When I think of my childhood and my mother, I immediately think about the kind of learning processes that I have been through. Some of my learning experiences have been very Pavlovian in nature, when I would learn to associate certain sounds and expressions with different events and proceedings. Other times, I have been acutely aware of the reinforcement theories - such as those used by Skinner - which my mother used to use on me to make me learn things. For example, I remember that I would get a rap on the back of my hand for touching the electric cable that would hang from the electric iron. When this happened a few times, I would then never touch it since I knew that my mother would hit my hand and I did not want to be hit. I think all of these things that my mother did with me ended up in making up the personality and the identity that I have today.
Personal identity, according to John Perry, can be divided into three areas, the body, the memory and the soul. John Perry's “A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality” discusses these aspects of personal identity and these three parts of the 'self'. I feel that I am also in touch with these realities of my own identity. I know that the body that I have is the same one that I have always possessed. It has changed considerable since I was born but it is still the same body. I remember looking at myself when I was a little child and wondering how long would be till I can be tall enough to look in the mirror without having to stand up on a stool and how I would look when I grow up. Now that I am grown up and I look at myself in the mirror, I wonder exactly how I must have looked to myself when I was a little child. It is all so strange that a person wants to grow up so quickly when one is a child but then wants to stay young forever. Sometimes I end up wishing that I was a child again so that I do not have to do all the things that I have to do. Sometimes I wish that I can just run back into time and become the irresponsible, simple little girl that I used to be.
Another thing that I am now aware of which I am sure I was not previously aware of as a child are my strong emotions. Even though I remember being very angry and extremely happy at various occasions in my childhood, and I also remember expressing my feelings, I could hardly give them a name at the time. All I would know is that I was feeling upset, but I did not know why. But after growing up, and reading the report Mood Regulation and Emotional Intelligence: Individual Differences by Carol L. Gohm, I found that there are many different kinds of emotions and many different ways to experience and interpret them. This report is a study that examines the different emotions and their varying degrees that a particular person feels and how these feelings affect the mood of the person. The report identifies the different types of emotions that people feel based on meta-emotion units of clarity, attention and intensity, identifying four basic kinds of emotions: overwhelmed, hot, cerebral and cool. The report also explains how these different kinds of emotions come about and how the presence of these emotions affects the way a person behaves and his or her moods. The report also examines how the intensity, clarity and the nature of the emotions experienced by the people affect their decision-making abilities and actions.
Coming back to my memories, I remember my 11th birthday so very clearly. My mother gave me one of the best gifts that I have ever received in my whole life. It was a beautiful pendant shaped in a shape of a butterfly. It is still the most valuable and cherished item that I possess. I am really attached to that piece of jewelry and I am always wearing it around my neck on a silver chain. I do not know why but somehow wearing the ornament gives me strength and I feel that I am close to my mother. Whenever I feel troubled or I feel heavy at heart, and I am missing my mother, all I have to do is hold the butterfly in my hand and close my eyes and suddenly everything becomes alright. It is a symbol of my mother's love for me is the most precious of my belongings. I still remember the day of my birthday when my mother gave me the pendant as a gift. I have always loved butterflies and I was so happy when I received a gift from my mother packed in a wrapping paper that had many butterflies on it. I remember the stab of happiness in my heart and a glint of tears in my eyes as I opened the packet and found the beautiful pendant inside a rectangular box. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I can see it now as it hangs from my neck and I can feel the presence of my mother with me and all around me.
The reason that I include this piece of jewelry in this essay is because this is what ties my mother to my personality and my emotions. The gift that my mother gave to me makes me look deep inside of me every time I look at it. It has also brought be great luck and happiness and I now associate all these emotions with my mother. It is a physical piece that links my soul with my mother's. After reading the textbook book by Hockenbury and Hockenbury, I realized many things about my own psychology and my own self that have stemmed out of this powerful relationship that I have developed with my mother through this medallion. It has given me a lot of confidence and has my self esteem in various situations. I am and forever shall be grateful and obliged to my mother for treating me so well and for providing me with the personality that I have today.
1. Gohm, Carol L. “Mood Regulation and Emotional Intelligence: Individual Differences.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 2003. 594-607.
2. Hockenbury, Don H. & Hockenbury, Sandra E. Psychology. 3rd Edition. Worth Publishers. 2003.
3. Perry, John. A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality. Hackett Publishing Company. Indianapolis, Indiana. 1978