What Kind of a Person Are You?

Do you ever stop to think about the type of person you are or the type of person you want to be? If you haven’t, here are seven reasons why you should.

1. To know yourself better.

Some people go through life, never reflecting on the type of person they are. We get so many messages growing up from our parents, friends, strangers, teachers, mentors, and bosses. Even society likes to place whole groups of people into limiting categories (e.g., Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, or Millennials). Just because you were brought up in a particular generation doesn’t mean you behave, express, or believe similarly. It’s like someone saying because you are a cat, you act like all cats. There are 38 species of cats on the planet. Are you like a tabby, a Persian, a cheetah, a leopard, or a lion? You are a unique individual. Find out who you are and let your authentic self shine!

2. To assess what characteristics are part of your value system.

We assign value not only to our own but to other peoples’ personality characteristics. If you value hard work but sit around and check out Facebook or the Internet all day long, something doesn’t add up. Either you don’t value hard work, or something stops you from being the person you value and want to be. This disconnect could be many things, such as a lack of self-confidence or mental, emotional, or physical distress. Or maybe you do not feel challenged by the work, are not passionate about your work, or the job goes against your value system.

Once you figure out your personality characteristics, then you are more likely to assess other people’s traits and discern the type of people you want in your life. For example, if you value honesty, do you have honest people in your life? If not, why not? Use the list below to pick out 10-15 personality characteristics you value in other people and rank them from least important to most important. Once you create this list, you now have something to gauge the people you meet.

Looking closely at other peoples’ traits isn’t about judgment or judging them. The intention is not to go around and pick out the things you dislike in people (for example, you don’t like her dress color). When you assess traits in others, you learn about the core values that matter to you. If the essential people in your life don’t have those core values, then it will bump up against your value system, and you won’t feel good being around these people. Once you know your value system, you might have to do some housecleaning and remove some people from your life.

3. To clarify where you are in your life and where you want to be.

When you know your personality characteristics, it helps you to clarify where you are in your life. When you know yourself well, it is easier to make decisions aligned with the person you are. It is also easier to set goals for yourself. There is an ability to be self-reflective about yourself and your life and to course-correct as necessary.

4. To acknowledge the truth about the type of person you are.

We tend to be our own worst enemy. We all have, to some degree, negative self-talk and limiting beliefs of ourselves. Within the first seven years of your life, several limiting beliefs have already been implanted into your subconscious mind. Here are some examples of limiting beliefs: I am bad, I am stupid, I am not lovable, or I am unworthy. As such, these limiting beliefs run subconsciously without detection. As a child and adolescent, you don’t have a fully-formed rational brain to help uncover and challenge these limiting beliefs.

What limiting beliefs do you have of yourself? Start to increase your self-awareness around your thoughts. Write down all your negative self-talk and limiting beliefs. Then start to challenge these thoughts. Write down the limiting belief on the top of the page (for example, I am stupid) and then underneath write down all the things about yourself that disproves the limiting belief (for example, I finished high school, I have a degree, I can do my taxes, I can do my job, etc.). This list is your truth. Once you know the type of person you are and see yourself realistically and truthfully, you will be less likely to buy into negative self-talk and limiting beliefs.

5. To acknowledge and accept the shadow part of your personality.

Your “shadow” is the part of your personality that you don’t like to admit you have. The shadow is unknown and hidden in the unconscious part of your brain. Through self-awareness and self-reflection, you can start to uncover the shadow parts of yourself that you don’t like to acknowledge. For example, your dad was angry and yelled at you often as a child. You talk about how much you hate how your dad yells and is angry all the time. Yet, you don’t acknowledge anger in yourself when you yell at your partner or your kids for not doing something.

Why is it important to know your shadow? First, so your shadow doesn’t end up ruling your life. If you don’t acknowledge your shadow, it will show up when you least want it to, and you will experience a loss of control. When you can recognize your shadow and see it realistically, you are more apt to notice when it shows up, question why it is showing up, and start to change your behavior to the person you want to be. If you befriend your shadow, you can look at why it is showing up in your life—there is a reason. It has a lesson to tell you. For example, you play the victim with your friends, telling them how ungrateful your adult daughter is and that she takes advantage of you and is disrespectful and under-appreciative. Yet, you enable your daughter when you always give her money. You play the victim, yet you cannot hold your boundaries and say no to your daughter.

Second, so you don’t project your shadow onto others. What is projection? Projection is when you deny your unwanted emotions or personality traits that you don’t like about yourself, and you impart them onto others. For example, you always talk and talk about yourself, and when a friend tries to add in how she’s been doing, you tell her she is not a good listener and wants attention. It can be difficult and uncomfortable to look at ourselves realistically, but it is freeing when you do. It allows you to see all parts of you, the positive and negative characteristics. You don’t need to defend yourself, and you feel more comfortable being yourself.

I want to add that your shadow doesn’t have to be a negative characteristic. It can also be a positive trait. It is individual to the person. It is what you perceive about yourself. The unwanted emotion or personality trait is weak or dark and needs to be denied or hidden. A shadow can be your rage or laziness, but it can also be your intelligence, gifts, or emotional sensitivity. We all have shadow parts of ourselves. Embrace and befriend your shadow!

6. To provide you with accurate information about yourself.

If someone challenges the type of person you are, you can speak to its validity or deny its existence. For example, if someone says you are unkind, but you know yourself to be a kind person, this person’s perception is false. Instead, they are likely projecting their shadow self onto you. It allows you to stop taking what other people say about your personally. You no longer need to be accepted or validated by others. You know the truth of who you are!

7. To grow and cultivate the person you want to be.

As humans, we are ever-evolving. We can grow and change into whoever we want to be. Take the time for self-reflection. Are you the type of person you want to be? If not, then decide who you want to be and what personality characteristics you want to cultivate and start to become them. For example, if you want to be more adventurous, then start to take some adventures.

Personality Characteristics

In 1968, Norman Anderson created a comprehensive list of 555 personality characteristics.1 He then had hundreds of students rank them from most desirable to most distasteful. The top four are sincere, honest, understanding, and loyal. The most distasteful are cruel, mean, phony, and liar. Listed below are the 555 words in order according to the average of the students’ ratings.

After the 555 personality characteristics, there is also a smaller list of additional personality characteristics from other sources. Although these lists are not exhaustive, they will help you to determine some of your personality characteristics, those you wish to cultivate more, and those you see as your shadow self.


EXERCISE

Go through the list using three different colored highlighters. First, go through the list and highlight what you see as your positive characteristics. Second, using another colored highlighter, highlight all the positive attributes you would like to grow or cultivate more. Third, go through the list with the last highlighter and highlight the negative characteristics that are your shadow side.

