Character assessment is a very critical aspect of personal reflections. When one reflects upon their lives, there is a high probability that they would be able to understand their strengths and weakness and device appropriate strategies for coping better with life. Most of these personal attributes and qualities relate to various theoretical models in psychology (Shaffer, 2009). Therefore, major theoretical models and perspectives in psychology can be used in analyzing and understanding different personal characteristics as well as providing frameworks within which one can develop and enhance their personal qualities. In this paper, I will try to analyze my main character based on different theoretical models in psychology. My main characteristic is honesty. This quality is what drives my interactions with those around me and has been very influential in terms of my personal approach and attitude to life.
Keywords: Theoretical models, Honesty, personal characteristic, character
My Main Characteristic
Personality traits are developed and well understood from character assessment. This scales up thinking for oneself and self-realization. Definition of oneself is derived from thorough scrutiny of an individual, self-contemplation and assessment which forms fundamental part of ones unique psychological adaptation to the environment. For instance, from character assessment, it is possible to brand an individual as a stereotype or a self-centered person where stereotypes will often jump into actions as a result of group psychology while the self-centered persons will always make their own independent decisions.
Self-assessment is a yardstick of gauging ones level of attention and retention of any given information (Carducci, 2006). In this case there are those inclined to selective attention and selective retention of information where they filter out the relevant information from the irrelevant information and retain it. On the other hand, there are those individuals with no set methodology of what to store and not to store and therefore end up in a baggage of mix up of both relevant and irrelevant information (Shaffer, 2009). Personal assessment is therefore quite critical in understanding and defining oneself.
Therefore, major theoretical models and perspectives in psychology can be used in analyzing and understanding different personal characteristics as well as providing frameworks within which one can develop and enhance their personal qualities (Carducci, 2006). Some of the main psychological perspectives include theories by various classical and contemporary psychologists including Freud, Jung, Adler, Erikson, Allport, Cattell & Eysenk, Skinner, Bandura and Mischel, Rogers and Maslow, and May. In this paper, I will discuss my personal characteristic and proceed to analyze the quality based on the various theoretical models
One of the main characteristics that distinguish me from the rest is honesty. I personally consider honesty to be an indispensable part of human life. This quality is what drives my interactions with those around me and has been very influential in terms of my personal approach and attitude to life. Honesty is an important virtue that I have cultivated over the years. As such, my honest background has been shaped by different factors including my upbringing, my education, religion and my environment (Shaffer, 2009). Right from a young age, I was able to understand the importance of honesty in my personal and interpersonal relations.
I come from a very religious background. My parents brought us up based on religious values, of which honesty is very vital. My siblings and I learnt to be honest with everything that we did. We could report to our parents any mistakes that we did regardless of the consequences that would follow. Conversely, I was brought up in an environment where ethical values were very critical. My cultural background places greater emphasis on virtues such s respect, trust, and honesty. Therefore, I grew around people who valued these qualities. Thus I managed to inculcate the value of honest as part of my major virtues that shape my personal life. Right from a very young age, I learnt that honesty is the best policy (Anderson & Anderson, 2001).
Furthermore, I firmly believe that one should always try to be honest regardless of the consequences of their actions. My honesty character has landed me in numerous troubles over the years, but I never cease to be honest. One instance that I remember vividly is back in high school. I was a class leader in my class. One occasion, a few of my colleagues sneaked out of class to go and purchase narcotics. I was aware of the situation and do tried to urge them to stop their plans but they resisted. They believed that since I was the only one who knew of their plans, I would not tell them to the school authorities.
However, as a leader and a person who believed in honesty, I had to risk our friendship and reported the matter to the class teacher. My colleagues were very upset with me and branded me a snitch or a spy, which affected my reputation in the school and turned most of my friends against me. However, I still stood by my actions and I have never regretted what I did. With time, some of my colleagues understood my action based on my personality and were quick enough to change their attitude towards me.
Sigmund Freud is one of the most renowned psychologists. His is the father of psychodynamics perspective in psychology.
Sigmund Freud's Basic Assumptions
O Human feelings and behavior are influenced by unconscious motives
O Ones behavior as an adult is deeply rooted in the experiences he or she had as a child
O Every human behavior can be traced to a particular cause (unconscious)
O An individuals personality comprises of three parts namely id, ego, and super-ego.
O An individuals behavior is influenced by two instinctive drives: eros and Thanatos
O Eros refers to life instinct and sex drive while Thanatos refers to death instinct and the aggressive drive
O Some parts of the unconscious mind are always in constant conflict with the conscious part of the mind, often yielding anxiety.
According to Freudian theories, every human behavior can be traced to a particular and often an unconscious cause (Freud, 2004). He also states that human feelings and behavior are influenced by unconscious motives. Ones behavior as an adult is deeply rooted in the experiences he or she had as a child. Every human behavior can be traced to a particular cause (unconscious). Freudian perspective also states that an individuals personality comprises of three parts namely id, ego, and super-ego. An individuals behavior is influenced by two instinctive drives: eros and Thanatos. Eros refers to life instinct and sex drive while Thanatos refers to death instinct and the aggressive drive (Freud, 2004). Some parts of the unconscious mind are always in constant conflict with the conscious part of the mind, often yielding anxiety.
Based on this perspective, one can understand honesty as a character that one cultivates from their childhood experiences. When one is surrounded by adults who behave in a particular way of raise them in a specific manner, they are more likely to n adopt the values these values in their adulthood (Simanowitz and Peter, 2003). This is the case with my personality. Much of my honesty character is from my environment as a young child growing up.
