The cells, tissues and organs are what make our body but it’s our likes, dislikes, opinion, persona, character and attitude that makes us the human beings we are presently. We all come with a predefined set of characteristics and tastes that we finetune to accommodate other people’s interests and wishes. In this process of finetuning it is very much important that we don’t lose our identity as our tastes are what makes us X, Y or Z rather than belonging to a cluster in general. Such tastes and preferences are what attracts certain people to certain others while choosing friends, business partners and life partners. The food we like, the wine we choose, our political views, the idea of a romantic relationship, our perspective on life and the care and love we show towards other people strongly represent our identity-all these are what makes other people choose us over someone else, believe in us and fight for us through thick and thin of life.
Our tastes evolve with us. If you think deeply, there was a time when you were crazy about collecting the prized toy in the Kinder joy chocolate but now you have outgrown it; the burning desire to collect all superman figurines was the top priority in your 10th year; your love for Lays and Kurkure was never-ending; Mommy loved to dress her son as a girl child during his second or third year of life; you could identify every car model in your primary years at school; every kid wanted to become a teacher or a doctor when he/she grows up and so on. Some of them have obviously changed while your love for some others remains unmoved and has only grown more passionate with time! Most important of all, when we realize the magnitude of such changes we await with surprise for the changes that the future holds for us. Life is full of surprises and we wouldn’t want to throw in any more surprises by bringing in drastic changes to our preferences and choices. It is better to realize that though we might stick with our ideas we cannot decide for our preferences for a lifetime as novelty is a concept that’s sure to change our tastes and preferences irrespective of whether or not we like them. Don’t you feel good wearing the latest dress that’s in fashion? We definitely would like to purchase the latest model smartphone, upgrade our phones to the latest app updates and also wish to purchase those things that have the latest technologies and features. At the same time, we are also comfortable with familiarity which in turn becomes a habit. For instance, we choose to sit at the same table when we revisit a restaurant, prefer to take the same route despite other short cuts available and prefer to bring up our children in the same way like our parents nurtured us. Drinking beer or alcohol for the first time can bring in different feelings and questions simultaneously to the mind-Is this crazy stuff is what people are behind after all? Music too has the same effect-listening to a song for the first time might not invoke pleasure to our senses but when we play it repeatedly it might even become our all-time favorite!
Unity in Diversity
It stands on one side that our tastes differ but how willing are you to accept the fact that someone has exactly the same taste as yours? In reality, while a 100% mirror image is impossible there are multiple chances that you see someone wearing the same dress as yours, having answered a question in a similar manner or loves the same musician, actor or even sportsperson. Doesn’t it again depend on the person who is having these same views as yours? Individuals don’t feel bad to copy or even follow tastes and preferences of those people in the higher status. When those of the upper class do something, it is only right to follow and if these people reject some preference again, its only right to unfollow it.
People’s choices also depend on who exactly they are. Some love individuality and keep choosing things that they really love, some are simply followers and love walking in the footsteps of other people-when others around them do it, they follow suit and some are in between-they have their own choices and also like to sometimes pursue those things that other people do. If you wish to be unique there is always the stress of not getting into the group! Are you one of those people who wishes to stand apart from the rest of the crowd? Do you ask for unique styling choices and rare makeovers that others don’t choose? Do you wish to ride a bike over a Scooter despite being a woman? When we dig deeper, we find that most of our actions are governed by hidden biological forces that prove that we have little or no control over our personal tastes.
Realizing the Genetic Makeup of Your Body
We feel that we decide upon our choices but science feels that our behavior and choices are decided by our genetic makeup, factors in the environment that affect our genes and by genes that reside in our body due to the action of microbes within us (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/08/why-we-like-what-we-like-a-scientists-surprising-findings/). While it does sound bizarre thinking that our choice of ice cream flavor or favorite color is already inbuilt in our body there is scientific evidence backing it! People generally don’t like vegetables and hate those such as bitter gourd, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Researchers have found that almost 25% people hate broccoli not because they choose to hate it but because they are supertasters. Each of us have variations in genes that develop taste bud receptors and one of the genes, TAS2R38, brings bitter chemicals such as thioureas abundantly present in vegetables such as broccoli to the forefront. A supertaster’s taste bud receptor registers broccoli as a bitter vegetable and such a person avoids eating it even during the hardest of circumstances.
We find ourselves attracted to people who are strong mature, bold and confident. If you penetrate deep into your thoughts, these are all signs of fitness and health and traits that all of us would love to pass on to our next generation. Scientists in fact say that each of our traits and behaviors have a genetic background. This does not confine us to the whims and fancies of our genes but we can indeed modify our attitude and behavior with constant revisits. Also, the advent of gene editing brings upon us a plethora of possibilities which includes revisiting our genetic instructions too. There are thousands of opinions and traits sketched in our genes but it’s the environment and our experiences that decide which are the traits that see the limelight. Our parents, the environment and our school define our likes, dislikes and traits. Certain personalities are inbuilt within us but some others are nurtured by such factors. It ultimately depends on us to identify worthy traits, nurture them and mold ourselves into good humans who live with a definite set of ideologies, characteristics and choices.
Why You Like What You Like: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-you-like-what-you-like-73470150/?all
The Secret of Taste: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jun/22/secret-of-taste-why-we-like-what-we-like
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.