  1. Sincere
  2. Honest
  3. Understanding
  4. Loyal
  5. Truthful
  6. Trustworthy
  7. Intelligent
  8. Dependable
  9. Open-Minded
  10. Thoughtful
  11. Wise
  12. Considerate
  13. Good-Natured
  14. Reliable
  15. Mature
  16. Warm
  17. Earnest
  18. Kind
  19. Friendly
  20. Kind-Hearted
  21. Happy
  22. Clean
  23. Interesting
  24. Unselfish
  25. Good-Humored
  26. Honorable
  27. Humorous
  28. Responsible
  29. Cheerful
  30. Trustful
  31. Warm-Hearted
  32. Broad-Minded
  33. Gentle
  34. Well-Spoken
  35. Educated
  36. Reasonable
  37. Companionable
  38. Likable
  39. Trusting
  40. Clever
  41. Pleasant
  42. Courteous
  43. Quick-Witted
  44. Tactful
  45. Helpful
  46. Appreciative
  47. Imaginative
  48. Outstanding
  49. Self-Disciplined
  50. Brilliant
  51. Enthusiastic
  52. Level-Headed
  53. Polite
  54. Original
  55. Smart
  56. Forgiving
  57. Sharp-Witted
  58. Well-Read
  59. Ambitious
  60. Bright
  61. Respectful
  62. Efficient
  63. Good-Tempered
  64. Grateful
  65. Conscientious
  66. Resourceful
  67. Alert
  68. Good
  69. Witty
  70. Clear-Headed
  71. Kindly
  72. Admirable
  73. Patient
  74. Talented
  75. Perceptive
  76. Spirited
  77. Sportsmanlike
  78. Well-Mannered
  79. Cooperative
  80. Ethical
  81. Intellectual
  82. Versatile
  83. Capable
  84. Courageous
  85. Constructive
  86. Productive
  87. Progressive
  88. Individualistic
  89. Observant
  90. Ingenious
  91. Lively
  92. Neat
  93. Punctual
  94. Logical
  95. Prompt
  96. Accurate
  97. Sensible
  98. Creative
  99. Self-Reliant
  100. Tolerant
  101. Amusing
  102. Clean-Cut
  103. Generous
  104. Sympathetic
  105. Energetic
  106. High-Spirited
  107. Self-Controlled
  108. Tender
  109. Active
  110. Independent
  111. Respectable
  112. Inventive
  113. Wholesome
  114. Congenial
  115. Cordial
  116. Experienced
  117. Attentive
  118. Cultured
  119. Frank
  120. Purposeful
  121. Decent
  122. Diligent
  123. Realist
  124. Eager
  125. Poised
  126. Competent
  127. Realistic
  128. Amiable
  129. Optimistic
  130. Vigorous
  131. Entertaining
  132. Adventurous
  133. Vivacious
  134. Composed
  135. Relaxed
  136. Romantic
  137. Proficient
  138. Rational
  139. Skillful
  140. Enterprising
  141. Gracious
  142. Able
  143. Nice
  144. Agreeable
  145. Skilled
  146. Curious
  147. Modern
  148. Charming
  149. Sociable
  150. Modest
  151. Decisive
  152. Humble
  153. Tidy
  154. Popular
  155. Upright
  156. Literary
  157. Practical
  158. Light-Hearted
  159. Well-Bred
  160. Refined
  161. Self-Confident
  162. Cool-Headed
  163. Studious
  164. Adventuresome
  165. Discreet
  166. Informal
  167. Thorough
  168. Exuberant
  169. Inquisitive
  170. Easygoing
  171. Outgoing
  172. Self-Sufficient
  173. Casual
  174. Consistent
  175. Moral
  176. Self-Assured
  177. Untiring
  178. Hopeful
  179. Calm
  180. Strong-Minded
  181. Positive
  182. Confident
  183. Artistic
  184. Precise
  185. Scientific
  186. Orderly
  187. Social
  188. Direct
  189. Careful
  190. Candid
  191. Comical
  192. Obliging
  193. Self-Critical
  194. Fashionable
  195. Religious
  196. Soft-Hearted
  197. Dignified
  198. Philosophical
  199. Idealistic
  200. Soft-Spoken
  201. Disciplined
  202. Serious
  203. Definite
  204. Convincing
  205. Persuasive
  206. Obedient
  207. Quick
  208. Sophisticated
  209. Thrifty
  210. Sentimental
  211. Objective
  212. Nonconforming
  213. Righteous
  214. Mathematical
  215. Meditative
  216. Fearless
  217. Systematic
  218. Subtle
  219. Normal
  220. Daring
  221. Middle Class
  222. Lucky
  223. Proud
  224. Sensitive
  225. Moralistic
  226. Talkative
  227. Excited
  228. Moderate
  229. Satirical
  230. Prudent
  231. Reserved
  232. Persistent
  233. Meticulous
  234. Unconventional
  235. Deliberate
  236. Painstaking
  237. Bold
  238. Suave
  239. Cautious
  240. Innocent
  241. Inoffensive
  242. Shrewd
  243. Methodical
  244. Nonchalant
  245. Self-Contented
  246. Perfectionistic
  247. Forward
  248. Excitable
  249. Outspoken
  250. Prideful
  251. Quiet
  252. Impulsive
  253. Aggressive
  254. Changeable
  255. Conservative
  256. Shy
  257. Hesitant
  258. Unpredictable
  259. Solemn
  260. Blunt
  261. Self-Righteous
  262. Average
  263. Discriminating
  264. Emotional
  265. Unlucky
  266. Bashful
  267. Self-Concerned
  268. Authoritative
  269. Lonesome
  270. Restless
  271. Choosy
  272. Self-Possessed
  273. Naive
  274. Opportunist
  275. Theatrical
  276. Unsophisticated
  277. Impressionable
  278. Ordinary
  279. Strict
  280. Skeptical
  281. Extravagant
  282. Forceful
  283. Cunning
