Out of a discussion with my girlfriend, I suddenly blurted out, ‘I don’t think personality exists anyway’. To which I got a scoffed remark at a clearly uneducated statement. But as I continued, I won my partner round, ‘We are a result of our discoveries, likes and dislikes growing up, shaped by the people around us and the situations we’ve put ourselves in’. I didn’t say it exactly like that, as I can’t recall the specifics exactly. However once, my girlfriend agreed with me, I suddenly realised what I’d figured out.
This statement came from a desire to change certain aspects of my personality over the years and I tend to make immediate changes, if the issues are known and relatively easy to fix. eg: a ‘stubborn’ personality can alter by saying ‘yes’ to everything.
If what we know ourselves to be, subconsciously, is changed consciously and for long enough, I believe we create a conflict in our heads about what ‘us’ is exactly. 10 yrs ago I would have listed myself as, stubborn, shy, anti-social, quiet, uncompetitive and considerate of others. Today, I am still those things, but many of my friends would not agree with me. Also, I’m not sure I would agree with me either today. My conscious thoughts have suppressed my subconscious ones and now I have personality traits of confidence, an outgoing nature, charisma, an openness to change, and in the right situation a competitive streak.
I could be ‘false’, by forcing a different ‘me’ to the surface in social situations, but that’s the point, there is no ‘me’ with regard to personality. And I think there is no ‘you’ either.
Here’s an example, and one of my own. I was small for my age, at school I was weaker than my friends, this meant I couldn’t compete in the strength and physical activities on the same level as my classmates. This suppressed any confidence I had, fuelled detachment from the more active friends, and gained associations and new friends in the areas I could excel – arts, music and writing and reading. All the while failing to be picked (or picked last) for sports teams, not winning the attention of girls that were drawn towards the older looking boys and causing myself think less of myself further, to question my looks and to focus on solo activities, like skateboarding, photography and playing the guitar.
Nothing today physically stands in my way to be a different type of person, physicality was an issue when I was 13, and my stature then was the catalyst for many things I stand for now.
If this is true, then I have created a life and all the connections with others within it, from that moment. That doesn’t mean that I couldn’t have developed strengths and interests in team activities, as I could have become a sports coach, but it does highlight how my life, fuelled by my personality has allowed me to establish a ‘me’ that isn’t based on anything physical today – its all based on my mental perspective from then.
These are my reflections, if you look back into your childhood, can you see what shaped the you today? And can you consider how many elements of your personality connect up?
People often look outward online to connect their family history, but the only family history that can be changed exists with you, today and in future. Maybe looking inward at areas of our lives and subsequent personality traits, will make a better future for us all, whilst we still have the time to change things?