Personality like many things in life is sort of concrete and can be difficult to define at times. The basic definition is the relatively stable characteristics that are enduring and distinctive which means it separates people from the crowd. Psychologists that study personalities try to analyze why people act differently to different situations such as why one person acts shy when they first meet a stranger or while some people are just natural and funny and be themselves. Some scientists believe that this is genetically engraved and that people don’t have much control over this. Other psychologists believe that it’s the environment has a significant say in the way people act.
The truth is that personality is a multi dimensional topic and requires pieces from various theories because everyone is unique. One theory is the psychodynamic perspective which was discovered by Sigmund Freud. This theory basically states that personality merely exists on the surface and to find someone true personality you have to dig deep in mind. Psychologists who favor this approach believe that personality is an unconscious process, or that the individuals are not aware that they conceited or confident. He was known for his controversial theory that young boys have a sexual attraction to their mother, maybe he was referring to himself with his romantic relationship with his mother who was 20 years younger than his father. A theory about the unconscious mind that makes somewhat sense is when people are having a conversation and calls someone they know a different name. For example, if a woman broke up with her boyfriend and got a new boyfriend and calls her current boyfriend her ex boy friend name it could mean that he is still in her thoughts. Freud also believes that dreams hold important motifs in behavior. He also believed that personality can be constructed into layers like an ice berg. The part that is buried far below the water is the id or the unconscious aspect. A good example will be children because a lot of time they will act on pleasure without thinking about the end result much. If people would have a strong id personality than this would be a very scary place to live. People would act on natural impulses rather than conforming to society norms. The ego is nice to have because it helps people realize reality and help conform to society norms. For example, a lot of people realize that they can’t have their sex and aggression levels high and unmanaged and when they let it go than it usually lead to crimes like rape for one. Last, the superego also referred as the conscious aspect is the moral decider. It decided what is right and what is wrong. A lot of psychologist didn’t follow Freud’s unconscious theory and a psychologist that was heavily against it was Alfred Adler. He believed that people were motivated by purposes and goals to achieve something in life. He also believes that people had the ability to be aware of what’s going on in their life and to consciously monitor their day to day events. He also believed that people try to compensate for things they don’t have. For example, a person that tries to be superior may being doing it for their own insecurities because they will feel better about themselves by bringing other people down. This theory was known as individual psychology, in which states that people are motivated by purposes and to attain goals. When people attempt to overcome their insecurities this is known as compensation. When psychologists ignore the unconscious mind they tend to look at the environment more when determining personality, and this is known as the behavior approach. They believe that you can only determine personality by what you see on the outside surface. For an example, if someone is shy, work hard, and are motivated to achieve something, this is apart of their personality. This theory was founded by an early psychologist named BF Skinner. He also believed that a person personality can change due to the stress in the environment, so he believed that personality was never consistent. So a person that is shy can be shifted to someone that is aggressive and out going, and a person that is out going can be shifted into a shy personality all due to their environment. If a person is giving a positive reinforcement for a particular behavior, than it is more likely that it will come up again in the future. A different approach from Freud and Skinner’s theory is the humanist approach discovered by Carl Roger. This approach is a less pessimistic view, and finds the good in humans and believes that humans have the freedom to choose their own destiny. The central theme in Roger’s approach is self concept which is an individual’s view of their own abilities, behavior, traits, and personality. If a person has a distorted self concept than most likely they will be awkward to hang around and associate with. When analyzing self concept Rogers talked about distinguishing yourself between the real self and the ideal self. The ideal self is the type of person that we would like to be. If a person has a large conflict between their real self and the type of person that they would like to be than the more awkward or maladjusted they will act. To correct this we should try to focus more on our real self and develop a positive view on it and stop caring about what other people want or expect of us and try to have more positive experiences in our everyday lives. Another way we can help develop a more positive view of our real self is by a concept known as unconditional positive regard. This term can be defined by being accepting of different individuals regardless of their behavior which is kind of hard to do. When a person is being rude, aggressive, or disrespectful, as weird as this sounds they still need support and to be loved. This doesn’t mean to hug someone after hey punch you, but more like “I don’t like the way you are acting but I still care about you and respect you as a person.”