What is personality? Is character the same as personality?
There are many concepts and theories of personality. Ancient philosophers already wondered who we are, and what makes us like that. Many eminent scientists have dealt with this topic, and depending on the current in which they worked, their concepts also changed and evolved over time.
It can be assumed that personality is a characteristic, relatively constant way of reacting every human being to the social and natural environment, as well as a way of interacting with it. To put it simply, it’s the way we react to our environment, it’s all who we are and what we are, and consequently what choices we make. Personality, however, is not the only determinant of action. According to the trait theory, a personality is a set of relatively permanent psychological traits or dispositions of an individual, differentiating it from other individuals.
WHAT IS CHARACTER?
The concept of character is not used in psychology. Rather, we are talking about personality, i.e. a relatively permanent tendency to react in a certain way, which is shaped in the course of human life, and about temperament, i.e. inborn psychophysical features that are visible from birth, both in humans and animals. Temperament is therefore the foundation of the personality.
HOW IS PERSONALITY FORMED?
Personality is shaped throughout life, especially during childhood and adolescence, through experiences, contacts with people significant to a given individual, social roles played by a given person, as well as repeated or exceptionally strong events. Inherent biophysical features, i.e. temperament, also play an important role here.
Personality develops gradually. In the process of shaping it, a person achieves the ability to process incoming information, thanks to which he creates a picture of the world and himself, sets values and goals, creates his own beliefs about objects, people, and situations, thanks which his behavior becomes constant and repeatable.
As I mentioned, there are many concepts of personality and therefore different personality types can be distinguished. In this article, we will look at the concept of personality developed by Costa and McCrae according to the trait theory. On the basis of their research, they distinguished 5 characteristic personality traits that each person has, but of different intensity. They are neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. According to this theory, each person has these traits, but everyone has an individual mix of them. We will look at each of them in turn:
The severity of this trait means a relatively persistent tendency to react with emotions such as fear, aggression, hostility, and impulsiveness to the surrounding events. People with high levels of neuroticism are described as hypersensitive, shy, and often reacting with fear and anxiety. On the other hand, people who show a low level of neuroticism are described as emotionally balanced.
The severity of this trait means a relatively constant tendency to seek social contacts, cordiality, assertiveness in relationships, activity, and the search for sensations. These people like it when a lot is going on around them, they like to engage in many activities, and they are characterized by positive emotionality and enthusiasm. In turn, people with a low level of this trait are called introverts, i.e. people who value their own company more, make it difficult for them to establish new relationships, and too many stimuli and emotional situations are overwhelming.
OPENNESS TO EXPERIENCE
The intensification of this feature means a relatively constant tendency to cognitive curiosity, tolerance, being guided by aesthetics, feelings, ideas, values, and above all, the desire to learn about the surrounding world. People with a low intensity of this trait are most often described as conservative and rigid in their views, reluctant to explore the world, and adhering to established ways of proceeding.
The intensification of this trait means a relatively persistent tendency to adapt to others, to be guided by trust, straightforwardness, compassion, modesty, and altruism, and sometimes it may also be associated with a tendency to be sympathetic. People with a low level of this trait will have a tendency to force their opinion at all costs and ignore the views and feelings of other people.
The intensification of this trait means a relatively permanent tendency to perseverance and strive for achievements, improving competencies. These people will be characterized by duty, prudence, self-discipline, and a tendency to order. People with a low intensity of this trait are described as not very persistent, having a tendency to start and not finish tasks, and chaotic.
LET US APPRECIATE WHO WE ARE
It is worth remembering that, according to Costa and McCrae’s theory of personality, each of the above-mentioned features is present in our lives with greater or lesser intensity. Moreover, one should not judge these traits as to whether it is good to have them or not. Each of them can bring us benefits and cause problems depending on the situation in which we find ourselves. It is worth being aware of your characteristics and trying to make the best use of your unique mix of personality traits to make the best use of your potential. Let us try to derive value from what we already have, and who we are. Let us appreciate what a unique personality we are.