Personality can be difficult to pin down because it essentially comprises all the different aspects that make us who we are. Rather than how we might be feeling on a particular day due specific circumstances, our personality is more about enduring characteristics we possess. Say for example, a typically happy person might possess the traits of gratitude, humour and an ability to live in the moment. This might be temporarily swayed by circumstance but it’s largely how that person’s worldview is skewed. On the other hand, somebody who is typically down will more likely feel jealousy, envy and take the position of a victim, making it harder for them to experience happiness. It goes way beyond just these traits though and is an amalgamation of our values, interests, motivations and even emotional patterns. There are a tonne of reasons why personality is important but some of the most crucial are the fact that personality is inextricably linked with behaviour and as humans we all have different personalities but we need to be able to work together collaboratively. For these reasons, having a better understanding of your own personality and others and how these different personalities interact can be hugely beneficial to your ability to successfully work with or manage yourself and others.
Psychologists who specialise in personality generally agree that most people’s personalities fit within 5 basic dimensions, typically referred to as the ‘Big 5’ personality traits. These include; extroversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness and neuroticism. An important thing to keep in mind before you go labeling yourself or someone else with one of these titles is that each of these personality types represents a range between two extremes. For example, when it comes to extroversion, it’s not that common that somebody is at the most extreme end of either extroversion or introversion. The majority of people will lie somewhere in between these two poles. Whilst there’s not unanimous agreement on these labels there is a significant body of literature around them, which certainly makes them a useful starting point to better understand ourselves and others. Let’s check them out in more detail.
Openness largely derives its name from an openness to experience, meaning that people who fall into this category typically prioritise imagination and insight more so than people who fall into the other personality traits.
They often struggle with specialisation as they have a really broad range of interests and general curiosity about the world and other people. Rather than fearing the unknown or craving familiarity, they embrace new experiences and are usually really eager to learn new things. These traits typically result in these people being adventurous and creative. Conversely, a person who is low in the traits of openness will typically struggle to look at things in a more abstract way and will likely fall back on what’s familiar to them.
This personality type tends to be super organised, with a really good eye for detail. They’ll be thoughtful, not only in regards to what they’re doing but also to how it’s likely to affect others. People who are less conscientious are more likely to procrastinate and be less organised, which, as you can imagine, could make for some serious conflict with those who are more conscientiously wired.
Those who fall into this category are hard to miss. They will typically wear their heart on their sleeve and will be excited to share anything that they’re thinking about. A key thing to know with this trait is that those who are highly extroverted will gain energy from being around others, whilst those who tend more to introversion will find too much time with others exhausting and will require longer periods of time to themselves to recharge.
As the name suggests, people who fall into this category are usually really trustworthy and quick to show kindness and affection towards others. Being highly cooperative, these types of people are easy to work with but the opposite is true of those who are at the lower end of the spectrum in agreeableness. These types of people will typically have very little interest in others and will be fine with actions that may disadvantage others for their own gain.
Neuroticism is characterised by melancholy and extreme moodiness. Their instability can make them difficult to predict. On the other hand, the less neurotic somebody is, the less they tend to worry and they can typically bounce back from challenges really easily, due in large part to their emotional stability.
I’m sure as you were reading these categories you were furiously identifying where you or others around you fit on this spectrum. Having an understanding of these personality types can be hugely beneficial when navigating the emotional complexities of relationships, whether in your personal or professional life.
Now, these personality types only tell some of the story. According to research, roughly 10% of the population has what is known as a personality disorder. This is when the way you think, feel and act causes you a high level of distress and deviates far enough from social norms to make daily functionality difficult. Whilst some people may display traits of personality disorders sometimes, it’s only considered a personality disorder if the behavioural patterns occur over a long period. Whilst these personality disorders can be highly challenging for those suffering from them and for others aiming to relate with them, there are really helpful therapies and medications, available from Australia pharmacy, which can help people to manage these challenges effectively. Let’s have a look at the two most common personality disorders.
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)
OCPD is different to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and is typically characterised by an extreme need for order and rules, down to the most minute detail. Those with OCPD will typically be such perfectionists that they will struggle to complete anything and their dedication to a task will often make it difficult for them to socialise and build relationships. As well as therapy to help with increasing flexibility, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), available from Australia pharmacy, can be helpful to manage OCPD, alongside therapy.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)
People with NPD typically have an extremely inflated sense of themselves. This will usually manifest itself through a sense of superiority and prioritising themselves over others in every kind of situation, whether that be in conversion, in use of materials and or being upset when you aren’t prioritised over others. NPD can often be accompanied with feelings of anxiety as people with NPD may struggle with the pressure of trying to achieve the lofty goals they have set for themselves. In this case, anxiety medication, available from Australia pharmacy, can be helpful in conjunction with therapy, to learn how to develop more meaningful relationships and receive criticism effectively.
Regardless of whether you are struggling with a personality disorder or just want to have a better understanding of yourself and others around you, being aware of the variety of personality types out there can make for much smoother sailing when navigating the variety of people and their personalities that you will come in contact with everyday.