My Theory of Personality Personality refers to a combination of long-lasting and distinctive behaviors, thoughts, motives, and emotion that typify how we react and adapt to other people and situations. (Plotnik, 2012) Many psychologists, like Freud, theorize that it is a combination of many factors that affect the personality. Many of these factors ranging from early childhood development and unconsciousness to rewards and punishments. I have chosen four concepts that I believe contribute the most to the development of the personality and will explain why.
The concepts I have chosen to be part of my very own personality theory are: childhood experiences, interpretation of experiences, and observable behavior. Alfred Adler, an Austrian medical doctor and psychologist, once said that we develop our desires and drives during our childhood then our whole adulthood becomes affected by these childhood experiences. People keep striving during their adulthood to fulfill the desires they have developed during childhood. (Radwan, 2008) Childhood experiences are the first lessons you learn, the first observations you see, and are what I believe to be the basis of personality in adulthood.
For example, if a child grows up with an overprotective family, she/he will learn to fear strangers and have a lot of insecurities. But in adulthood they will have to deal with that fear, in such a way that it might transfer to another fear like a fear of taking risks or trying new things. Growing up, there are always situations when you have to meet new people or interact with strangers, and sooner or later you get over the insecurities you have about meeting new people and become friendlier, or you keep your anthropophobia and become very isolated.
Personality traits you learn at a young age sticks with you throughout your life even if you forget about them, you’re unconscious mind still puts them in to effect on a daily basis. Interpretation of experiences very from person to person. “Kids need to feel badly sometimes,” says child psychologist David Elkind, professor at Tufts University. “We learn through experience and we learn through bad experiences. Through failure we learn how to cope. ” Some people might take overbearing parents as a sign of love and affection.
While on the other hand a different person might see it as suffocating and annoying. Depending on how they interpret these situations of over-protection by their parents will build on their personality. (Marano, 2004) The child who sees the overbearingness as love will embrace and project it as an adult. But the child who sees the protectiveness as suffocating will want to take more risks and be more outgoing as an adult. A real question I have is why do we interpret these situations the way we do.
Most of the time I realize the way I react to certain situations is the same as the way my mother would have reacted. Maybe it is because we spent a lot of time together in my teen years. Observable behavior is basically what you see people do and how they act. There is a phase people say to one another that, in its simplest form, means take note and execute. “Pay it forward”. Paying it forward is when you notice someone going out of their way to do something nice for you. And in return you do the same for someone else.
In a way it is supposed to start a chain reaction and sooner or later more and more people will be kinder to strangers. But after a while the chain end due to someone not paying it forward. Maybe they didn’t notice or they were not paying attention. And when it comes time for them to pay it forward they think nobody has done it for them, so why should they do it for someone else? So, they do not help this person out. That is observable behavior, people learn by watching, and it can change them to be friendlier or ruder.
In my theory of personality, childhood experiences, interpretation of experiences, and observable behavior all contribute to it. Each has its very own contribution towards a person’s personality. Weather it is from early childhood and how the child is treated or young adulthood observing your environment and learning from your environment. Even how you see certain situations, you can see the positive side or the negative side. Just one behavior cannot be the only reason for a person’s personality. It takes many different events to establish it.