>Weekly Dispatch, 12/19/10
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” Bruce Lee
The headline reads, “A Fate That Narcissists Will Hate: Being Ignored.” That’s from the New York Times online from 11/29/2010. The article highlights narcissistic personality disorder, among 4 other personality disorders, that as of this time may be left out of the DSM V as decided by the committee that is reviewing the Axis II diagnoses.
I did not mention this article to start a clinical debate, but to introduce the real issue I wish to address. You see, the problem with personalities is that everybody has one. The only question is how much one allows his/her personality to get in the way!
Personality, perhaps more than any other quality, is cited most often as being either the best or worst quality of whoever is the topic of gossi-, um, I mean conversation, at the time.
It can be the deal-maker, or breaker, when it comes to asking or being asked out for a second or subsequent date. It can be a conduit or a roadblock when one is trying to communicate a point.
Genetics is often cited as the excuse for a flawed personality (“His mother/father/aunt’s niece’s cousin twice removed is exactly the same way.”) Nature vs. nurture argument aside, personality is the unique element of one’s being that sets that person apart from all other people.
Stephen Covey writes of the shift from a Personality-centered to a Character-centered paradigm in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. No matter how satisfied you or others are with your personality, it takes more than having a game-show host persona to get ahead and be successful. It takes having substance in the form of principles and values that are nonnegotiable.
This time of year is dedicated to intentionally gathering with at least a certain number of people whose personalities grate on our psyches like nails on a chalkboard. It would help us to remember that vulnerabilities are easily masked behind negative personality traits designed to protect from memories, thoughts, or conversations that are hurtful or even harmful. So don’t let anyone get to you- look through to the substance underneath and remember the things that are most important this holiday season.
(For the NYT article mentioned, go to http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/health/views/30mind.html?_r=2)