What Is In My Genes.

Ok. I know when you hear that you are not certain about whether I am asking about your Jeans or Genes. Rest assured that I am asking about the genetic makeup of your being. GENES. Did you know that your genetic makeup has a generational history? Approximately three past generations are present in your current genetic makeup. So, if I trace this for myself. On my father’s side, I am looking at an English pauper farming to sustain his family who put himself on a boat hoping for a better opportunity, an American farmer who found working the dirt in the Midwest as a good gig and a machinist son who left the farm to find his way in the city.

Three past generations are present. What does this mean? I am not just talking about physical characteristics, family stories, or traditions though those are important. I am talking about emotional experiences that get embedded in our DNA and then find their way into the next generation. Studies of DNA have shown that emotional experiences modify the DNA and that these modifications get inherited and can be found to travel forward for at least three generations. Ever wonder why you are afraid of snakes and your neighbor has one as a pet? Given my father’s heritage, I should be a pretty good gardener, and guess what? I am!

Your temperament, reactivity to different stimuli, expression of feelings has a genetic history to it. The more we know about that history in terms of the emotional experiences of our ancestors, the easier it is to address our own emotional habits, reactions, and sensitivities. Perhaps my neighbor’s great-grandfather was a snake charmer!
Yes, I said three past generations. Research has shown us that our genes get modified by experience and that the modification gets passed down to future generations. We can look at this in two directions: the past and the future.

First, let’s examine the past. How much of your family’s history do you really know? Today we all have the opportunity to learn about past generations through these systems where you spit in a tube and mail it off to receive a detailed description of your ancestry. Researching your family history can be fun. This research can also help you understand yourself and your emotionality. Do you have any old documents gathering dust in the attic? Can you find one of your parent’s report cards? Do old photos stir some emotion for you?

Think about the emotional sensitivities that you have. Have you ever been curious as to why certain people and characteristics get a rise out of you when others do not? I seem to have a vivid, intense reaction to narcissistic qualities, while numerous others can enjoy the flamboyance and not be negatively affected. Hmmm. What lurks in my gene pool? I guess I should spit in a tube and find out.