Defining One's Personality

be it easygoing, positive, creative, cautious, inspiring, loyal

 What's your personality? Learn more about yourself and why the way you are. Are you generally easy going, friendly, and well liked, but you’re not taken seriously? Are you an authority figure, confident, controlling, with strong belief in yourself? Are you charming, self-sufficient, positive and inspiring? Or would you call yourself loyal and trustworthy, fair, cautious and dependable? Keep going; maybe you’re not who you think you are. Or maybe you’re more than you think you are. Discover your authentic self.

What is Personality

Personality is the particular habit of mind we use to avoid pain in our lives, and, therefore, to avoid being ourselves. As children we experienced painful feelings in our lives. We learned to adapt our natural behavior to survive and to deal with pain. Now, even though we’re grown-ups, we still live in that defensive attitude of mind, almost in a state of trance, or a self-program, unaware of the true reality of the moment. The more we know about ourselves now, the more we can free ourselves from a subconscious view of life. We do not change our basic personality type over our lifetime, but we can become more conscious of it, and moderate it. 

The Nine Personality Types 

There are nine basic personality types. Each of the nine types is one human way of dealing with the difficulties of life. We share some qualities from each type as human traits, but the motivation behind our behavior is what determines personality type. No one type is better than any other. Each of the nine types has a reason for doing what they do, which, when understood, brings compassion to our hearts for them. The nine basic personality types are the Perfectionist, The Pleaser, the Performer, the Special One, the Observer, the Safety-Seeker, the Enthusiast, the Boss and the Merger. The purpose of knowing our type ultimately is to help us on the path to freedom from the trance of habituated mind, to see who we really are and to experience reality without these filters. 

Personality Type 1. The Perfectionist 

In the childhood of the Perfectionists, there was a lot of criticism and judgment. To avoid criticism, they learned to make everything they did perfect. They learned the rules and stuck to them rigidly so that they would not be judged. They learned to delay their own fun in order to make sure they had done things right, so they would not be scolded.

If you want a job done well and thoroughly, give it to a Perfectionist. They are dependable and responsible, often going out of their way to do it right. There would be no mistakes in their lives if they had their way. Of course this is not possible, but Perfectionists try to accomplish this. They are organized ten times over. They delay any pleasure for themselves in order to make sure things are done right. They are very self-critical, worrying about what others may think of them. They expect others to do the same. They tend to resent people who aren’t trying as hard as they are. They also believe that other people want to have things perfect too, so they irritate them with unwelcome advice. As judgmental as they are, they judge themselves even more harshly, often setting impossibly high standards.

With personal growth, the Perfectionists can find that Life is already perfect as it is, the trees grow, the birds sing, without any effort or help from us. Their anger and self-criticism will be replaced with serenity, when they squelch their internal taskmaster and take time to focus on what is really important. Finally, they grow in the knowledge that they are OK as they are. They learn to include relationships and relaxation in their lives.

Personality Type 2. The Pleaser 

The Pleasers need approval and recognition. In childhood, their needs were only met if they took care of their parent first. They learned to focus on taking care of others in order to survive themselves. This became a habitual way of acting in the world. The Pleaser projects an image of being helpful, in order to be seen as indispensable and to earn love. The Pleasers take pride in pleasing others, at jumping in before you have even asked. The relationship is what matters to them, and feelings are important in the service of this. Pleasers may force other people into the role of the needy and helpless, and assume they know what’s good for them.

Pleasers are usually well liked and appreciated. But even with their popularity, Pleasers need reassurance. The Pleasers appear to be selfless. But in fact they need others to reciprocate their attention and anticipate their needs. It is an unspoken contract. People can feel manipulated by the Pleaser, especially if they did not ask for the help. The Pleasers will get upset if they don’t get something in return, because they have done all this for you. Pleasers can resent it when they are asked for something because they feel they have already done so much for everyone. They sabotage themselves this way. Other people may love the attention a Pleaser gives, can become very dependent on them, and sometimes take advantage of them.

The Pleaser uses flattery to get attention and approval from others. The Pleaser takes pride in being indispensable to others. When Pleasers mature, they don’t feel the constant need to prove their value and they realize that they are not indispensable. They will be brave enough to try being themselves, and to experience being loved for who they are.

