We have this idea that people grow and change during the course of their lives. We stick with the idealized notion that people are born immature and unknowledgeable and, over time, progress in their knowledge and insights. This may be true in the wider world of knowledge of facts, data, and events. But it is not true in the area of self-understanding of one’s own emotional makeup.

Emotionally, people have learned most things by age two. They have learned how to regard themselves and how to see and respond to others. But all this learning has been taught before children learn to talk and the learning is unconscious so most people remain totally unaware of what they have learned. And, people are unable on their own to make changes in how they see themselves and others emotionally.

As children grow and become adults they just learn more refinements in their emotions, behaviors and interactions. But, they do not learn new ways of understanding themselves and others. As a result older people have the same styles of relating to others and to themselves as they did in childhood. When dealing with emotions and self-understanding in human beings, older is not wiser.

Is this true for you? Do you have any better emotional understanding of yourself now than you did as a child?

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