Reflection: What makes a person’s personality consistent or spontaneous?


If you know me now, you’ve known me since 11th grade. I wrote that I was thankful for our ability to edit and change ourselves in my thanksgiving post. I meant it, I know a lot of people who have changed for the better, I’ve changed for the better, but when I look at myself now compared to then, I realize that it wasn’t really change that happened, but more of a consistent polishing.

I’m a consistent person, a remarkable feat given that I’m bipolar, but I guess with enough time that becomes a constant as well. I remember talking to someone and telling them that I felt like I only knew one version of them, and that was all I could know, because they had changed so drastically over the years. Then I looked at myself and realized that there were only three versions of me. My outgoing crazy energetic and social childhood. My self loathing almost bullied to extinction middle years. And the adult version of myself, that surfaced a little early due to all that happened in the stage before. I say adult version lightly, because you can only be so much of an adult in high school, but if you knew me then you would see me now. There is a lot of similarities and though they’ve been edited, my dreams and wishes haven’t changed a ton.

Honestly, I wonder if it makes me a little boring. But I think I’m like this because I figured out some tough questions early on. It was easy for me to pin-point what mattered in my life, and I didn’t have to have violent revelations of self discovery. I fell into a pattern of picking up traits and interests that made sense, if you had been following along you’d see them and go “of course Anna liked and added that!”. Simple. Easy to define.

Again, maybe boring? But I don’t know if people would describe me as boring either, because I’ve got a lot going on, it’s just the type of things in my whirlwind of character are typical for me.

It makes me wonder what makes a person this consistent.

Is it simply a personality type? Some people like to try on new personas like they try on clothes. Some people simply don’t like being settled to long. Then again, some people like knowing what to expect. Some people simply can’t handle abrupt changes.

Maybe we get it from our parents, my father hates change as much as I do, my mother laughs that I get it from him all the time. We don’t know how much our genes can really give us and we don’t know how much learned behavior plays a role in it.

Or it could be something deeper- I know that my bipolar disorder has made me long for stability my whole life, so maybe I just decided to make my life stable even if I haven’t always been able to make my emotions stable. Maybe I got tired of slinging around with every gust of wind and decided I needed deeper roots. Maybe the people who are the opposite of me just want something different because they feel like they’ve had no excitement and they’ve gotten bored of staying in the same place. Or maybe they’ve had the wrong type of excitement so they feel the need to find the right type.

Maybe it’s all of these things. Maybe there is no rhyme or reason to it. I don’t think not knowing is a good reason not to to ask deep questions about our motives and our personality though. I think it’s healthy to dig deep into why you make choices and what is pushing you to do something different or to stay the same. There is a ton of factors that go into every action, whether known or not. I think we should all spend a little more time looking into them, instead of simply dismissing them.

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