Dr. Joe Dispenza (in You are the Placebo) mentions that “Your personality creates your personal reality.”
But I would argue that it goes both ways: your personality is also the result of your personal reality. We are the sum of our life experiences, situations and even traumas.
What is your personality?
“At its most basic, personality is the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that make a person unique.” (Kendra Cherry)
Your personality is the sum of your thoughts, beliefs, emotional awareness and responses, and even your subconscious responses (such as the nervous system). Most of these responses can be tracked back to events that discovered this was the most valuable and resourceful response.
It kept you safe and ensured that your needs were met.
Whatever that personal reality was, it created what you today know as your personality.
Notice that personality is “patterns” of thoughts, feelings and behavioural responses. What if “personality” is our survival techniques and habitual reactions to our environment?
One of the reasons we choose therapy is to overcome those patterns that are no longer working for us. Coaching also allows us to work with patterns of behaviour, beliefs, thoughts and feelings that are creating challenges rather than the personal reality we want to live in.
Choosing to change: responsibility and free will
There are two factors to consider: responsibility (response-ability) and free will.
The choices we make about our thoughts, feelings and behaviours impact our personality and personal reality: the twin sons of a drunkard may grow up in an identical environment. One becomes an alcoholic, and the other is a teetotaler.
- What is the impact of your choices when it comes to your personality?
- How are you intentionally creating your personal reality?
Personal identity, growth and development: Personality
I love personality tests (e.g. Myers-Briggs), different evaluations of strengths (the VIA Survey of Character Strengths) or even Enneagram. All of these provide a snapshot (in the present) of how you are doing you.
It is static – just a snapshot of your patterns at this time. Your brain and nervous system are constantly rewiring neural networks and building new memories of how you do you.
Nonetheless, I agree with the criticism that personalities are not fixed. People change. Many of us know a happy-go-lucky person who suffered a significant loss or hardship and has become embittered or hardened.
What’s lovely is that we also know people who have changed for the better: they have let go of the weight of depression, loss and grief and now bring joy and growth to others. You might know someone cold and distant, and you now find them open and warm.
Using self-awareness to change your habitual response
I write a lot about emotional intelligence, self-awareness and habits! But if you want to create a new personal reality, a lifestyle you love and create the life you want, you’ll have to work on your habits.
Knowledge – in and of itself – does not change behaviour. Until you take responsibility and begin forming new habits, you and your environment (your reality) continue along the same trajectory you’ve been travelling.
I consider that there are five elements to look at:
- subconscious responses (such as the nervous system and somatic memories)
Your subconscious responses (such as trauma and attachment issues) will profoundly impact your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It may even affect your spiritual connection and practices.
The beauty of human nature is that we can work to interrupt any one of these – thoughts, feelings, behaviours, subconscious responses, or even spiritual aspects of life – and your reality will change! This is why some coaches focus on mindset, while others will focus exclusively on feelings and desires. Others will look at habits and behaviours. Then, some focus on energy work and the spiritual aspects of life.
They all work to bring about growth because you only have to modify one factor to overcome resistance to change!
Thriving and growing in the face of change:
Change is inevitable: you will modify your feelings, thoughts and behaviours in response to life, impacting people around you: relationships will change. Some people will grow with you, while others drift away.
If you want to create a lifestyle you love, take some time for self-reflection and look at the patterns that make up your personality.
- How do these patterns and habits support a personal reality in which you thrive and grow?
- What pruning needs to take place for better habit control?
Rewriting your habits is how you create your perfect life.
Change is a daring adventure: do you dare to change your personality and how you respond to life’s challenges?