Being left-handed is a characteristic about myself that I've always been extremely proud-it makes me different from everyone else. In fact, for centuries people have had their own assumptions about left-handedness and what it says about a person.
First, a little history on the reason why people prefer to use one hand over the other: most scientists agree that the hand people use most frequently is directly linked to what hand is held closest to the mouth while still in the womb. Over time, the unborn person develops comfort for this hand and uses it the most in life. There are a variety of other theories, such as the levels of testosterone and estrogen affecting a fetus. One theory even suggests that a person who is left-handed experiences brain damage during the process of birth. However, a more genetic approach has recently been applied to this question within the last few years. Many researchers say that there are a couple specific genes that can be transferred through a family that decide someone's preferred hand of use.
It was not until fairly recently that people started looking at left-handedness as a positive attribute. "Sinistrality," another name for left-handedness, comes from the Latin word for "left" but could also mean "evil" or "unlucky." In many major civilizations the world had seen, the translation for left or left-handed has had a negative meaning. In Mesopotamian cultures, left-handed people were often seen as devilish or shameful to society. Not too long ago, young children were punished for wanting to use their left hand and were trained to become right-handed. One of these punishments included the tying of the left hand behind the child's back and forcing them to write and eat with their right hand.
However, many people throughout history saw left-handedness as something to be revered and respected. The Incas considered such individuals to have magic healing powers. Many types of Buddhists (specifically Tantric Buddhists) considered the left hand to be a symbol of power and healing. Left-handedness has either been seen as a terrible oddity or an envious trait all throughout history; no in-between opinions have existed.
Many consider left-handed people to have increased brain activity and a larger range for learning new information. Left-handed people are also known for their out-of-the-box thinking and intelligence. Great imagination, creativity, and music are just a few of the characteristics that we are said to have.
Famous left handed people include: Marilyn Monroe, Leonardo de Vinci, Ronald Reagan, Alexander the Great, H.G. Wells, Lewis Carroll, and Kurt Cobain. The talents and accomplishments of all the left-handed people before us are what give us left-handed people pride today. At the end of the day, the 12% of us all over the world know that we are left-handed people in a right handed world.