In a superficial society, we often neglect one the most important things we possess. The thing that truly separates us from everyone else: Our personality.
Our personality is what makes us who we are. It dictates who wants to be around us and who avoids us much as they’d want to avoid a Biblical plague. Two years after we’ve left this world for the one beyond, our personality (for better or worse) will be the thing we’ll be remembered for – not our waistline or our hairline.
Not EVEN our clothes, perfume, or jewelry. This one kind of smarts because I take great pride in my perfume and jewelry. Maybe, just maybe, I can also be remembered for smelling pretty and wearing ” the cutest earrings” and “a tad too many bracelets.” My inner gypsy would love that.
Seriously, though…. or at least as serious as I’m capable of being… think about your loved ones who are no longer, physically, around. I say physically because I have lost enough loved ones to know that they never entirely leave. Their body leaves, but the essence of who they were remains with us forever.
Thank you, God, for that. Thank you very much.
When we think of these loved ones, we don’t think about their appearance, we think of their personalities. We think of what made them who they were. We think of the times they made us laugh and we think of how they made us feel.
When it comes to personalities, I believe the following statements to be 100 percent true:
- They can make a person MORE attractive or LESS attractive.
- They can help an individual get AHEAD in their career or HOLD them back.
- They’re each built upon one of two foundations: A SELFISH foundation or a SELFLESS foundation.
- People can change.
Pretty is as Pretty Does
For obvious reasons I won’t name names, but one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever known was (at first glance) not much beyond cute or somewhat attractive. Yet, after just 10 minutes in her presence, you were convinced that she was, possibly, one of the most beautiful people on the planet. She was extremely sweet, soft-spoken, kind, neat, feminine, witty, and was a very good mother to her beautiful children. She was also very fond of laughing and kept one on standby at all times. Mostly she had the one trait that I am drawn to more than any other – she loved life and squeezed all she could out of each second. She had a vivacious personality that served as a killer running mate for her physical features.
By contrast, we all know people who have been blessed with wonderful physical features, but possess personalities that serve as ugly masks – hiding the beauty that they should be enhancing.
I remember a boy in high school that all the girls were nuts about. His first name was uttered around our small town the way Brad Pitt’s name is uttered around Hollywood. My best friend and I were probably the only two girls in the entire county who weren’t smitten. Why?
We knew him.
He had sat near us in one of our classes and we battled to pay attention to the professor all year. Heck, we battled to stay awake. Prince Charming was actually Prince Boring and we literally considered changing classes to get away from him.
Why is it the most boring, dull-witted people in the world are the fondest of talking? We never figured that one out but this kid could not take a hint. I think if the school year had continued any longer my friend would have thrown her Biology book at his head…. along with a loud, “Just shut up! No one cares about anything that comes out of your mouth!”
He would have been perfect for today’s society. Selfies, telling everyone everything you did over the weekend, showing off your car… He’d have been one of the boys who take pictures of themselves in front of a mirror and captioned it, “I love my chin..” Or eyes, or smile, or something he was quite smitten with.
He’s somewhere, today, crying because he was born too soon, I guarantee it.
You Can’t Make it to the Top if No One Likes You
Granted, Prince Boring was harmless enough. At least he wasn’t a total jerk. We’ve all known plenty of those, haven’t we? People who just seem – down to the core of their being – to be mean, contrite, argumentative, and disagreeable.
These people are their own worst enemies. Some people get angry at the jerks of the world, but I kind of feel sorry for them. I believe that when someone comes across as disagreeable and angry, something inside of them isn’t quite right. Truth be told, the problem is more IN them than it is OUTSIDE of them. Angry people generally have pain rooted deep inside them that they haven’t dealt with yet. It could be anger from childhood, feelings of abandonment, or any host of things that no child should ever have to experience.
Other times, the pain doesn’t stem from childhood – it came later in life, maybe through broken relationships or even the loss of a loved one. Pain, kept it, doesn’t produce anything pretty for anyone.
I think that’s why “therapists” are so popular and, quite often, so helpful. They give the individual a chance to “talk things out” and to realize that they can let it all out and that everything will be okay. I can’t help thinking that keeping things bottled in is what causes some people to be so disagreeable.
So many people have a lot going on for them, but their personality holds them back. They have brains, humor, and good old-fashioned know how, but possess the personality of a paperweight.
Are You Selfish or Selfless?
Every single one of us is either more selfish than we are selfless or more selfless than we are selfish. I tend to believe that no one is TOTALLY either one – but everyone definitely has more of one trait than the other. Put another way, we all bend in one of the two directions.
I’m of the mind that this one “bend” determines the greater part of our personality.
Very often, a rotten disposition comes from being self-centered. Think about people who have angry outbursts. They certainly aren’t thinking about other people – they’re only thinking about themselves. How they’re being “put upon” or how others aren’t doing enough for them. Me, me, me – it’s all about me!
- Anger (including road rage) is just selfishness having a temper tantrum.
- Sarcasm is just selfishness acting petty.
- Mocking and ridiculing are just selfishness acting childish.
On the other hand, benevolence, tolerance and kindness are selfless acts. They’re traits from people who honestly care about the needs and feelings of others. The person who slows down to allow someone to pass rather than gunning it to stay in front is a perfect – albeit rare – example of a selfless person.
Selfless people – or at least people who “bend” more toward selflessness than selfishness – ask people how their day was and listen to the response. In fact, they do more than listen to the response – since they are genuinely interested, they interact, asking questions and letting the other person know that they care.
Social media is a beautiful example of the difference between selfishness and selflessness. Ever see anyone on Twitter ask a question, only to ignore the people who answer? I don’t understand this one at all. Why bother asking a question in the first place?!
How about the company on social media that only talks about THEM – never engaging in conversation with others?
Again, these are just examples of a flaw that comes down to one thing: A bend toward selfishness rather than selflessness.
For those predisposed to selfishness, selflessness takes practice. But it can be achieved.
Be totally honest with yourself, do you think you are more concerned about yourself or others? During the day, do you concern yourself more with your own needs or those of others? When’s the last time you put yourself totally out for another person – without shining a spotlight on it?
Start today: Do as many kind acts for others as possible. Smile and speak to strangers. Put the grocery cart in the corral in the parking lot. Pet peeve alert: I hate when people leave it out in the open and justify it by saying, “That’s what they get paid for.” I hate when selfishness tries to explain itself.
People CAN Change
Change a habit and you change your life. If selfishness seems to dominate your personality, make it your #1 mission to change that right away. It can’t be something you think about today then forget tomorrow. You have to make a concentrated effort each and every day to care more about others than you do yourself.
Think about personality traits that you admire in others. Do they always seem happy or upbeat? Do they make you feel better when you’re around them? Do they look you in the eyes when they talk to you? Are they honest? Do they make you smile? Do they dwell on positive things rather than negative ones?
Identify personality traits you admire and are drawn to – then take inventory of your own personality traits. Are they a service to you or a disservice? Do they elevate you or demote you? Do they benefit your relationships or serve as a barrier between you and others?
If you don’t like the answers you’ve come up with, what are you going to do about it?