How do we describe people? How is it possible to capture someone’s entire identity in just a few words? These quizzes that ask you to describe your personality in five words – it’s not possible. At least, not if you want a true understanding of them. Humans are complex, emotional and dynamic creatures. It would take years to fully understand everything that goes on inside one individual’s mind. And their mind can be very different to what one might expect.
Humans are complicated. We are constantly changing and learning as we experience the world, and the way someone might describe you now is probably very different to how they would have several years ago. Our behaviour doesn’t just change over time though; it often changes dramatically depending on who we are with. The way you act with your friends is probably very different to your behaviour with your grandparents, for example. Emotions also play a huge role in how we act, including the things that affect us emotionally and how we deal with these emotions, as these are different for everyone.
People can surprise us though. No matter how well you may think you know someone, one day they could do something entirely unexpected. The homebody books a trip around the world. The nerd gets a tattoo. Because who we are and who we want to be are not always the same thing. Sometimes it can take a long time to become comfortable showing the world who you really want to be. It can be a scary thing as well, taking an action that you know others will find strange or potentially shocking. However, it can also be liberating and triumphant and exciting.
Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising though. People are not simple, and we all have multiple personae and attitudes. It is entirely possible for people to have oppositional behaviours that arise in different situations. And just because you suddenly act unexpectedly does not mean you are an entirely different person. Old and new versions of yourself can exist together. Identity is not clear-cut, black and white – it is constant, dynamic, varying and fluctuating. It can be just as confusing trying to understand yourself as it is to understand someone else. A single person can be confident, shy, clever, stupid, serious, funny, motivated, lazy, brave and scared. This is perfectly normal human behaviour. The world is huge and scary and exotic, and we change in order to accommodate, experience and understand it.
Song: Mz Hyde – Halestorm