So I started listening to this podcast called Invisibilia. The most recent one I listened to was about whether or not we believe that our personalities are consistent or not. Do you believe that someone is born with a fixed personality or does their personality change as they age, the environment they are in, etc.? I personally believe that our personalities evolve. No one is born with a fixed personality. For example, I was a very shy child and continued to be shy up into my late teens and in my early 20’s that personality trait slowly disappeared. So sure, at one point in time people may have described me as shy but I don’t think anyone would describe me as that anymore. I think as we grow, evolve, our environments change, so do our personalities and this isn’t a bad thing.
Another thought is why do others view us as having a fixed personality? I believe we all have a work self, a home self, a self when we are by ourselves, a self when we hang out with friends, etc. Does this mean we are being “fake” in a sense? No, it’s how we respond/act in certain environments. At work I will be more professional, I won’t use curse words, I’ll dress professional, make myself look nice because I will be interacting with others in a professional setting. However with friends I’m going to wear comfortable clothes, I’ll cuss, I may not care to look as presentable because I’m with my friends. So my work friends may describe me as professional, courteous, well dressed, etc. When I’m with my friends, people my describe me as fun, outgoing, outspoken, etc. Do you see where I’m going with this? So when my friends see my they may think my personality is fixed because I consistently act this way around them but if they saw me at work they’d see a whole other side of me and my “personality”.
Our personalities are not fixed and are ever changing. In the podcast they interviewed a rapist. People close to him now describe him as caring, fun, poetic (I can’t remember them all exactly but they are all things you wouldn’t think people would use to describe a rapist). This man had changed. His personality back when he committed the crime is not his personality now. In a way the crime he committed doesn’t matter it’s dead, along with that person he was when he committed the crime. We all make mistakes, do bad things, maybe not to that degree but we all mess up at times. Does that mean we are forever a bad person? Does that mean we can never change? Of course not! That does not define who you are or your personality.
People can change, their personalities can evolve. In the example above one bad choice does not have to define your personality. Sure you can let it. You can continue to make the same bad choice but we all have the power to evolve into the person we want to be. So don’t ever think you’re stuck or that you will always be thought of as “x” because of how people see you and how they describe you.
These podcasts are incredibly interesting and really get you thinking. Nothing is as permanent as we may perceive them.