Modern day science approximates that 50% of who you are is based on your genetics. The DNA passed on to you by your parents and the 400,000 years of human generations before them, make up half of the composition of your personality. It's what you've got to work with and there's nothing you can do about it.
Now its the other 50% that is a bit more interesting in the fact that it is totally predicated by the environment we grow up in and the choices we personally make within those surroundings. Since birth most of us have lived with parents, siblings and relatives who had certain traditions, values and norms. This group of people you live with are located in a geographical location that has a dominant culture, religion and societal framework. All these pieces of the puzzle play a role in forming your personality, character and temperament. To exist with in a social system, one must conform to the norms and values of that system.
Don grew up in an Irish family where the gift of story telling and the attention it would bring you was a part of daily life. In his early years of life, he interacted with the world for the sole purpose of receiving approbation and praise in return. He was always asking himself, "What do people think of me?", "Do they like me?", "Do they think I'm funny and a great person to be with?" This tendency for self-affirming feedback became an addiction for Don and eventually approached neurosis. Finally, it was when people would give him positive feedback and he didn't believe they were being genuine that Don's sole purpose in life took a deep nose dive.
Maturity and true friends helped Don move beyond his personal paradox and to begin approaching life with a new paradigm. Don realized that his perception of personal worth and value could no longer be measured by the response of the people around him. He needed to be strong enough, courageous enough and worthy enough to love himself for just being who he is. He was okay with the fact that someone might not like him and might not enjoy his colorful story telling.
Researcher/Author Brene Brown has spent much of her life researching the human dynamics of shame, blame and guilt. For most of us, these three words can play a big part in our daily lives. Ironically, all three words require the receiver to agree with the blamer. In other words, if I am going to feel guilty about something I'm accused of being responsible for, I have to receptively choose to accept the guilt internally. When you learn to Dance With The Elephant, you can learn to shield yourself from these energy sucking demons and let them bounce off you like ping pong balls. You have the power of receptive choice to frame and direct your destiny in life.