On the other hand, according to Gordon Allports Traits theory, individuals have certain consistent forms of behavior that often define their general personality. These traits influence how people behave and are different from one person to another (Allport, 1979). The theory is based on the principle that some of the traits are consistent and stable over time and often affect how people think, and show their emotions. The theory goes further to state that these traits are inborn and often determine if an individual will be a leader or not (Allport, 1979). This is because there are certain traits that predispose individuals towards being great leaders naturally.
Therefore, from this perspective, it is clear that my personality is based on traits that I have cultivated over the years. My parents had a significant impact on how I developed these values like honesty. This may also be an inborn trait or a genetic quality because it the same value that my parents believe in.
Carl Jungs perspective is similar to that of Freud. He believed that the human mind comprises of several systems that interact from time to time. His concept of introversion and extroversion is particularly significant for personal character development (Jung & Hull, 1980). He described an introvert as a person who is mainly focused on contemplating about his or her internal world. An extrovert, on the other hand, is more interested in the activities of the external world (Jung & Hull, 1980). These two concepts can be understood from the perspective of behaviorism and how they affect human behavior with regard to sociability, interpersonal communication, and assertiveness (Jung & Hull, 1980).
From this perspective, one can understand a quality such as honesty as being part of the extroversion. An honest person is mostly focused on the impact of his actions of the external world, for example, whether his or her actions will have a positive or a negative impact (Hackman and Craig, 2009). From this perspective, I firmly believe that my character trait of honesty revolves around my idea of what I expect others to do for me. More specifically, I desire to have a positive impact on other people through my actions.
On the other hand, Ericksons theory of psychological development can also be used in understanding character development. He proposes eight developmental stages through which a child cultivates various values or traits (Erikson & Coles, 2000). These stages are trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. shame, initiative vs. guilt, ego vs. role identity, intimacy vs. isolation, generativist vs. isolation, and finally ego integrity vs. despair (Erikson & Coles, 2000). Based on these developmental stages, my honest character began manifesting itself in the industry vs. inferiority stage, which occurs between the age of five and twelve.
Eysenck developed his trait based personality theory founded on three main dimensions namely psychoticism vs. socialization, neuroticism vs. stability vs. psychoticism, and introversion vs. extroversion. This theory is mostly based on the trait of temperament, which he defines an innate or genetic trait. He was of the belief that personality traits of an individual are mainly influenced by their biological factors. Therefore, based on the three dimensions, one can easily understand a behavior or personality of another.
For instance, people with more extroversion are seen to be outgoing and sociable. On the contrary, introversion makes people loners. On the other hand, neuroticism makes people anxious while stability makes people more balanced in terms of how they react to issues. Finally, those who are high on psychoticism often tend to be independent thinkers with some antisocial behaviors while socialization makes people more cooperative ad altruistic.
Therefore, based on this theory, my honest personality can be understood form the dimension of extroversion/introversion. I am an extrovert since I like working and engaging with other people freely.
Cattells personality theory was largely based on Allports personality describing words. He worked on reducing Allports list of personality traits from 4500 to only 171. He then developed the 16PF, a model for assessing ones personality. With this model, each personality trait is given a score over a continuum that indicates where the score is high or low. This was a shift from Allports approach that mainly focused on determining whether a trait is present or not.
B. F. Skinner
Skinner uses a behavioral approach in describing personality development among individuals. Therefore, Skinner posited that one of the major determinants of human behavior is the environment within which one loves. The environment affects ones behavior thereby helping to shape their personality. Ones personality comprises of a behavioral pattern that comes as a result of the response tendencies one develops. As such, Skinner notes that childhood has a significant influence towards personality development of an individual.
Bandura also employs a behavioral approach in developing his theory of personality. According to Bandura, personality is developed through ones learning from interactions with other people. People learn from others through imitation, observation and modeling. One is able to learn from others by paying close attention to the attitudes and behaviors of other people tey interact with.
Mischels contribution to the development of personality came through his cognitive-affective theory of personality. In the theory, Mischel posits that ones behavior is based on the various cues he or she derived from various situations. His theory puts more emphasis on cognitive processes such as judging and thinking. He introduced the element of personality signature, which refers to a persons pattern of reactions from situation-behavior.
According to Maslows humanistic theory of personality, an individual develops their personality by trying to satisfy their needs. As one moves from basic needs to self-actualization in the hierarchy of needs, they shape their personality as they seek to realize their full potential through self-actualization.
In conclusion, character assessment is indeed a critical aspect of personal reflections. Reflecting on life gives an individual an opportunity to comprehend their strengths and weaknesses. This further provides a platform for accepting failures and embracing changes that may be of immense help to the individuals life. Major theoretical models and perspectives in psychology can be used in analyzing and understanding different personal characteristics as well as providing frameworks within which one can develop and enhance their personal qualities.
Allport, G. W. (1979). The nature of prejudice: Unabridged. Reading, Mass. [u.a.: Addison-Wesley.
Anderson, D. & Anderson, L.A. (2001). Beyond Change Management: Advanced Strategies for
Carducci, B. J. (2006). The psychology of personality. Oxford: Blackwell.
Erikson, E. H., & Coles, R. (2000). The Erik Erikson reader. New York: W.W. Norton.
Freud, S. (2004). The interpretation of dreams. Place of publication not identified: Kessinger Publishing.
Hackman, M. Z.; Craig E. J. (2009). Leadership: A Communication Perspective (Fifth ed.). Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc.
Jung, C. G., & Hull, R. F. C. (1980). The archetypes and the collective unconscious. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Shaffer, D. (2009). Social and personality development. Australia: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
Simanowitz, V., and Peter P. (2003). Personality development. Buckingham: Open University Press.
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