What personality development theories can help us understand how we become who we are?
- Humanistic Theory
- Social cognitive theory
- “OCEAN” theory
As human beings, one of the biggest questions we consistently ask our individual selves is the question “Who am I?”. When we are asked this question by people, such as leadership speakers in the Philippines, we usually go back and try to remember how our personalities are like. It has almost become a reflex, and for good reason.
Personality can be described as your individual’s consistent behaviors in terms of thinking and feeling. It’s what makes you “you”. Additionally, what makes it exciting and special is that your character can change. Who you are is constantly developing because of your social, emotional, and environmental experiences. No wonder, so many psychologists decided to dedicate their lives to studying how people tick.
In this article, you will see how the personality theories, developed by these researches, explains how you become who you are now.
Humanistic psychologists have to be one of the most positive people around because their realm of study places a high faith on free will. Since humans are supposed to have free will, you can always change for the better and become the person you want to be.
If you feel like you can’t accomplish anything good now in adulthood, it is most like because your past made you feel that you have no control over your life. Maybe people bullied you with hurtful words. Maybe constantly failing subjects in college made you realize you are too dumb for your aspirations.
Since this theory is not very technical and focuses more on the individuality of a person, it is easy to apply in different situations. For example, most leadership speakers in the Philippines apply the humanistic perspective to their talks, even if they don’t know it. It is because becoming a better team leader means having to believe you can be one despite uncertainties.
Social cognitive theory
According to social cognitive theory, our personalities developed because we learned what is appropriate by observing the actions of other people first. Psychologists believe that our brains gather information from our social environment. Afterward, the learnings get stored and it starts influencing the way to interact with our peers. Overall, how we are now, is influenced by the people we hung around with while growing up.
When you apply social cognition to real life, it can be easy to see how influential your younger years can have on your adult character. For example, a person could have been a very happy kid but is now a depressed adult after facing so much criticism by his parents. Now, he wants to get better. So he decides to stop talking to his parents first, and focus his energy instead on meeting more positive people like a life coach in the Philippines.
According to this theory, your personality composes of a spectrum of 5 major characteristics
- Openness to experience – A person’s willingness to explore new experiences and tendency towards out of the box thinking.
- Conscientiousness – How you control your impulses and social behavior for the sake of goal fulfillment.
- Extroversion – Extroverts recharge from social situations, while introverts recharge from alone time.
- Agreeableness – How well you get along with others.
- Neuroticism – Describes your emotional instability and tendency towards anxiety. This is a negative trait unlike the other four.
All of these together form the OCEAN spectrum. Each person, like you, naturally displayed one OCEAN trait more than others during early childhood. Just go to school, and you see how different kids can be. Some are overachievers because they have a high degree of conscientiousness, while some are hated by teachers over their classmates because they are very rowdy due to their high agreeableness. This theory can show both personal strengths and weaknesses. And as we grow up, we are pushed by society to develop our weaknesses.
Maybe you were a nervous kid back then, as you scored high in neuroticism. Now that you are an adult with many responsibilities, you can see that it is a bad trait to have, and so you decide to go to a confidence coach in the Philippines for help. Thanks to that person, you are a lot more confident and don’t crumble under pressure like before.
Our personalities are forever developing as we grow up. Because who we are can always change at any given time, it is important to know what factors in our lives are in charge of that. With these personality development theories, we start to see how one, having a low self-belief on our free will can stop us from pursuing positive things. Second, we see how the actions of our loved ones influence the way we act. Third, knowing what our personal weaknesses need to be developed can help us grow.