An important part of understanding our personality is learning its components and its essential aspects. Our personality comprises of different fundamental characteristics and constituents that make up the totality of an individual’s whole being. We need to understand what these factors are in order for us to better appreciate our unique personalities.
The Three Components of Personality
Sigmund Freud is known for his study on the three basic components that greatly affect our personality. He created the three levels of awareness that are congruent to the three different parts of the mind: conscious mind, preconscious mind, and subconscious mind. According to him, our conscious mind includes our current or present mental processes contributing a major part in our current awareness.
The next level of mental awareness is our preconscious mind which, according to Freud, comprises those that we are aware of, but we do not really give focus or pay attention. We can either decide to take notice of these things and purposefully let our conscious mind be aware of them. The third part of the human mind is the subconscious where some of our thoughts surpass the conscious level.
From these levels of awareness by Freud, he then developed the three components of our personality: the id, ego, and super ego. These are the results of our thinking, feeling, and behaviors.
The id functions primarily based on pleasure principle wherein our mind seeks to achieve pleasure and avoid any form of pain. Freud mentioned that the id consists of two major instincts and these are eros and thanatos. The former is otherwise known as the life instinct that urges us to seek for pleasurable activities while the latter is our death instinct that stimulates us to cause to destroy.
The ego is the next component of our personality which is the heart of our consciousness. It is characterized by either of the dominant functions which are introversion or extraversion along with the other functions. It is based on the reality principle which states that our mind acknowledges what is real and currently existing. It also understands that there are corresponding consequences to our behaviors.
The super ego is the last component of our personality in which our values and morals are contained. Our super ego can also offset or compensate the id.
The Big Five Factors
Our various personality traits are generally categorized into what is referred to as the Big Five Factors: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience.
Extraversion pertains to being outgoing, sociable, full of energy, enthusiasm, and action-oriented. Introversion, on the other hand, refers to lack of liveliness and energy.
Agreeableness manifests our differences in terms of cooperation and social harmony. Agreeable people like getting along with each other well while disagreeable individuals are more concerned with self-interest and personal well-being.
Conscientiousness focuses on how we manage and control our impulses and desires. Conscientious people are intelligent, organized, and persistent.
Neuroticism is evident in individuals who are emotionally reactive and may have gone through or are going through a particular strong negative feeling.
Openness to experience is a trait that characterizes people who are creative, imaginative, curious, and intellectuals.
Essential Characteristics of Personality
Our personality is characterized not just by one aspect of our whole character such as our behaviors or attitude but also by our patterned thoughts and feelings. It is said that whatever behavior an individual has is consistent and becomes a regular pattern even in different types of situations. It is associated with an individual’s natural stimuli to a circumstance. For example, when there is a deadline to meet, most of us cram during the completion process.
Another characteristic is that our personality is both psychological and physiological. We have known personality to be a major element in the study of psychology but experts also found that our biological aspect also affects the way we shape our personality.
Although we closely associate a person’s behavior and values with personality, the way we think and even physical appearance are also expressions of human personality. Our physical appearance is the initial impression of people when identifying our personality. And then it can possibly change when the inner personality comes out through other aspects such as our attitude and communication skills.