Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about family of origin. Your family of origin is the unit that raised you, which may or may not be biological. We pick up a lot from our family of origin, whether through direct education or observation. This is a pretty commonly accepted concept; we often joke about turning into our parents or say we will NEVER do “X” like our mom/dad did.
Whether you like it or not, the people that raised you had a role in shaping the person that you are today. It can be difficult to discuss (or even recognize) how your family of origin impacted you. This is one of the benefits of talk therapy. Discussing your upbringing with a neutral third party can allow you to begin to explore how the way you were raised might have influenced your thoughts on everything from relationships to politics to the meaning of life. Developing an insight into these things can feel a little bit scary – which is okay! We can tend to feel defensive over these internalized beliefs. However, if you try to approach it with curiosity, you will find that you are able to increase your self-awareness while developing a deeper understanding of the world around you.
You can begin to work towards this by first noticing the judgmental thoughts you have. The next time you catch yourself having a thought like, “they always do this, they are so selfish” try tweaking it to “I am having the thought that they do this a lot and it is selfish.” Inserting “I am having the thought that” creates a degree of distance between yourself and the judgment. This allows you to explore how you were influenced by your family of origin and work towards a healthy curiosity that allows you to develop a stronger sense of self-awareness.