“Who am I” is a question that you will inevitably encounter if you are interested in becoming a better human being. The answer will not appear somewhere, nor will you read it anywhere. However, there are some assumptions that we usually make when we try to answer such a question: we typically think we are our personality.
A bundle of likes and dislikes
But what exactly do we mean by personality? We all have an idea of what a personality means, but it is not easy to describe it. In a way, personality is a complex arrangement of likes and dislikes.
Somebody is one kind of person because they like certain things and dislike something other. For example, if you are an open person, it means that, on some level, you enjoy communicating with other people and sharing your thoughts. Conversely, if you are a closed person, you dislike these and prefer to stay alone.
You can also think of this argument the other way around. What if you had no likes and no dislikes? Would you have a personality? That is slightly tricky to conceive, but it can be an interesting thought experiment. If you did not like or dislike anything, you would no longer have a personality.
Our personality is essentially created by our thoughts, ideas, emotions, and opinions, which are all based upon likes and dislikes. We usually build our character based on what we think is good (we like it) and what looks bad (we dislike it). At the same time, we can also consciously create our personality, even though this is not usually the case.
Beaten around by life
We can shape our own personality if we want, but there seems to be much more to it than what we control. After all, our character is constantly evolving and changing by being beaten around by life situations. Whatever life makes us go through, we will become that kind of shape and form.
Take your own personality, for example. Do you think you would have the same character if you were born in another country? Or if you had to live with your grandma when you were 5 for the rest of your life? Or if you won the lottery five years ago, would you be the same person?
By reacting to everything that happens around him, slowly, a person finds shape. For instance, think of parenting. If the family situation and the people he grew up with were loving to him, he would become one kind of shape. If his parents were never really there for him, then according to social situations, he becomes another kind of shape.
Even for yourself right now, sometimes the outside situations decide what kind of person you are. You go to work; you are one kind of person. You are with your family; you are entirely another type of person. In other words, your personality is constantly shaped by external situations: the way they treat you, the way they beat you around, that is what your person turns into. Unless you choose to take charge of this persona-making business!
- Our personality is a complex arrangement of likes and dislikes
- We can shape our own personality if we choose
- External situations are constantly constructing our personality.