“The ‘self-image’ is the key to human personality and human behavior. Change the self image and you change the personality and the behavior” (Maxwell Maltz).
I have attempted to find answers to this question multiple times. Is it possible if I want to be an artist but I have no creative ability. Can I develop the mindset to fit into being a creative?
What we are told is our personalities are shaped by nature and nurture. Hearing this makes us think we stop developing our personality when we are adults. However, this is not the case.
It could be that when you are an adult, it is harder to notice the changes as they may be more gradual and more circumstantial. But does this mean we can do it ourselves and in our favor?
When Do We Stop Being Shaped
An article on the American Psychology Association’s website titled Personality Changes For the Better With Age, there is a mention of one of our personality traits we all possess and it’s main halt.
Conscientiousness is a trait market by our organization and disciple while linked to success at work, relationships, and other behaviors, is found to undergo the most change in a person’s 20’s.
If a person’s personality is developed through childhood and takes drastic changes in his or her 20’s, then we might be able to relate that to environment having been shifted around at this time. And environment is something we do have control of.
Having the ability to change our environment and life circumstances, we may be able to dissect what parts of our lives shape us in a certain way that we may want to rid ourselves of.
An individual being anxious because he or she lives in a big city and alternatively wants seclusion, there answer may be a change of environment as a first step.
But if conscientiousness is a trait affected by this, what other traits do we have less control of?
The Big Five Personality Traits
The big five are known by psychologists as fairly accurate as these are spectrums individuals lie on and most personalities will be visibly readable from the results.
The five are as follows: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.
These five can overtime stay the same, or drastically differ in a matter of time.
Reviewing a little bit about each one, the first is our openness. The spectrum for this has curiousness on one side and cautious on the other. The openness to new things and moving away from the familiar can either be very difficult and scary or can be inticing and inviting.
The next being conscientious which has organized on one side and careless on the other. A person may be very orderly or wanting to keep everything in line, while someone else may think it more manageable to keep responsibilities scattered or completely disregarded altogether.
Extraversion is known by many on multiple personality theories as the one that has the most proof of existence. The MBTI personality test is another form of categorizing personalities that has this as one of the traits classifying a person as Introverted or Extraverted. In the case of it’s spectrum, it can be observed as outgoing versus reserved.
In agreeableness, a person is either friendly or detached which may sound a little biased on one side, but detached in this case does not imply a person will be rude, perhaps just quieter.
The last being neuroticism with a person being either nervous or confident. Certain situations can flip a person’s level of this, but that’s the key to personality, we are always both sides with a preference.
These are all spectrums so you are most likely not one or the other, but somewhere in between with one side being more comfortable to lean toward.
You can pretty easily determine which side of each you land on, but if you wish to move to the other and circumstance does not drastically change your personality, it might be possible to change but with some work.
An article on Psychology Today titled Can You Change Your Personality mentions a study done by pscyhologists as the University of Illinois which concluded that most people are dissatisfied with their own personality. Yet many of us may not be willing to put in the effort to make a long-term change to our personalities.
However, if you are willing to try, you have to essentially restructure and reform neural paths making your logical way of thinking different.
To see change, you have to fake it till you make it until your brain is used to thinking that way.
You can also attempt to dissect your behaviors and figure out why you act a certain way and see if there are solutions to ridding yourself of certain anxieties or personal triggers.
The only way to see an actual change is to believe that you can reform your behavior or it won’t happen.
Do not oversimplify the process as it’s not just act different and you’ll be a different person because this takes time and even more effort. This can be mentally draining and easy to give up on.
However, do not push yourself to where you despise yourself when the results do not immediately show.
As for if changing your personality is really possible, we may not know yet. We do know we are constantly changing and that is expected, but changing in a way that we want is asking for a lot and may take a lot.