  284. Inexperienced
  285. Unmethodical
  286. Daredevil
  287. Wordy
  288. Daydreamer
  289. Conventional
  290. Materialistic
  291. Self-Satisfied
  292. Rebellious
  293. Eccentric
  294. Opinionated
  295. Stern
  296. Lonely
  297. Dependent
  298. Unsystematic
  299. Self-Conscious
  300. Undecided
  301. Resigned
  302. Clownish
  303. Anxious
  304. Conforming
  305. Critical
  306. Conformist
  307. Radical
  308. Dissatisfied
  309. Old-Fashioned
  310. Meek
  311. Frivolous
  312. Discontented
  313. Troubled
  314. Irreligious
  315. Overcautious
  316. Silent
  317. Tough
  318. Ungraceful
  319. Argumentative
  320. Withdrawing
  321. Uninquisitive
  322. Forgetful
  323. Inhibited
  324. Unskilled
  325. Crafty
  326. Passive
  327. Immodest
  328. Unpopular
  329. Timid
  330. Spendthrift
  331. Temperamental
  332. Gullible
  333. Indecisive
  334. Silly
  335. Submissive
  336. Unstudious
  337. Preoccupied
  338. Tense
  339. Fearful
  340. Unromantic
  341. Absent-Minded
  342. Impractical
  343. Withdrawn
  344. Unadventurous
  345. Sarcastic
  346. Sad
  347. Unemotional
  348. Worrying
  349. High-Strung
  350. Unoriginal
  351. Unpoised
  352. Compulsive
  353. Worrier
  354. Demanding
  355. Unhappy
  356. Indifferent
  357. Uncultured
  358. Clumsy
  359. Insecure
  360. Unentertaining
  361. Imitative
  362. Melancholy
  363. Mediocre
  364. Obstinate
  365. Unhealthy
  366. Headstrong
  367. Nervous
  368. Nonconfident
  369. Stubborn
  370. Unimaginative
  371. Down-Hearted
  372. Unobservant
  373. Inconsistent
  374. Unpunctual
  375. Unindustrious
  376. Disturbed
  377. Superstitious
  378. Frustrated
  379. Illogical
  380. Rash
  381. Unenthusiastic
  382. Inaccurate
  383. Noninquisitive
  384. Unagreeable
  385. Jumpy
  386. Possessive
  387. Purposeless
  388. Moody
  389. Unenterprising
  390. Unintellectual
  391. Unwise
  392. Oversensitive
  393. Inefficient
  394. Reckless
  395. Pompous
  396. Uncongenial
  397. Untidy
  398. Unaccommodating
  399. Noisy
  400. Squeamish
  401. Cynical
  402. Angry
  403. Listless
  404. Uninspiring
  405. Unintelligent
  406. Domineering
  407. Scolding
  408. Depressed
  409. Unobliging
  410. Pessimistic
  411. Unattentive
  412. Boisterous
  413. Suspicious
  414. Inattentive
  415. Overconfident
  416. Smug
  417. Unsociable
  418. Unproductive
  419. Wasteful
  420. Fickle
  421. Neglectful
  422. Short-Tempered
  423. Hot-Headed
  424. Unsocial
  425. Envious
  426. Overcritical
  427. Scheming
  428. Sly
  429. Weak
  430. Foolhardy
  431. Immature
  432. Dominating
  433. Showy
  434. Sloppy
  435. Unsympathetic
  436. Uncompromising
  437. Hot-Tempered
  438. Neurotic
  439. Unsporting
  440. Finicky
  441. Resentful
  442. Unruly
  443. Fault-Finding
  444. Messy
  445. Misfit
  446. Uninteresting
  447. Scornful
  448. Antisocial
  449. Irritable
  450. Stingy
  451. Tactless
  452. Careless
  453. Foolish
  454. Troublesome
  455. Ungracious
  456. Negligent
  457. Wishy-Washy
  458. Profane
  459. Gloomy
  460. Helpless
  461. Disagreeable
  462. Touchy
  463. Irrational
  464. Tiresome
  465. Disobedient
  466. Complaining
  467. Lifeless
  468. Vain
  469. Lazy
  470. Unappreciative
  471. Maladjusted
  472. Aimless
  473. Boastful
  474. Dull
  475. Gossipy
  476. Unappealing
  477. Hypochondriac
  478. Irritating
  479. Petty
  480. Shallow
  481. Deceptive
  482. Grouchy
  483. Egotistical
  484. Meddlesome
  485. Uncivil
  486. Cold
  487. Unsportsmanlike
  488. Bossy
  489. Unpleasing
  490. Cowardly
  491. Discourteous
  492. Incompetent
  493. Childish
  494. Superficial
  495. Ungrateful
  496. Self-Conceited
  497. Hard-Hearted
  498. Unfair
  499. Irresponsible
  500. Prejudiced
  501. Bragging
  502. Jealous
  503. Unpleasant
  504. Unreliable
  505. Impolite
  506. Crude
  507. Nosey
  508. Humorless
  509. Quarrelsome
  510. Abusive
  511. Distrustful
  512. Intolerant
  513. Unforgiving
  514. Boring
  515. Unethical
  516. Unreasonable
  517. Self-Centered
  518. Snobbish
  519. Unkindly
  520. Ill-Mannered
  521. Ill-Tempered
  522. Unfriendly
  523. Hostile
  524. Dislikable
  525. Ultra-Critical
  526. Offensive
  527. Belligerent
  528. Underhanded
  529. Annoying
  530. Disrespectful
  531. Loud-Mouthed
  532. Selfish
  533. Narrow-Minded
  534. Vulgar
  535. Heartless
  536. Insolent
  537. Thoughtless
  538. Rude
  539. Conceited
  540. Greedy
  541. Spiteful
  542. Insulting
  543. Insincere
  544. Unkind
  545. Untrustworthy
  546. Deceitful
  547. Dishonorable
  548. Malicious
  549. Obnoxious
  550. Untruthful
  551. Dishonest
  552. Cruel
  553. Mean
  554. Phony
  555. Liar

