We do the best we can

As an addition to my previous post here’s a wonderful passage from Daniel J. Siegel’s book Mindsight (an absolute must read):

Our personality emerges as our inborn, often genetically influenced temperament–such as shyness or moodiness–interacts with our parents, peers, and teachers and with our experiences at home and at school. Random events–in the womb, in our early years, even later–also contribute in unpredictable ways to how we develop. We adapt to all that we are given and to all that we encounter. We know nothing else. We do the best we can, and our sense of self emerges in a dance among innate characteristics, adaptations to experience, and just plain chance. (104-105)

I emphasize the part about ‘doing the best we can’ because sometimes, in fact, almost all the time we tend to forget that each one of us comes from a particular context that justifies or, to put it more neutrally, explains the “faults” and “imperfections” in our character. Instead of going into the preachy-mode here allow me the following platitudinous proposition: what we need is understanding not reactivity.


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