do you ever wonder about how much of you is you and how much is based on other people? like what parts of your personality would be the same no matter what place and time you were born into and which parts developed because of the environment you found yourself in. a common characteristic of INTPs is that we don't try something unless we know we'll excel at it. for example, i'll probably never ride a horse. not because i don't want to, but because i don't know that i'll get it right the first time. the idea of being okay with the fact that i'm not good at something i've never done before is ridiculous to me. i just don't know how to do it. the fear of failure is extreme. the fear of not being good or as good or good enough defines a lot of what i do. that's just the way i am, the way i've always been.
but here's where the lines blur. is that really who i always was or is it who i became? is there really a difference? since i was little, i've been known to be the smart one. not trying to sound cocky here, but it was just assumed that i would do well at whatever i tried. this image of perfection everyone had of me came with its own set of pressures. i hate to disappoint people, and if they expect me to be perfect then that's what i had to be, or so baby me always thought. but when your aim is constant perfection, it's hard to try new things that you aren't perfect at. it's hard to fail at something again and again, even if it is something you've never done before. trying new things, things i wasn't absolutely certain i could do, became an impossibility. because perfect people do not make mistakes. and i had to be perfect for the people around me. or that's one way of looking at it, at least: i need to be good at anything/everything i do because that's what people expected of me.
you know, though, having everyone think of you as perfect is a lot less satisfying than it would seem. you don't congratulate someone who's never had a sip of alcohol on their sobriety. you don't go around giving awards out to people every night for not killing someone. you don't throw a celebration when a senior in high school can correctly solve ten simple addition problems. you don't because that is all expected. it's just the natural order of things, and what's expected is never as exciting or praise-worthy as something that's not. so actually doing well in anything was never a big deal because, well, of course i was going to do well. i'm me, after all. and any small slip was/is the end of the world because, well, i'm me after all.
so you could draw a compelling case that the part of my personality that refuses to see mistakes in myself as a normal part of life (though i'm more than okay with others making mistakes and go out of my way to assure them that everyone does. yeah yeah i can be hypocritical. whatever.) is because of the environment i grew up in, but you could also convincingly say that that's just the way i am, the way i've always been. it's just me.
do personality traits that are completely you, unadulterated by any outside forces, exist? is everything you are based off of who you know, what you've seen, and where you've been? does it make any difference?
*Beautiful Disaster - Jon McLaughlin