Some may be duplicates of Anderson’s list above, but the below list of additional characteristics is worth mentioning. They were comprised from several sources by compatibilitycode.com. These words are not ranked and are listed alphabetically.

  1. Accepting
  2. Accommodating
  3. Affectionate
  4. Affirming
  5. Agreeable
  6. Alluring
  7. Altruistic
  8. Ambitious
  9. Amiable
  10. Analytical
  11. Appreciative
  12. Articulate
  13. Assertive
  14. Attentive
  15. Authentic
  16. Balanced
  17. Candid
  18. Careful
  19. Caring
  20. Cheerful
  21. Comforting
  22. Communicative
  23. Compassionate
  24. Competent
  25. Congenial
  26. Conscientious
  27. Cooperative
  28. Courageous
  29. Creative
  30. Decisive
  31. Diplomatic
  32. Discreet
  33. Easy going
  34. Educated
  35. Effective
  36. Efficient
  37. Encouraging
  38. Enthusiastic
  39. Extroverted
  40.  Flexible
  41. Forgiving
  42. Forthright
  43.  Friendly
  44. Frugal
  45. Genuine
  46. Godly
  47. Graceful
  48. Growing
  49. Hard Working
  50. Helpful
  51. Honest
  52. Humble
  53. Humorous
  54. Imaginative
  55. Industrious
  56. Insightful
  57. Intelligent
  58. Intuitive
  1. Anderson, N. H. (1968). Likableness ratings of 555 personality-trait words. Journal of Social Psychology, 9, 272-279.
  2. Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

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