongest psychological forces that shapes us into who we become growing up is our parents and family environment as a youngster, like I mentioned.
As we become an adolescent, our ego or “I” begins to assert itself much more.
We go through puberty and begin to do more to question authority and play out and tweak the scripts that were implanted in us as kids by our family structures and society.
Where do we fit in all this?
What’s our tribe?
As teenagers, the beginning of relationships and experiences in school mold us into who we become.
We keenly feel the sensation of “fitting in” or not. We feel the sting of rejection sharply and try out different ideologies, musics, hair colors and cliques…
We try out new identities, search for what motivates us and what angers and overjoys us.
All of them bringing us that much closer to discovering the kernel of who we are and who we could be.
4) The values that shape us in adulthood
Then we move on to the ideas, values and structures that shape us psychologically into adulthood.
By now, we have internalized certains roles, struggles, patterns and potentialities into the way we see the world and respond to it.
While much of what happens to us is fully outside our control, the way we respond and the choices we make have great potential to change who we become.
Here are various examples of critical beliefs about ourselves and life that can shape the decisions we make:
- A belief that money and getting rich is “sinful” or bad…
- A belief that material success is the most important thing in life…
- A belief that we don’t fit in and the world is evil because it doesn’t understand or appreciate us…
- A belief that we fit in and deserve appreciation everywhere we go because we are a great person…
Values, such as the importance we place on the value of life, family, wealth, our beliefs around conflict and violence and our beliefs on forgiveness, negotiation and honesty can also have a huge impact…
5) Neurons that fire together, wire together
There is a process of reinforcement as the way you respond to life events and choices you make, then reinforce and lead to other choices later on.
This then causes you to become even more of the kind of person who made the initial choices…
So is life just a process of ongoing reinforcement of the patterns, traumas and positives that affected us as kids and teens?
To some extent, it can be.
But if you can break out of the box and become your own person, it doesn’t have to be that.
The truth is that by becoming aware of the patterns and blockages that are holding you back and interrupting your real desires, you can begin to become the person you want to be.
It’s all a process of self-observation and finding inner peace in the middle of the struggle.
6) The desire to be loved and validated is extremely strong
Part of our identity from earliest origins is a desire to be validated and loved.
We seek both physical, intellectual and emotional satisfaction in those around us and pursue relationships that we believe can fulfill us.
Often, however, the relationships we find end up just bringing out more of the insecurities we have inside ourselves, leaving us confused and hurt.
When will we find “the one” who completes us?
Often it seems like the more we hope and look, the more we come up against a brick wall.
Life doesn’t seem willing or ready to give us what we want, and that hurts!
But the truth is, most of us overlook an incredibly important element in our lives:
The relationship we have with ourselves.
I learnt about this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. In his genuine, free video on cultivating healthy relationships, he gives you the tools to plant yourself at the center of your world.
He covers some of the major mistakes most of us make in our relationships, such as codependency habits and unhealthy expectations. Mistakes most of us make without even realizing it.
So why am I recommending Rudá’s life-changing advice?
Well, he uses techniques derived from ancient shamanic teachings, but he puts his own modern-day twist on them. He may be a shaman, but his experiences in love weren’t much different to yours and mine.
Until he found a way to overcome these common issues. And that’s what he wants to share with you.
So if you’re ready to make that change today and cultivate healthy, loving relationships, relationships you know you deserve, check out his simple, genuine advice.
Click here to watch the free video.
7) The labels people put on us can be hard to unstick
Another one of the psychological reasons why you are the way you are is labels.
The labels that your family, other people and you yourself have put onto your back are harder to unstick than you think…
Our belief that we are defined by stereotypes and labels can be hard to shake, and many of us spend a lifetime trying to live up to labels or fight them off.
One or two aspects of our identity can be seized on as the important or noteworthy thing about us, bringing us power or persecution…
This can be very hard to shake off.
Because the outer reasons that people treat us well from our job to our race to our culture, can start to seem like the most important thing about us.
We then get trapped in a maze, obsessed because even fighting against a label or strict category is – in a roundabout way – acknowledging that the category has some validity or sticking power.
This struggle can have a big impact on some of our deeper frustrations.
One of the most fascinating books I’ve read is the 2014 book Outline by Rachel Cusk.
The main character’s situation is revealed to us slowly by all the people around him and the labels and reactions they have.
We slowly see the outline of the protagonist revealed by revealing the sum of what emerges from all the external judgments and reactions…
That’s how it is with labels.
