The great thing about personality is that there’s no right answer as to what exactly it is and how it comes to be. Some would say it’s not important and is simply a bi-product of living with a high intelligence, others would say it is paramount to understanding ourselves but its secrets are deeply hidden in the unconscious.
Big names in psychology have put forward tests in an attempt to measure aspects of personality and give people and idea of how their persona conforms within different trait spectrum, like The Big Five Personality Test and the MBTI Personality Test. I think these are greatly insightful and you can find my results at the end of this article.
The way I’ve thought of personality for a long time though has been a little different from all that I’ve seen and read. There very well might be a theory similar to the idea I have in my head of personality but I haven’t found it yet. If that is indeed the case, please feel free to alert me to it in the comments.
All 3 of Your Personalities
That’s right, three. The first thing many people assume is that you only have the one personality, and that personality is what makes you, you. One of the three personalities fits in well with this but the other two I feel cannot be ignored.
Really it is more like a spectrum with three main points, your true personality, your social personality and your ideal personality. We’ll take a look at these one by one before explaining how these work in everyday life.
This is the you that is active when in solitude. Without any social stimuli to cause any effect on you, you are left with your true personality that is mostly free of inhibition and limitation. Think of it as the default setting you sink into when you’re relaxing at home by yourself.
I believe that no-one can act 100% like themselves while other people are present as we are always trying to appear a certain way to others, something we do to come across as more attractive (in a host of different ways) to peers etc. With this in mind, the only time you’re not pressured and/or not holding back yourself is when you’re alone. This is your true personality which you only show a little, bit by bit, to people you become close with.
Here’s the one that comes out when around people, it is very versatile and changes to meet whatever challenges it must. An example would be the social personality changing from when you’re talking to your boss, to when you’re talking to your good friends. It’s here to keep up the persona that lets you fit in while still letting some of your actual personality through so you’re not as boring as the colour beige. Arguably this is the most useful personality but seldom the one most people want to put forward all the time.
That strong, confident and witty person you look up to and wish you were in your head, but alas it was never to be. Instead this is the image you continually grasp at regardless of whether you are alone or with people. In your mind, the closer you are to this, the better. Naturally your image of an ideal personality will greatly affect how you develop over time as it can be a good or bad influence on you.
I don’t believe anyone ever actually reaches their ideal personality as the goalposts change as you change, you’re forever chasing the idea of being that amazing person you’ve dreamt up. Still though, how you are will keep trying to gravitate towards this personality and hopefully that leads to constructive growth.
The Bottom Line
I think some people need to entertain their different personalities more than others, for example, particularly social people will feel the need to stretch the social personality more than the quieter individuals who are probably in tune more with their true personality. Like everything, balance is important, meaning adequate time should be spent on developing both the true and the social personality to keep growing as a person. The ideal self should also remain a semi-reachable goal at the least, it’s not easy to change one’s idea of an ideal self, but having one that isn’t too different is bound to make the individual love themselves more instead of disliking who they are.
That’s the personality idea I had in my head anyway, it’s simply an idea for thought though and I’m aware personality certainly isn’t something that can be summed up in an 800 word article. Feel free to bounce your own ideas back or tell me what you think in the comments below.
Featured Image: ©Valentina_A