KATHMANDU: Generally, when we talk of personality, someone popular and dashing comes to mind. In some way, it is right because the word personal-ity is derived from the Latin word persona. Just like laakhey naach in Kathmandu, plays in anciet Greece were performed by an actor with a mask of the character. So, personality is commonly understood as personal façade that somebody wants to show to the outside world.
But in psychology, personality means the sum total of behavioural and mental characteristics that are distinctive to an individual. The conventional psycho-logical theories perceived personality as unchangeable — accrediting personality formation to unconscious
dynamics, genetic and environmental influences. But the present humanistic approach, while accepting those influences, emphasises on ‘freewill’ of the person. So, despite the past factors, people can modify themselves — both externally and internally — with their willpower.
Let us start with the external because when someone sees us, they first see our body. So, positive body language matters a lot in personality. For example, imagine you are a college student returning home with your final grade card, in which you have failed in several subjects. You would have the worst body language at that time. Again imagine the same situation, except that you passed with distinction. At that moment, you would posses a highly positive body language. To improve my body language, I have imagined such situations while walking on the road.
As the saying goes, ‘If you can fake it, you can make it’. But rather than faking, it is practice. So, practice it until you make it.
How we interact on daily basis also demonstrates our personality. When we meet people, we smile and greet them. But smile an inner smile before you smile at someone and you will see the difference. Eric Borne, fou-nder of Transactional Analysis, says, “To say hello rightly is to see the other person, to be aware of him as a phenomenon, to happen to him and to be ready for him to happen to you.” Whether you shake hands or say namaste, do it with inner warmth and heart connection.
Now, let us look into the internal aspects of personal-ity. In psychology, one personality type is not
considered superior. Every person has good and unique qualities. Some could be creative, while others well-
organised. Some could be assertive, whereas others cooperative. Some could be high spirited and others calm but persistent. The first step of personality development is to perform a personality treasure hunt — discover your good qualities. This is part of self-awareness.
Once we recognise and appreciate our qualities, the journey of personality development starts. Sometimes we become so absorbed with the qualities of others that we overlook our own beauties. I heard somewhere, “We try so hard to prove
we are good that we forget we are magnificent.”
(The author is a leadership trainer and consultant associated with ‘Kabule — The Wise Leader’ and ‘Catalyst for
Transformation’. He can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org)