One of the things that differentiates human beings from other species is our extraordinary capacity to learn. We are always picking up new things and correcting earlier errors.
But there is one area where it seems so hard to acquire new knowledge and change, emotional life.
Its when we are very small children, between our first day and later in adolescence , that our emotional hard drives are encoded. Its in this period we learn whether we can trust, whether we like ourselves, whether we can be open, where blame belongs, what to do when world hurts us, how much we can tell others what distresses us, what degree of directness can be tolerated and how much excitement can be witnessed and forgiven that is, how big of a mistake we can commit to be forgiven.
Unfortunately for human kind, humungous amount can go wrong in childhood. Just like all the improvements in early infant care that’s taken place in the last century. We are not waiting for any of this to happen, but it’s very easy to pick up unhealthy signs or messages from the surrounding. For e.g. If a small child has been beaten extensively by his father’s belt, the belt remains in his or her mind throughout life as an association of pain and emotional turmoil. This happens way before we really understand what’s going on. Which is why, we may acquire lack of trust and excessive fear of humiliation, a deep shame about our bodies, indirect patterns of communicating, our ability to either be close to someone or measure a distance from them.
We might assume that these failures can be corrected, just like an early errors of quadratic equations. But we later realize, especially when we get older that how complicatedly these failures are encoded in our hard drives.
This can feel absurd and humiliating. There is an understandably impatient view that one should have got over the quagmire sooner, but not so unfortunately. Human nature or an individual nature takes a shape depending on emotional and mental experience of the person. Every act and every thought goes through tremendous scrutiny over time, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously. This makes it hard to change our day to day lives and make it as we would want it.
Even though it’s not that easy, it’s not impossible. The first important thing is to take notice of the complication. You would come to know the depth of that only when you accept the problem in true form, without any prejudices.
What follows is the practice of remaining conscious of the failure and trying to amend it slowly through routine. This routine can be anything depending on your daily life. You can choose to look at the belt and try to manipulate the memory. This is the most simple example which may or may not be a failure, but this is how one needs to start. One by by, through our capacity to learn and correct, we wil be able to nurture new set of ideals that would have got rid of our failures forever, not because of ignorance, but because we chose to deal with it and get over it.