In life, a person's behavior can be influenced by life events. Some of these events are painful while others are pleasant. All of them can affect a person's psychology. In my case, I have had very few events that I can term as significant and life-changing. Most of those life events have come in adulthood. The most recent life event is also the most significant because of how much it influenced the person that I have become and how I view other people. In 2017 I lost someone that is very close to me, and since then I have been trying to make the most of my life while living in fear of suffering the same fate or losing another person close to me.
I didn't have any near-death experiences as a child. I also never witnessed or lost someone close to me as a child. However, I grew up in a close-knit community where they emphasized the importance of loyalty and friendship. My community members were always close and loyal to each other, and that aspect of the culture rubbed on to me. That aspect can be explained using the sociocultural perspective. According to the sociocultural view of psychology, the behavior or character of a person is influenced by the interactions they made during their upbringing. As a result, my personality emphasized friendship. Furthermore, the loss was not something that I had trained to handle, so I didn't know how to respond to the death of a friend. The loss of a friend broke my heart because he was someone that was so dear to me. It was not an incidence that I had been conditioned to deal with.
The period that preceded his death, he was admitted to hospital for acute Leukemia. He was in the hospital for a month, and we paid him a few visits during the period. He didn't show any signs of deteriorations because we talked and even walked around the hospital. He was so vibrant that one wouldn't be able to tell that he had cancer. Somehow, this period gave me an understanding of affective neuroscience. Despite his situation, he remained positive. He always believed he was going to be discharged from hospital. During our visits we ever made it seem like the appointments were temporary and that he would soon be released. He felt the same way, and his neurons responded to those positive emotions. He was still walking when doctors said he wasn't supposed to be walking. Other patients who were at the same stage of Leukemia were bedridden, but my friend was still walking around like another healthy person. I understood that the emotions of a person could influence the nervous system; especially the brain (Nordqvist, 2018). His positive attitude was contributing to maintaining his health.
One thing I concluded about my best friend is that he such a strong character. His strength gave me an understanding of the psychological perspective of behavioral genetics. As his father stood there looking at his son, it was easy to see where my friend got his strength from. The ability to withstand stressful situations was a trait he had obtained from his father. It wasn't something that he was planning to do. Most times, he wasn't even aware that he was doing it. His resilience was something that came naturally to him as it did to his father. They would laugh and chat about useless stuff and when it was time to go home one wouldn't feel guilty about leaving him in the hospital because he acted like he was okay. He had already made new friends in the hospital. It was a trait that was influenced by his genetic composition and heredity.
Moreover, there is also the psychological perspective of evolutionary psychology. According to Psychology Today (2018), the human mind has been shaped by the pressure to survive. That means that the actions of the human brain at the times of grief and geared towards ensuring the survival of the individual. In this case, my mind developed an adaptive measure towards the pain that I was undergoing. Despite my friend being in bad condition, somehow I didn't see the situation as all bad. My mind had taken an adaptive measure to ensure my continued survival. My friends Leukemia had been discovered late, and there was little chance of him getting out of it alive. But there was no way we could bear to live with such truth in mind and therefore my friend's psychology along with mine chose to forget the details about how bad his situation was. Even after the burial, we quickly moved on to other activities to the point that I can't help but feel some measure of guilt. Evolutionary psychology is trying to forget that traumatizing event so that I can continue living a normal life.
However, I try the best to keep those memories in mind and turn them into motivation for living my life. Cherry (2018) says that a person's character or behaviors can be conditioned to think and act in a certain way regardless of their genetic background, internal thoughts or personality traits. I wasn't raised in hard conditions that could prepare me for this kind of an event. My parents did an excellent job of shielding me from the dangers of the world. However, as a grown-up, here I am with a situation that I had to overcome and that has proven to be the most challenging task yet. I had to find a way to turn those tragic events into positive events that I can use for, and that has pushed me to the field of psychology. I want to gain a good understanding of the human mind and learn how I can help other people who may be struggling to go through difficult situations. The loss of my friend somehow shaped my career path towards taking an interest in psychology. From the perspective of behavioral psychology, I have conditioned my character and thinking to follow a specific path regardless of my genetic background or personal history.
Despite conditioning my character, I still find myself susceptible to unconscious thoughts. That perspective of my life falls under the psychodynamic theory of psychology. That experience has left me with the constant fear of death and losing another person who is close to me. The panic began as rational thought and has now developed into a part of me. Unconsciously, there is always that thought that I will not live forever. What is even worse is that I keep thinking I can undergo the same kind of pain any day. Every time I receive a phone call from home I am worried that something terrible may have happened to one of my siblings or parents. The conscious and subconscious thoughts from that event have shaped my personality to a different angle. Before the event, I was social and outgoing. Always making new friends here and there. After the death of my friend, I have become an introvert where I have retreated from the world. While that may seem to be bad, it is also good to some measure. I am now able to focus on my studies and concentrate on activities that add value to my life.
On the downside, the life event has had a negative impact on my cognitive processes. My attention span has indeed decreased because my mind subconsciously keeps worrying that something bad is about to happen to the people I love or me. The psychological aspect of cognitive psychology says that the thought process affects how a person behaves. In this instant, my cognitive process has made be unable to hold a conversation for long before my mind wanders off to some fictional scenario or place. The attribute of being a good listener had made me an excellent person to hold a conversation with. Since the event, I cannot concentrate long enough to make a proper conversation with someone. The cognitive process influences my mood which in turn affects my behavior. That process can be explained using the cognitive approach to psychology because it looks at people's actions regarding their thought processes.
My friend's death was a life-changing experience. I was raised in an environment where I was shielded from such realities of life. Therefore, according to the sociocultural theory of psychology, my personality and behavior were not one that had been designed to deal with such as event. However, when I contemplate the event, I can come up with several other psychological perspectives that I can use to interpret how it influenced me. For a start, there are positive emotions which affected his overall health. The relationship between emotions and health are covered under neuroscience psychology. Then there is his resilience which resembles that of his father which falls under behavioral genetics theory of psychology. There is also our tendency to block out the truth and focus on the positive factors which are covered under evolutionary psychology where the human mind uses forgetfulness as an adaptive measure in painful situations. The event created some unconscious thoughts which influenced my behavior. That concept can be explained using the psychodynamic theory. Finally, there is the cognitive perspective of psychology which can be used to describe how my changed thought process has impacted my behavior.
Cherry, K. (2018, June 21). An Overview of Behavioral Psychology. Retrieved from very well mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/behavioral-psychology-4157183
Nordqvist, C. (2018, June 26). About Neuroscience. (Georgetown University) Retrieved from Georgetown University Medical Center: https://neuro.georgetown.edu/about-neuroscience
Psychology Today. (2018). Evolutionary Psychology. (Psychology Today) Retrieved from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/basics/evolutionary-psychology
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