The Flexible Personality: Being More Than Just One Thing
Many people feel strong desire to concretely define themselves. We can see ourselves as having a particular personality type, having a particular star sign, cultural affiliation or supporting a certain sporting team. That's pretty understandable. The more we can define ourselves, the more we can feel certain about who we are and our place in the world. There's security for us in being able to say “this is me” or “I'm like that”. However, in defining ourselves and drawing our edges so firmly we do ourselves a disservice. How can we keep a flexible personality?
What we overlook in defining ourselves
The thing that we overlook when we define ourselves is that we can be more than just one thing. In our haste to draw a boundary around ourselves, we can forget that this boundary can keep other things out. To take an example, you might see yourself as being a good employee and lose sight of the fact that you raid the stationery cabinet to take stuff home.
When we define our own boundaries, we tend to reject the things that don't sit within these boundaries – even if they're true.
In a similar way, we might see ourselves as being extroverted. However, whilst this is true, other situations may bring out a more introverted part of ourselves. For instance, in a room full of introverts, an extroverted person might become even more conscious of their extroversion. In a different situation – such as in a room full of other extroverts – some extroverts would see themselves as being quite introverted.
Once we define ourselves, it's hard to challenge this. Our habits can take over, creating a dead weight.
More than just one thing
It can be helpful to see ourselves as being more than just one thing. However, the price of this is some confusion about who we actually are. If we see ourselves as both extroverted and introverted, we don't have certainty about the type of person we are. However, it's a more flexible position and probably more accurate too. To see ourselves as both extroverted and introverted (and knowing this depends on circumstance) allows us to see ourselves more accurately. This ultimately allows us more freedom in the way we live our lives and in the way we relate to others.
Ultimately, that works in our favour.
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Now, read about how change creates hope.