Personality Vs. Identity

Whether it is due to decades of social tradition or due to the influence of pop-psychology of the last 50 years, the result is the same: most people mistakenly assume that personality is an individual’s identity. Unfortunately, even official dictionaries seem to carry this understanding.

“Personality: The unique self, the totality of someone’s conscious and unconscious cognition and interpersonal behavior and related emotional responses”  – Stedman’s Medical Dictionary

“Personality is a stable, organized collection of psychological traits and mechanisms in the human being that influences his or her interactions with and adaptations to the psychological, social and physical environment surrounding them.” – Personality Psychology by Randy Larsen and David Buss

Because of definitions like those above, personality is commonly thought of and treated as if it were, an entity or person. This sets the stage for all sorts of problems.

To draw a better distinction between personality and identity let’s start with a few accurate definitions.

“Personality is the observed quality or qualities that constitutes the uniqueness of being a distinct person.”  – Oxford English Dictionary

“Personality is the particular combination of emotional, attitudinal, and behavioral response patterns of an individual.” – Wikipedia

“The complex of all the attributes–behavioral, temperamental, emotional and mental–that characterize a unique individual” – Wolfram Alpha

Now based upon those accurate definitions we can clearly see that personality is simply a pattern of responses or a complex of attributes. It is an observable process belonging to a distinct individual who possesses those observable patterns or attributes and it is NOT the person themselves.

The difference in meaning between identity and personality is as great as stating: “I have a dog” versus “I am a dog”. Therefore, personality is something “to have” or possess and not something “to be”.

Test it out for yourself. Here are some simple questions that can be asked as a means of determining, not only the difference but the importance of separating personality from identity:

  • Does a personality set goals?
  • Does a personality get angry?
  • Does a personality feel stress?
  • Does a personality fall in love?
  • Does a personality feel anything?
  • Does a personality think or know anything?
  • Does a personality contemplate its existence or purpose?
  • Does one meet and befriend the personality or rather the person?
  • Does your personality make decisions for you?

Simply knowing how you express your identity through your personality can open up a whole world of possibilities for your growth or advancement in both your personal or business life. Are you ready discovery how?

Please choose your primary objective from the two choices below: