Understand your personality…
Knowing our personality type helps us function effectively, says Jitendra Nagpaleducation Updated: Sep 16, 2009 09:34 IST
Am I lucky? I am someone who is appreciated often, feels comfortable with my personality, intelligent, talkative, satisfied with material possessions, friendly and happy with my achievements.
Am I unlucky? I am someone who asks for help, makes discouraging comments, complains, feels persecuted, solicits sympathy, blames others for a number of things, acts selfish and feels sorry for herself.
The self begins to develop early in infancy when a portion of one’s experience becomes personalised and differentiated as ‘I’ and ‘Me’ experiences. It begins to learn what tastes good or bad, what feels pleasant and what does not and begins to evaluate its experiences as positive or negative as a criterion of the self-actualising tendency.
Gradually, as a child grows, parents and others react to his/her behaviour, sometimes in a positive way, sometimes negatively. The child learns to regard his/her action, thoughts and feelings as worthy or unworthy, which in turn forms personality.
Therefore, we need to be very empathetic in our dealing with children so as to not negatively impact or hamper the healthy development of their personality.
While categorising an individual’s characteristics, we tend to use words such as ‘introvert’ and ‘extrovert’. These are not just words but major personality types, first given by Eysenck, a theorist in psychology.
Introverts could be defined as people who share characteristics such as shyness, social withdrawal, and a tendency not to talk much. Extroverts share a tendency to be outgoing, friendly and talkative. By categorising others or ourselves as some personality types, we can understand them better and create a productive working environment as well as a healthy interpersonal relationship.
Behavioural scientists have many theories that make different predictions about the way people respond and adapt to certain conditions. The most general and universal explanation is as follows. This not only enables one to place oneself into a type but also helps us to know ourselves better to function effectively:
Coronary attack-prone behaviour pattern characterised by insecurity of status, hyper aggression, free-floating hostility, a sense of time urgency, impatience and competitiveness. For example, during examination, s/he looks at the watch repeatedly or if had to wait to see a doctor or senior manager, s/he expresses annoyance openly.
Neutral behaviour pattern characterised by an easy-going, non-competitive and relaxed lifestyle. For example, s/he works hard during examination and scores above average, celebrates and keeps performance consistent.
Generally a pattern characterised by unassertiveness, patience, not expressing negative emotions, self-sacrifice, co-operation and compliance with external authorities. For example, after a break-up with the boyfriend, she starts blaming herself and doesn’t want to do anything in life.
However, it is recognised that since behaviour can certainly be modified, a person may not remain consistently type A, B or C across his/her lifespan. Type-Bs are the most effective personality types who are in a healthy frame of mind, with complete physical, mental and social well-being, and it’s not merely because of the absence of disease or infirmity.
It is good to remember that we all come in different shapes and sizes. We all have strengths and weaknesses. What’s right for one person may not be right for another.
There are things important to us that others don’t care about at all. But we need to understand each other, and communicate well, because we live together in the same world.
We are not the same, so we will not always see things the same way. ‘I’ have my own thoughts and own ideas that may or may not fit into another’s vision of who ‘I’ should be. By learning more about our personality, and about other personality types, we can come to a better understanding of our strengths and weaknesses.
We can improve interpersonal relationships, revise expectations from others, improve our self-esteem and gain better self-knowledge that will help us to define and achieve goals and keep us happy and at peace.
The author is a senior consultant psychiatrist with Moolchand Medcity & Vimhans, New Delhi. Send him an email at email@example.com, marked ‘Dr Nagpal’.