Have you ever thought about how we come to form beliefs and develop expectations? Certainly our family of origin influences our perspective. All that we have learned affects our beliefs and suggest our behavioral responses to what we observe.
We experience all of life–all of the material world and that which is inside us–through the eyes of our personal frame of reference, our World View. When something we observe is so very different from what we learned, what we know to be true, we experience cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance feels like inner conflict and disbelief. Your mind would express it with a question, such as “how can this be possible?”
Our learning and the development of our World View begins at birth with our biological mother and the rest of our family of origin, whatever the makeup. What we have learned is either reinforced or challenged with every new or mundane experience.
This is the psychology of learning, and it relates directly to our personal relationships. For example:
- If a mother holds and feeds her baby immediately after birth and with regularity afterward, the infant learns trust for mother and feels safe in the world. If the mother stops holding and feeding her infant because she is sick or injured or absent, what the infant has learned is now challenged and the trust diminishes. If the mother resumes holding and feeding the child, the child may learn to trust the mother again if she is consistent in so doing.
- If the father of a 5-year-old girl consistently comes home from work every evening and gives her a hug and a smile and a kiss on the cheek, the girl trusts that daddy loves her and is happy to see her. Her frame of reference taught her to expect daddy to come home and display affection. If the father stops coming home after work, or comes home but stops his display of affection for her, she will experience cognitive dissonance. Her question will be “how is this possible that daddy doesn’t want to hug me?”
–More to come on this topic, soon–
(This, I originally wrote on July 25, 2015. I got sidetracked and saved it as a draft but forgot it until now, January 31, 2016, when making website updates.)