Is this the old Nature vs Nurture argument again? Not really. We all have a past. We can't change our past. Our parents are who they are, and they raised us in a certain way, which no doubt has implications on who we've become. Additionally, genetics are difficult to change. Studies show that having family members with depression increases our predisposition to such conditions. But this paints a pretty grim picture for those who have parents who struggle with one thing or another and for those who grew up in not such a nurturing environment. So is there any hope? YES!

We can't change what we have experienced in our past or our genetics however, we can create for ourself a positive, nurturing environment. We can choose the people we spend time with and what we do in our leisure time. No one is making us binge watch The Walking Dead on Netflix in order to get ready for the upcoming season instead of doing something more in line with our purpose and passion. There is no force making us hang out with a friend who is consistently putting us down, has a consistently negative attitude or other provides other various bad influences. But sometimes we get so defeated that it seems as though we have no other options.

We also have the ability to nurture ourselves. The media gets blamed so much for the negative information we have to deal with ad nauseam. However, the media does not get to choose what we do with that information. For many this information is unintentionally taken to heart, and we think, "Yes, I would be much cooler with that new watch that I can read my text messages with, I need to get that!" Perhaps an extreme example but I think it helps get to a bigger point. We all are receiving messages every day either from peers, coworkers, parents, or ourselves. Some of us are not very savvy on denouncing these messages. We allow false or half-truth messages become our actual truth, which can develop into anxiety or depression.

What half truths have you been taking to heart? What are some ways you could nurture yourself better? What changes in your environment can you make in order to lead a more authentic life?

By: Nicholas Smith, MA, LCPC