Saturday, 14 November 2020

Marriage will Change You (Part Three): Personality Defined

"When I discover who I am, I’ll be free." — Ralph Ellison.

So, Says the Dictionary:

Your personality is the sum total of your history and how you have chosen to interpret and live it. The dictionary defines it as “The combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character.” The American Psychological Association defines it as “The individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving.”

To get a proper understanding of personality, one needs to understand its close associate and synonym. The Oxford English dictionary defines character as “The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” The Cambridge English dictionary defines it as, “The particular combination of things about a person that makes the person different from others.”

The Dichotomy of Personality:

There are basically two types of people, as it relates to personality. The first are those who are yet to come to terms with their history, allowing it to control them. To this first group is Carl Gustav Jung's statement directed when he says, "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate." 

On the other hand, the second group has resolved their internal conflicts and come to terms with their history. They refuse to define themselves by their history but rather shoot for the best life as to offer. They are motivated by their own imaginations, knowledge, and self-talk and story, rather than their history.

The Two Brothers:

To better understand the difference between these two, let us look at the classic story of “Two Brothers.” The story goes thus,

“One brother was a drug addict and a drunk who frequently abused his family. The other brother was a very successful man, well respected in society, and had a wonderful family. So, the question was asked the two how they turned out so different.

The first said, “My father. My father was a drug addict and a drunk, and he abused his family. What do you expect me to be? That is what I am.” The second said, “My father. When I was a little boy, I used to see my dad drunk and doing all the wrong things. I made up my mind that is not what I wanted to be.””

No Excuse will Hold:

The two brothers had the same history but different personalities and outcomes in life. So, you are not a slave of your history. You are only a slave of your imagination. Your imagination is the limit of who you are and will ever be. The question is not where you have been? The question is, what do you see? What do you want to see? Which stories are you telling yourself?

We each are responsible for the person we bring to our marriage. Yes, we each have a past. Yes, we each have baggage. We need to leave our past and baggage where they belong. We owe it to our spouse to ensure it does not negatively interfere with our marriage and home. If we need professional help, we need to seek and go get it. We are response-abe beings. We are able. We are responsible.

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