Just released: men with a variant in the gene DRD4 are 30% more likely to cheat. Here come the excuses… Clearly, genetic predispositions affect our desires and impulses but do NOT dictate cheating anymore that it would someone with an anger gene being excused for murder.
But it does let us know that there are some who have greater impulses for thrill seeking (that’s what the gene is more about, not sex) and controlling that impulse may indeed take more strength for those who fall into this genetic category.
All of us have impulses and we’ve all failed at controlling them at some point. Have you every overeaten, drank a bit too much, stayed up too late kicking yourself the next day when you feel lousy? You might even berate yourself that next day with, “What was I thinking?” And yet, you’ll probably do it again sometime. Impulse control is always being managed but this study attempts to explain why some are having greater difficulty than others.
The truth is that a genetic predisposition is only the start; it’s what life serves you that will more likely dictate your behavior. What does our childhood say about us? Were we loved, nurtured, made to believe in ourselves? Or were we largely given the impression that we are not valuable, capable, or worthy? It’s never an all or nothing message but we grow into people that have this inner voice that tells us who we are and we begin seeking situations that feed those beliefs.
If you feel worthy and loved, you are able to love others easier, do things that bring you success and equally important, NOT do things that sabotage your life’s efforts. But when you feel less than, you will rationalize all sorts of behaviors that ultimately lead you to plant seeds of potential disaster and get you to the place you internally believe you should be, unworthy and full of problems.
This doesn’t mean that even the healthiest among us don’t have challenges and struggles, but it does mean that many people are inviting much more struggle into their lives than they realize.
Gene or no gene, confront and be honest with yourself. If the consequence is something you don’t want to deal with, don’t rationalize it, and instead use the honesty to help yourself back away from it and replace it with something positive.