Personality Type 3. The Performer 

In the childhood of the Performers, they were noticed and loved mostly for what they did, not who they were. So they learned to focus outside of themselves on the next task to do to get attention and recognition. In order to be noticed in their family, they had to be the Best to gain approval, and they worked hard to accomplish this. The Performers do this by performing, accomplishing, succeeding, achieving goals, being number One, and being a workaholic.Performers become goal oriented, efficient, productive, confident, optimistic, focused, tenacious, successful, and accomplished. Examples of Performers include Olympic athletes, corporate managers, sales reps and executive directors.Performers did not get in touch with their own feelings, or find out who they even were, since no one else was interested. Instead, they learned to project an image of what their loved ones wanted to see. Performers don’t know who they really are behind their projected image, so it’s hard for them to relate to their authentic self. They can’t handle failure. In the extreme, they become vain, deceptive and even cutthroat in order to protect their image.What helps a Performer grow? The Performers must first challenge their own false image. They must learn to tolerate mistakes and lack of accomplishment. They should accept the idea that people might like them for who they really are, if they are willing to be authentic. When you Performers realize you are good enough just as you are, you can be honest about yourself, and others will respond to this.

Personality Type 4. The Special One 

In the childhood of the Special One, there is some kind of abandonment by a care-giving figure, even if it was not done intentionally. The child loses the person they are close to. So they long for that person to return, along with their love and approval. They look critically at themselves, wondering if there was something wrong with them that caused the loved one to leave. Emotionally they are grieving for what is lost. And they envy those around them who still have their loved ones.

Special Ones focus inward on themselves and their feelings. They feel they need to prove to the world that they are special in order to avoid being abandoned again. They often become artists, dancers, painters, singers, and poets to express the depth of their feeling in their art. The Special Ones’ ability to feel deeply also makes them able to sympathize and listen to others who are going through a difficult time.

They are often dramatic in their expression, drawing attention to themselves in order to reassure themselves of their value to others. Unable to believe they are good enough, they are convinced they have something wrong with them. They may cling emotionally to melancholy or depression.

As a Special One, you can grow by being present in the moment, to appreciate what you do have, without longing for what you think is missing. Melancholy and envy of others pulls you down, while you're calm and originality can be your strength.

Personality Type 5. The Observer 

In the childhood of the Observers, there was some kind of intrusion on their person, which they could not escape. For some it was parental intrusion. For others it was an outside intrusion, such as a long stay in the hospital for extended operations. The result was that the young Observers retreated into their mind, into a place where no one could reach them, where they still had some independence. Their mind became their place of refuge, their strength, their sense of safety. They saw the world as unsafe and people as demanding and intrusive. The Observers keep quietly to themselves. They are very private, tending to keep different parts of their lives separate. They usually can only take socializing for short periods of time, because they need time to be alone to process what might have happened when they were with other people. Their home is their refuge.

Observers have a strong intellectual life. They often have special areas of knowledge and hobbies. Other people may interpret their withdrawn nature as rejection, but withdrawal makes the Observers feel safe. They tend to keep things simple to avoid hassles in their lives. In spite of their usually simple and modest lifestyle, they will spare no expense when it comes to an area of interest and expertise, such as camera equipment, computers, bicycling, or stereo equipment. They are extremely cautious, and don’t like doing new things they know nothing about. They feel safer if they research whatever it is they are going to do. They believe that if something could possibly go wrong, it actually will.

Observers are able to develop and grow when they are able to let go of the security of their mental life, when they let themselves feel emotion, when they learn to experience their body. They work through their fear of calamities. They begin to see that avoiding intrusion makes their loved ones feel left out. They grow by sharing their knowledge and stepping away from their fear of involvement. 

Personality Type 6. The Safety Seeker 

In the childhood of the Safety Seeker, there was either abuse or danger. The young Safety Seekers became vigilant, watching for any signs of danger to protect themselves. Safety Seekers have issues of doubt, insecurity and anxiety. They develop a habit of scanning their environment for danger. They have a slight paranoia about life based on their childhood experience. They can be suspicious, jumpy, act impulsively to avoid danger, or suddenly attack others for assumed wrongs. They can also withdraw, freeze up, or avoid others for fear of conflict.

On the positive side, they are very loyal once they know they can trust you. They are great troubleshooters on any job because they can see what might go wrong. They are use their minds well and have a great ability to put imagination to work. They are fair and follow the rules because this creates safety for everyone. They are sensitive, responsible and dependable.

Although they have a vivid imagination and well-developed minds, they have self-doubt. They don’t trust their own ability to make decisions, to discriminate, and to choose the safe route. They avoid conflict and may be withdrawn, but, when afraid, will sometimes lash out angrily

Growth comes when they get reality checks from other people, develop faith in themselves and focus on the positive, confident in their ability, knowing that they can cope and trusting life. When this happens, they become courageous. 

Personality type 7. The Enthusiast 

In the childhood of the Enthusiast, there was some sort of emotional neglect, but not necessarily intentional neglect. The Enthusiasts became self sufficient in getting what they needed at a young age. Now, they look out for themselves because they don’t believe anyone else will. This causes an anxiety-driven personality.

