‘Don’t be trapped by your own personality’.

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father and son walking down dock with crab trap

‘Don’t be trapped by your own personality’.
What on Earth could I possibly mean by this? How can a personality trap you anyway?
Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that many of us end up being a little trapped and limited by the impressions we want to give others about ourselves. We ‘craft’ a certain persona and then that persona ends up in some ways becoming bigger than us. It becomes the ‘real’ us and we find that we’re unable to break out of that mold.
What Would You Do?
Human beings have a natural inclination to want to be consistent. We like the idea that the way we act today is congruent with the way we acted yesterday and the way we will act tomorrow. This consistency gives us a sense of continuity and suggests that we have a personality and a set of characteristics – rather than just reacting in the moment as a piece of biological machinery.
And when we are consistent, that means that others feel they can predict our behavior. They don’t need to worry that you’re going to suddenly fly off the handle, to be highly offended by something they say etc. That’s Jeff! Jeff is always easy going!
Jeff loves apple sauce!
Jeff is such a democrat at heart!
But the reality is that people change. Over time, our opinions can start to vary and so too can our personalities. This is actually a good thing. Growth is normal and healthy and it suggests that we haven’t stagnated.
Likewise, situations can vary. Some days we will feel great and some days we will get out of bed on the wrong side. Some situations will be just slightly too much for us to be relaxed about.
But sometimes we are so keen to be seen as consistent and we so badly want to be ‘true to ourselves’ that we feel we can’t act in the moment. We end up pretending that we want to do something because it is more typical of who we are. Or we end up acting relaxed about something that is actually bothering us.
We feel stuck with one political affiliation because we’ve invested so much time and effort into it.
The irony is that we try so hard to be ‘ourselves’ that we actually end up smothering ourselves and acting like someone else entirely.
And this is why it’s so important that you don’t double guess yourself. Don’t try to be ‘you’ and don’t shy away from occasionally letting people down, occasionally telling people off, or occasionally acting a little differently from the way everyone expects you will.
In fact, sometimes it is good to let the world know that you’re not always going to act a certain way. That you have a line that shouldn’t be crossed. And that they do need to be just a little careful about how they act around you.
So the next time your barista asks if you want ‘your usual’ when really you fancy a chai latte today… let them know!
Citizen Coaching and Counselling provides one to one, couples and family counselling in Birmingham from our counselling centres in Birmingham City Centre and Jewellery Quarter. We have a number of counsellors that specialise in this work who cna help you through difficult times. We have appointments available seven days a week – including evenings and at weekend daytimes.