8) The relation you have to power and authority defines a lot about you
Growing up, we are in an inherent hierarchy. Even if our parents treat us with full respect, as babies and kids we’re inevitably physically weaker and dependent on others for sustenance and care.
But as we grow and become adolescents, we begin to have more choice about how we relate to power and authority.
Some rebel, while some comply. Others become more selective about what authority means to them and how to determine if it’s valid in their eyes.
I’ve always felt that the idea that authority is bound to become oppressive is naive and childish.
Others consider my own belief that authority and power over others is inevitable to be nothing but a cop-out to “the System.”
Looking deeper, I can see how my lack of a father growing up could feed into my desire for more structure and authority in society…
Whereas those who grew up in highly rigid environments with too many rules may crave a freer and more open society…
So many of the psychological forces which shape us have their roots in our emotions and formative experiences, even though we often give them intellectual justifications.
9) Death vs. sex
Part of our deepest instincts relate to death vs. sex. As Sigmund Freud and others have posited, many of our deepest psychological instincts come from a tension between fear of death and desire for sex or to overcome death through reproduction.
Although some have overcome the fear of death and learned to laugh in the face of chaos, it can’t be underestimated as a psychological influence in many of our lives…
And neither can the desire for sex…
Even if you don’t personally care, your psychology is wired around a drive to reproduce and seek out mates.
This shapes a lot of your behavior and actions in life, including sometimes causing you to put situations likely to lead to sex as a priority over other situations.
10) Our relation to pain and pleasure
Psychologically, we all want to avoid pain and seek pleasure.
If you’re wondering “why am I the way I am,” look at your psychological reaction to potential pain or pleasure.
From food to sex to a great massage, we all have an instinct to seek out those things which bring us physical and emotional pleasure and shun those things which bring us physical or emotional pain.
The thing is that if we follow this very instinctively we might miss our on some amazing opportunities.
Indeed, a diet is not always pleasurable, but it can lead to stunning results and feeling even more amazing when it’s over…
And pain in the gym can hurt a lot until you leave with a spring in your step and reduced anxiety…and begin experiencing many of the longer-term physical and emotional benefits.
The point is that a purely animalistic relation to pain and pleasure can lead you astray.
Much of our greatest growth occurs in our discomfort zone, not our comfort zone.
If you’re a person who’s overly scared of pain you can become a couch potato and a loser.
If you’re a person who’s overly frugal about pleasure you can become a humorless and depressed individual who doesn’t enjoy life.
There’s something of a balance to be had.
11) What are you repressing?
According to Freud, Carl Jung and many other leading psychologists, all of us have repressed desires, traumas and issues in our subconscious.
These confusions and issues stay in the background, only to manifest in various ways through our emotions and behavior.
For example, if you are repressing a lot of anger at your father it could come out in a hate of authority or dating people who are overbearing and give you the chance to vent your frustration at strong authority figures.
Or, if you’re repressing sexual desire it may manifest as anxiety or depression.
The thing is that repression generally occurs almost spontaneously and also on a physical level.
That’s especially true of our breathing, which tends to lock up during trauma or fear to keep us still and “safe…”
This fear response can stick with us for years…
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
When I felt the most lost in life, I was introduced to an unusual free breathwork video created by the shaman, Rudá Iandê, which focuses on dissolving stress and boosting inner peace.
My relationship was failing, I felt tense all the time. My self-esteem and confidence hit rock bottom. I’m sure you can relate – heartbreak does little to nourish the heart and soul.
I had nothing to lose, so I tried this free breathwork video, and the results were incredible.
But before we go any further, why am I telling you about this?
I’m a big believer in sharing – I want others to feel as empowered as I do. And, if it worked for me, it could help you too.
Secondly, Rudá hasn’t just created a bog-standard breathing exercise – he’s cleverly combined his many years of breathwork practice and shamanism to create this incredible flow – and it’s free to take part in.
Now, I don’t want to tell you too much because you need to experience this for yourself.
All I will say is that by the end of it, I felt peaceful and optimistic for the first time in a long time.
And let’s face it, we can all do with a feel-good boost during relationship struggles.
So, if you feel a disconnect with yourself due to your failing relationship, I’d recommend checking out Rudá’s free breathwork video. You might not be able to save your relationship, but you will stand a shot of saving yourself and your inner peace.
Here’s a link to the free video again.
The list is almost endless when it comes to the difficulties that can arise from repression.
