"Don't get confused between my personality and my attitude. My personality is who I am; my attitude depends on who you are."
This statement was posted by a family friend. Being the “smarty pants” that I am, I went ahead and chimed-in. It was a rather long thread. Below is a synopsis of the ensuing discussion.
Let’s start with the root word from where the word personality comes. The word personality comes from the Latin word persona: mask, character, or role. Our personality is a collection of traits or characteristics derived from how others view us and how we view ourselves. Our personality is a conditioned and manufactured entity. Now, attitude can be any feeling or thought about anything. Our attitudes are expressed by verbal and non-verbal communication.
So which one are you?? The short answer is neither. But why? So let’s dive a little deeper.
I know that the following is going to be pretty deep. So, here we go. Ask yourself: are we but a collection of our physical traits, ever-changing behaviours and thoughts? Are we defined by our birthplace, our beliefs, our culture, our gender, what we own, what we wear, or our daily likes/dislikes? By the way, most of these things we inherit without any choice in the matter.
If the above is true, then what the heck is under the mask??? What is that entity that sees all of this? What is this entity that wears our persona? The entity that sees all the roles and actors that we need to play so that we can “interface” with society and politics. What is this entity? This entity is kinda/sorta a “seer”. This seer is the birthplace of our consciousness.
“Our true self is not defined by our personality or attitude.”
In Yoga, this seer is what we are trying to connect with or make union. As a matter of fact, this union is symbolized by touching the index finger (ego) with the thumb (higher self). This union is the whole point of Yoga! So deep down inside us somewhere, there is a higher self. This higher self is not defined by our personality or attitude. The higher self is connected to the universal consciousness.
So, how is this true self defined, you ask? This next statement may sound like a cop-out. Let’s check it out: this higher self, this true self, cannot be limited or described by rational thought! Our limited understanding and vocabulary cannot begin to describe our unlimited being. Interestingly enough, this “description or non- description” of the true self is not limited to Yoga or Eastern philosophy.
I leave you with a quote I stumbled across today while researching the Stockholm School of Economics Executive Programme out of all places. This quote is from Daniel Ofman, Business Management Consultant and inventor of the Core Quadrant Personal Development Model:
“You will never know exactly who you are. You are not determined by your qualities. You have qualities; they are not you. Identify your qualities but don’t identify with them.”