Skip to main content

You are in the: Building Personality Skills article section     

How Your Past Influences The Development Of Your Personality

How does development of personality happen?
What kind of things can influence it?

A persons personality is the result of how their subconscious mind has been molded over the course of their life. This means that the kind of personality you carry around is DIRECTLY related to things that have happened to you from the moment you were born …until now.

Let me explain…

Mike is 25 years old. He’s shy and not very good at chatting to women. He’s also sensitive to criticism and doesn’t take it well.

Mike doesn’t know why he feels this way. He feels good on the inside but when it comes to interacting with other people, his skills let him down. From this, he just assumes that that is the personality he was born with and so there is nothing he can do about it.

WRONG! Let’s look a little deeper…

Mike lives in the here and now. He doesn’t think about his past too much. This is because his subconscious mind is trying to protect him from something that happened in his past that hurt him in a BIG way.

What was this something?

When Mike was 8 years old, he was bullied at school. The bullies called him things like stupid, fat and ugly …and this really affected him. This went on for a few weeks before the teachers eventually stopped it.

However …the whole episode left its mark on Mike …BIG time.

In what way?

Because the bullies were critical of Mike, he looked inwards at himself to see what was wrong with him. Was he really stupid, fat and ugly? …And these thoughts made him feel bad.

Over the years Mike got fit and finished school with a very good diploma. These were concrete evidences that he was neither fat nor stupid. However, he still felt bad.

He then looked at the other criticism the bullies leveled at him (i.e. that he was ugly) and because he had no way to concretely prove to himself that he is not ugly (because looks is a subjective entity) …the bad feelings at having been bullied still existed because he hadn’t dis-proven this last criticism of the three he had received.

Years Later…

Because Mike hadn’t eradicated all 3 criticisms that had been leveled against him, he was never able to get over the episode of having been bullied …and so the negative effect of it still remained on him.

Now, at the age of 25 he is shy, not very good at talking to women and sensitive to criticism. Any time a woman looks the other way or if someone makes a slightly critical statement on something he might be wearing …he would equate that to the one criticism that still remained from his bullying past – ie that he is ugly.

Mikes past directly has an impact on his current personality. If however, Mike was to begin dating a good-looking woman, this would work towards him removing the final criticism he received at the hands of the bullies. Even if he broke up with this woman at a future date, he would still have this reference point to look back on and see that he was able to get with a good-looking woman and so he would have a concrete evidence that he is not ugly.

It’s All About Concrete Evidences

Right now, you need to understand that your personality is a construct of the way past events have affected your life. If there is some aspect of your personality that you are not happy about, then you need to do two things

  1. Look To Your Past: Look to your past to see what event or events may have caused that particular aspect of your personality. For example, if you feel that you are not funny and this hurts your confidence …maybe you can trace this back to a past event in your life where you told a joke to a group of people and none of them laughed at your joke. From then on, you thought of yourself as not being very funny and it knocked your confidence.

  2. Look For A Concrete Proof To Counter It: Instead of letting your current mental state be defined by an event in your past, look for (or create) an event in your present to counter the one from your past. You could read joke books, watch stand up comedy shows …and in this way train yourself to look for the funny way of looking at things and in telling a joke about that thing afterwards. This way, you would be better prepared at telling a joke to a group of friends and you would no longer feel you are not funny and hence your confidence would be repaired.

From this you can see how you can change a current personality trait that you don’t like about yourself …by examining your past for an event that has caused this and then providing a concrete proof that counters that event.

The more a past event has affected you, the more effort you will need to put in to counteract the negative way that event has affected your personality. But the important thing to remember is that it can be countered once you are willing to look for it and put in the effort to remove it.

But Remember…

But remember, the subconscious mind is good at hiding negative events from your past that have hurt you. It does this to try and protect you. However, the negative way that event made you feel often still remains.

This means you can be left with the negative side-effects of the event …without fully knowing what the specific event was. This is why you need to carefully think back on your past to try and isolate the event that has had the negatives effect on you.

Psychologists are very good at doing this. A large part of their therapy sessions involve delving into the persons past to try and pick out these events so that the person is aware of them and consequently knows what has caused them to feel the way they currently feel today. This makes it significantly easier to then find a solution to fix that problem in your present.


Report