We all do it, and our personalities in many ways are defined by those things we’re willing to express authentically and those we feel ashamed of or have repressed.
12) What are you projecting?
Another psychological factor that can have a big impact on our personality is projection. This is what happens when we offset guilt or stress from something we’re not happy about in ourselves by blaming somebody else.
For example, if I am overly stressed about moving and taking it out by having a bad temper, I may blame my wife for being overly stressed about moving.
I have “projected” my own struggle onto her in an attempt to feel better about my own issue and “clear” myself of it.
Projection is basically a form of gaslighting.
The only difference is that gaslighting is usually an intentional choice to blame someone for your own wrongdoing or make them doubt their own eyes when seeing something you did wrong.
Projection, on the other hand, is more instinctive and can happen without you realizing it.
One moment you’re sitting at breakfast feeling depressed as hell. The next you are getting angry at your sister for always being so “down” and asking her why she doesn’t get help.
13) What social values have shaped you the most?
Social values come out of our tribal past and include things like what you believe our responsibility is to each other in society and what you think about relationships, friendship and work.
Your social values are basically what rules and customs you believe should dominate in the interactions and relations between people.
Your social values may have been formed by the society or culture you grew up in, your family and those who’ve had a big influence on you like teachers and coaches.
Ideas like always playing fair, being honest and helping the poor are all common social values in some cultures.
Think about some of your top social values and how they’ve helped influence your behavior and actions.
Alternately, what are some ways in which you have strayed from your social values and behaved in a contradictory way?
After all, beliefs don’t always line up with action…
14) What religious or spiritual values define you?
Another important part of what has shaped you is the spiritual or religious beliefs that have dominated your upbringing and life.
For many of us this may start in childhood with the way we are raised.
For others of us, these values are something we decide on consciously as we get older, joining a religion or sharing in a spiritual path voluntarily.
Those who don’t like spirituality and have stayed away from any organized religion may relate to this point by saying that they haven’t been psychologically shaped by any religion or supernatural teaching.
The thing is, that even reacting against a religion or spiritual belief is a sort of spiritual belief.
If you believe only in science and consider anything supernatural to be made up, that’s a belief you have about spirituality.
That’s a spiritual belief that’s defined you: a disbelief in the non-material.
15) Understanding the Freudian model
As one of the most common models of how our personality is formed, the Freudian model is worth taking a look at as well.
According to this theory, we have an id, ego and superego. The id has no ethics and wants to fulfill the pleasure principle and look after us at all costs.
The ego is in touch with reality and expresses our sense of ourselves, our values and our ethical frameworks. However it is often overruled by our id, who rules us in many ways from our subconscious, including the things we have repressed and pushed down.
Our superego, meanwhile, acts as a kind of judge, doing its best to mediate and maintain order between the id and ego.
16) Your search for personal power and authenticity has brought you here
There are so many forces in modern life that seek to take away our power, tell us who we are and channel us into false tribes.
They want corporate drones, political pawns, ideological robots…
But if you find yourself resisting that, you’re not alone. If you want to forge your own path and become a truly authentic and creative individual then there is a way.
The question is:
How can you overcome this insecurity that’s been nagging you?
The most effective way is to tap into your personal power.
You see, we all have an incredible amount of power and potential within us, but most of us never tap into it. We become bogged down in self-doubt and limiting beliefs. We stop doing what brings us true happiness.
I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandê. He’s helped thousands of people align work, family, spirituality, and love so they can unlock the door to their personal power.
He has a unique approach that combines traditional ancient shamanic techniques with a modern-day twist. It’s an approach that uses nothing but your own inner strength – no gimmicks or fake claims of empowerment.
Because true empowerment needs to come from within.
In his excellent free video, Rudá explains how you can create the life you’ve always dreamed of and increase attraction in your partners, and it’s easier than you might think.
So if you’re tired of living in frustration, dreaming but never achieving, and of living in self-doubt, you need to check out his life-changing advice.
Click here to watch the free video.
Why am I like this?
There are various psychological reasons why you are the way you are.
This also includes your genetic heritage which has helped shape your neurology and mental framework and the cultural and social framework in which you grew up.
The influences, people and values that helped make you who you are, are all things you should consider and take a look at.
Seizing the reins of your life means taking ownership of every part of you, even the parts that were put there by someone else.
As you claim your personal power and the creative and authentic individual you have inside yourself begins to emerge, you will find that the reasons you are how you are…
Isn’t as important as the potential to become who you want to be.