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On Personality

My terribly hard English teacher had us write a college entrance essay exercise thing (that’s what I called it), talking about why we are who we are and what makes us special. From that essay springs the following post, the topic of which I have actually given considerable thought:


What makes you a unique person?

The question is rather broad, and almost certain to confuse. Many times, people think of others as “just people.” But no one is “just a person” – by virtue of their being human, they are, by definition, unique creations. Each individual has a story. Some are heartbreakingly sad, others are lighthearted, and most are a combination of the two.

Perhaps asking what makes you a unique person is too broad – too hard a question to answer. So let’s make it simpler. Let’s ask…”Do you write your own story with the personality you are born with, or is your personality shaped largely by what you go through?” This question is longer, but significantly less difficult. It assumes the basic first assumption that everyone is unique. The only quandary before us, then, is how a person can develop that uniqueness.

I have thought carefully over several examples, and I’ve settled on a personal example (just one for now) that I hope will demonstrate most precisely how inherent traits are developed by occurrences.

It has never been easy to make friends for me. Perhaps that’s because I don’t trust people, or because I am by nature not an outgoing person. Maybe it’s because I have a sense of humor some people don’t understand. Whatever the reason, for as long as I can remember this has always been the case.

Such being the case, when I made a very close (girl) friend about two years ago, I was interested to see what would happen, and I was pleased to have someone I felt I could share with. Things went well for awhile: We went to speech and debate club together and we trusted each other on a fairly deep level. Yet as time passed, this particular friend began to move away from me, and romantically toward a male friend of ours, who had previously been a friend of mine. Suffice it to say, it became quite the sticky situation. Feelings were hurt.  Rumors were started, and what began as a beautiful friendship ended darkly.

I learned from the expiration of that friendship that I really shouldn’t trust people as I had in the past. It was the final straw in what I saw as a long line of hurtful things people had said or done because I trusted them. So the end result to that relationship was the almost complete destruction of my original trusting naïveté.

Yet I learned that trust has the influence to make things happen. It is as hard to obtain as it is easy to betray, and it is a powerful tool – and weapon. I am glad I learned this, though, because something about my personality makes people want to trust me.  Without this knowledge, it would be very easy to treat trust lightly.

Just as this experience proved to be both harmful and helpful, so most of the experiences that make us who we are have a sweet and a bitter side.  There will almost always be something we can learn from and something we can sulk about.  What we choose to do with our experiences are what make us who we are – the things we go through, based on our inherent personalities, orchestrate our stories to make us the people we are. 

Let me put it before my readers: Do you think the occurrences in your life come about because of your personality, or do they shape it?  Does it depend on the individual personality?  Will an outgoing person have more events that shape them into less-outgoing people?  Will reserved people have fewer events to draw them out because they don’t go out looking for them?

::awaits input::


10 Responses to “On Personality”

  1. It’s all your genes. Just like you’re born with a certain color hair, you’re also born with a preset of responses to your environment. For example, a bunch of people are born. They all do things like they were “programmed” to do, and everything is a direct result of how everyone else was programmed.

  2. Btw, what made you change your blog to look like the Microsoft corporate site? It’s depressing. You’re turning all boring on me.

  3. So environment means nothing to the shaping of personality? Hmmm….

    Matthew likes it, Mark hates it. What am I to do? 😉 Pick another one….

  4. Yay! You value my opinion more than my bro’s. This is a first. *is in ecstasy*

    Even though this theme is like the same colors I think it’s better. And I love the comment box link thingy.

  5. P.S. you should comment on my blog. I’m getting lonely.

  6. “Do you think the occurrences in your life come about because of your personality, or do they shape it?”

    I believe it’s really both. Occurrences come about because of who you are, but those occurrences will most likely shape your personality, you shouldn’t let them but it does.

    “Does it depend on the individual personality?”

    I don’t really think so.
    “Will an outgoing person have more events that shape them into less-outgoing people?”
    Probably not, everybody has to face issues, everybody will have to decide what to do.
    Will reserved people have fewer events to draw them out because they don’t go out looking for them?

    No, sometimes occurrences come looking for you.

    Hmm, methinks by the other comments, that you didn’t want a very serious answer, sorry.
    OH, and ditto Marks last comment

  7. Ok, I will comment on whoever allows me to comment on their blog. HM, I cannot comment on yours! I’ve tried probably a million times…. No, I’m looking for any kind of response. i will definitely consider all of them, don’t worry.

  8. That’s weird, I don’t know why it won’t let you comment? *shrug* when was the last time you tried? Cause I’ve changed the comment thingy.
    Oh, good, I was afraid I’d gone over board.

  9. Oh, come on….
    She wasn’t THAT hard of a teacher, was she?
    (or maybe I’m somehow biased in the matter… 😉 kidding… )

  10. Erm…yeah…you may be slightly biased…but…I don’t know. 😉

    She was hard, but in this case, hard was good. She was…challenging. She stretched this particular student. I’m actually covering the diction stuff she had us do in class in grammar right now, so I’m quite glad we got her.

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