Many Enthusiasts are not aware of the anxiety that drives them. Enthusiasts are charming and sound positive. But they avoid conflict rather than meet it. They are visionaries and idealists, able to see and imagine the big picture. They inspire others. They never give up when motivated, being positive and able to see all the options. They are lively, fun, and full of energy.

The problem is that the Enthusiasts live in the future, never resting or appreciating what they have. Anticipation becomes a drug to them. They avoid the unpleasant things in life, focusing on the next interesting thing in front of them. Their fear of not having what they need causes them to grab impulsively They don’t take time to make wise choices, whether choosing food, a relationship, or a house. They fill up their schedule with many things to do, causing them to change scheduling often, fearing that they will not be satisfied. Enthusiasts focus on the next experience rather than on their relationships, so they hurt other people.

In the extreme, Enthusiasts become gluttons, not craving quantity, but craving many interesting experiences to fill their void. They may obsess about the future, planning and re-planning. The Enthusiasts grow by being willing to endure anxiety or disappointment, to develop commitments, to trust that the world will give them what they need. This can be done through meditation, by simply listening to their anxiety. Not having to take any action can be excruciating at first for the Enthusiast. They begin to see the value and beauty of the small, things in life. Eventually the Enthusiasts can calm down, move more slowly, take time to smell the roses, and stop avoiding life. 

Personality Type 8. The Boss 

In childhood, the Bosses learned that power is all that matters. They learned how to control others to get what they wanted. They got attention by taking control. The Bosses act as if life is a battle. When in battle, one does not feel fear, because it will disable you, so you deny it. If you are in warrior mode, you cannot let anyone see that you are weak, because they will take advantage of it. You project an image of fearlessness, which you have to believe yourself, in order to go out and meet the dangerous world. You believe you are invincible and that you are always right. To build your self-confidence, you deny your own fear and vulnerability and you deny part of your self.

At the same time, Bosses care deeply for the people they are close to, feeling and acting protective of anyone in their sphere. They can be generous to a fault. Yet, at the same time, they don’t see how they run right over other’s needs. They are very intuitive, and often pick up on subtleties that others miss. They make excellent leaders in the right situation. They have a great gusto for life, and enjoy it immensely, sometimes to excess. They are very direct communicators if they want to be. However they don’t believe the rules apply to them.

Bosses are bigger than life, because it gives them more control. They believe if they don’t, someone else will take control of them. Bosses use anger as part of their ability to take control. They are the authority figure, the one in charge, and they want to keep the upper hand. Bosses often scare other people.

Unchecked, the Bosses can become vengeful, and punish those who are in their way. They believe they must be on guard to survive, and therefore they must punish anyone who gets in their way. They become lustful, when their excess gusto for life is unrestricted.

The evolved Bosses grow in maturity when their self-serving power is transformed into concern for others towards a higher purpose. They learn to trust Life. They learn to relax their control and enjoy the simple act of Being. Bosses can grow into humility and become courageous enough to admit their weaknesses. The mature Boss becomes a calm presence, able to be aware of other’s needs as well as their own. 

Personality Type 9. The Merger 

In childhood, the young Merger is often lost in the shuffle of the family, ignored somewhat, neglected a little and overlooked. No one asks them what they think or feel, so Mergers don’t learn how to connect with their feelings and needs. Often, what they do say is ignored, so they learn to not rock the boat, to not say what they want. They learn to keep things in harmony for the family. They learn to get what they want in indirect ways, passive aggressively. Their attention becomes focused outside of themselves, on their environment, on the whole, rather than on themselves as individuals.

Mergers are generally easy going, friendly, and well liked since they understand everyone’s point of view. They can make good mediators because they see all sides to an argument. They avoid conflict at all costs because it feels dangerous to them, out of harmony. They tend to merge with their environment because they don’t know their own inner world. As a result of this, Mergers have a scattered focus. It is hard for them to find a reason to pick one thing, because they are not in touch with their own internal choices. Mergers are easily distracted. It is hard for them to make a plan and stick to it without structure, lists, and deadlines to guide them. They tend to forget things easily because they are not naturally focused. They find it difficult to make decisions and easy to procrastinate, since all choices look equal to them. They may express anger passive aggressively because of this fear of conflict. It can take them a while to form an opinion. When they DO have an opinion, they can be very stubborn about it, since it was hard to come by. It is difficult for them to know how they feel about something. They are easily swayed one way or the other.

In the extreme, the Mergers find it impossible to take action. They may become slothful from inactivity. What helps Mergers grow? Mergers grow by focusing on their own feelings, needs, wants, and opinions. They learn methods to help them set priorities and stay organized. They come to understand that avoidance creates more problems as things pile up, and people get disappointed. Conflict resolution skills allow them to handle disagreements more successfully. Ultimately, the mature Mergers learn to be self-aware and centered in themselves.

Credit: Surfer Sam