Dump Vultures

How much of your personality is your intrinsic self? If y0u are braving against mere survival instincts, then against comfort, then in spite of these influences insisting on having your personal preference – are you then displaying true personality? It takes some comfort level before types will declare their independence and take a chance on their guns to see them through. Some types won’t be needy, will test fate even when they’ve got next to nothing to depend on. Others will need to be much more self-assured before they’re willing to risk (astrological Cancers, I’m thinking of you). Where do we draw the line between the effect of our environment and the effect of our soul’s urge to change our experience of our environment?

Where do you draw the line? I want to know as much as you do. I want to sleep at night, amidst both my dreams and my nightmares, knowing whether I’m being true to myself or giving in to impulses based on fear, even when I’m afraid. I want to know what I fear is being taken from me, so that I understand that fear better. So that I understand me better, so that I might become a stronger person in its wake (no pun intended – but not too shabby, eh?).

“True personality” might include an acceptance of childhood environment and adult environment into its calculation, but I have a hard time accepting this. If we were born and raised in our personal rendition of Utopia, and still there, among other Utopians, who would we be upon our choosing? Or better yet, if we could design it, what would “Utopia” be like?

On my route back from work I usually see many vultures circling over the dump. They are attracted by the scent of bacteria in the wind, their best chance of eating in the way they are designed. I want to believe that humans are more than that. When we are assured of our basic or “physiological needs”, our “safety needs”, and perhaps our “love and belonging needs”, according to Maslow, we seek to satisfy more personal desires. That’s where personality may shine brightest, for we are no longer burdened by the seriousness of our needs or the grasp it has on our minds. When we feel a sense of desperation or duty and we must stave off less immediate concerns in order to accomplish a basic level of security, making adjustments to our personality to do so, we are some other version of ourselves. Are we each one personality, or a set of personalities tailored according to the situations we find ourselves in?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Here’s an interesting version:

Murray’s Needs

One final question: Is a unique personality a total combination of all consistent traits in action or reaction to the fulfillment of needs, wearing a slightly different “mask” of the self as befitting the needs of the moment?

I Just Got Called Out By Someone I’ve Never Met

Shyness: a double whammy

If you are socially anxious (otherwise known as shy), you likely fret that you don’t come off well. Unfortunately, you’re probably right. Shy people convey unflattering impressions of themselves, says DePaulo. But not for the reasons they think. People don’t see them as lacking in smarts, wit or attractiveness but as haughty and detached. When you’re anxious, you fail to ask others about themselves or put them at ease in any way, which can be seen as rude and self-centered.

In a way, many shy people are self-centered, points out Bernie Carducci, psychologist at Indiana University Southeast and author of Shyness: A Bold New Approach. They imagine that everyone is watching and evaluating their every move. They think they are the center of any social interaction, and because they can’t stand that, they shut down (unlike an exhibitionist, who would relish it). Socially anxious people are so busy tracking what others think that they can’t act spontaneously. Still, many people find them endearing, precisely because they don’t hog attention.

via Metaperceptions: How Do You See Yourself? | Psychology Today

Being self-centered isn’t just for extroverts anymore. (Not trying to be snarky – the statement in the above quote is true.) Preoccupation with your reputation is grounds for elimination from further consideration of your transformation from mere vacillation to emancipation.

In other words, if people find out how selfish you are, they will no longer hope for you to be free.

The irony is that “haughty and detached” is often the last things that a shy person wants to be. But then, “self-centered” is the worst. It’s a cause for guilt, and as you might imagine, a shy person gives in to guilt like a crater gives in to a meteor. The introspective personality catches on to this dynamic quickly, but knows not what to do with the realization. The reaction is emotional. Changing emotional states is easy for few, introvert or extrovert. Thus, the introvert feels stuck.

I “don’t come off well”, as I may have already admitted. I got over not being “the center of any social interaction”, but then again, I’m in my forties. Now I’m more of a social sniper: The well-timed comment or quip goes further than the speech, has more impact, and is easily more memorable. Let the blow-hards have their way, but the cunning will seize the day.

Ye Olde Myers-Briggs

via MBTIonline.com | The Myers-Briggs Personality Test

Currently one of the most well-known personality tests is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment. I’m not trying to disparage it by saying that the last time I took this test I came out a four-way tie. That’s not really their fault, that’s the story of my life. Allow me this aside:

My astrology chart is fairly well-balanced around the wheel, which for me means that I’m pulled in different directions at once. I’m some of this, but also that, and I land in an in-between place that is neither here nor there. I’d make a horrible Nazi. That’s part of why I’m attracted to the subject of personality: I appreciate the peculiar and often humorous traits of others, but I also need to – you guessed it – get a grip on myself. But a couple jots better than Britney Spears does.

If you hear anyone talk of being a personality type and rattling off four letters that are unpronounceable together, that person may have taken the Myers-Briggs (or another test based on the same/similar concept, such as 16 Personalities. Both were launched from the work of Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, who, in his 1921 book Psychological Types, laid the conceptual groundwork these tests stand upon).

16 Personalitites.com

I think of myself as an INTJ (Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging) type, or as 16 Personalities puts it, an “Architect”. Yet again, in their test, I came out nearly a 4-way tie (though technically a 2-way tie).

I think these tests are wonderful, and everyone should take them. Take all personality tests, for that matter. There is no real harm. But what does eat at me is that they are only asking me about me. My perception of myself, no matter how honest I think I’m being, is most likely skewed.

Were these tests handed to friends (let’s do it) and family (shudder), I expect the results would be different. I think me next post will be about the Johari window, and how best to clean it.

Relatability

I know individuals who are “outspoken” by voicing opinions and displaying traits that go against the “regional” average personality, crossing the line of what’s socially acceptable where they live. Let’s say that one of these individuals lived in the same town his whole life, until he takes a very extensive trip around the world, lives in various place and gets to know people in a number of different cultures. Years later he returns to the town he originally lived. He now can see the difference between his hometown’s culture and other cultures. If most of the other cultures he exposed himself to tolerated his personality easily, does he readjust his perception of himself? Does he turn a critical eye toward his hometown? I sure hope so. I wonder what Dolly Parton’s take is on this.

The way you describe your personality traits is in relation to a perceived average, how you describe the “average person”. I only say this to acknowledge it, the subjectivity of it, or better yet the subjective idea of objectivity of it. Are you following me so far?

There’s a lot I’m not accounting for here, or at least haven’t addressed yet, such as the difference or relationship between behavior and the personality, or Woody Allen. Think of going out with your girlfriend when she feels like she’s got something to prove, and the disaster she half-calculated it would be.

In my hypothetical individual and his hypothetical trip abroad, he’s living in comfort, the places he lives are in stable condition without turmoil or desperation. The economy is good, it was before the 2016 election, there was a sense of relative stability. That’s not reality now, but I need something to hold still long enough for us to look at it under a magnifying glass.

So is there an objective human personality? Some standard we can compare ourselves against? George Clooney, even? I hope that in my research I find someone who can argue that there is or isn’t such a thing, one way or the other. I don’t mind being proven wrong, as long as it’s proven in the real world, not Fox News “proven”.

Diss-claim-erz

This blog is about the subject of personality of the individual person. It is not, however, as the character Abigail Williams in The Crucible put it, “a respecter of persons”. I have some awful things to say (and jokes to make) about certain personality traits and the people who currently possess them.

If I’m going to write under a nom de plume you can be sure I’m not going to hold back.

My goal is to bring a wide range of perspectives, insights, models and tests into one place where it is all easily accessible and useful to you. If I set the tags up right, it should work.

I have an education, but it’s not in a field related to this topic, and I’m not going to pretend to sound like it is. I don’t know the lingo. I would use the correct jargon if I knew it. I suppose I’ll pick it up as I go along. That doesn’t mean that I don’t take the subject seriously or lack respect for the ideas of professionals in the field. I’m learning as I go, and will try to step carefully. I may have to go the long way around an idea, in the absence of realizing the most concise expression.

This blog isn’t about me, but it is unavoidable that my personality will be on full display in much of what I write. If you wrote this blog, wouldn’t yours?

“Personality” may mean different things to different people. It shouldn’t. Our perception of the topic is an important place to start.

Merriam-Webster says:

Personality: “3 a :  the complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual or a nation or group; especially :  the totality of an individual’s behavioral and emotional characteristics b :  a set of distinctive traits and characteristics of the city” source

Again, in this blog my concentration is on the individual, not a group or location or nation. The influence of an individual’s environment on his/her personality is a topic for other posts, and hopefully there’ll be many. There’s no denying its importance, but keeping in mind that the personality people present in their environment (emphasizing certain traits, downplaying others) is not their true personality. That’s just fakery. Or at the very least, they are trained to behave a certain way, and that’s what comes out.