Personality vs Attitude


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I was going to put this in off-topic, but it appears that section has been closed. It very much relates to Military and Veterans, however, in that anyone who has been in combat has a lot of issues with which they must deal in order to come out of it on the other side as a relatively healthy individual.

I found this Personality vs Attitude snippet in my list of things to do on OCDO and thought I'd tackle it today. It came to mind after a recent conversation I had with my son, who to Psychology this past year and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Please do not get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am ~ my attitude depends on who you are and how you act.

I see this as a Freudian conflict between one's ID and one's EGO. Specifically, "According to Sigmund Freud, human personality is complex and has more than a single component. In his famous psychoanalytic theory of personality, personality is composed of three elements. These three elements of personality—known as the id, the ego, and the superego—work together to create complex human behaviors" (Source).

To review:

The Id
The id is the only component of personality that is present from birth.
This aspect of personality is entirely unconscious and includes the instinctive and primitive behaviors.
According to Freud, the id is the source of all psychic energy, making it the primary component of personality.

The Ego
The ego is the component of personality that is responsible for dealing with reality.
According to Freud, the ego develops from the id and ensures that the impulses of the id can be expressed in a manner acceptable in the real world.
The ego functions in both the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious mind.

The Superego
The superego is the aspect of personality that holds all of our internalized moral standards and ideals that we acquire from both parents and society—our sense of right and wrong.
The superego provides guidelines for making judgments.
According to Freud, the superego begins to emerge at around age five.​

As you can see, Freud's component approach includes many aspects of one's personality, but nothing about one's attitude. So where does attitude come into play? Is it the Id? The Ego? The Superego? Or is attitude something altogether different?

I'll stop highlighting the word attitude from here on out, as there's no longer any need to differentiate it from personality.

First, it's certainly not the Id, which is present from birth and includes instinctive and primitive behaviors.

Second, it may be the Ego, as it involves dealing with reality. It's often said that those who have a hard time dealing with reality don't have a good or proper attitude. Since the Ego ensures that the impulses of the Id can be expressed in a manner acceptable to the real world, it's fair to say that one's attitude and one's Ego have a lot in common, if not being different facets of the same thing i.e one's conscious, preconscious, and unconscious mind. Bad attitudes may very well be the result of un-developed and underdeveloped Ego. I would argue that a bad attitude stems from unsuppressed unconscious impulses whereas good attitudes usually require development and integration within a conscious mind. That being said, a conscious mind can make a bad attitude far worse, as well.

As for the Superego, that's more or less the cerebrum. More specifically, it's the frontal lobe, which is associated with reasoning, planning, problem solving, language and higher emotions, such as empathy and altruism.

Thus, while personality includes the entire range of how others perceive one's being, including the Id, the Ego, and the Superego, ranging from the lowest unconscious instinctive and primitive behaviors through learned behavior to our highest brain level functions of moral standards, ideals, sense of right and wrong, rules and standards for good behaviors on both conscious and unconscious levels, attitude itself is a subset involving one's outlook on life, part chosen, part formed, yet mostly modifiable.

One's attitude is a subset of one's personality, and an important one at that, as it not only reveals what's going on behind the facade, but it also tells others about the kinds of choices one makes in this world, for better or poorer.

With all this in mind, let's revisit the original statement in question:

Please do not get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am ~ my attitude depends on who you are and how you act.

First, is this factual, at all? Does one's attitude depend on others, who they are or how they act? Absolutely not. At best, it's a poor excuse for one's bad choices. At worst, it's the statement of someone who has no clue about either who he or she is or how they appear to others.

Second, since attitude is a subset of one's personality, there can be no "confusion" between the two. Attitude is 100% wholly a key component of one's personality. The two cannot conflict in the healthy mind.

Third, if you find these conflicting, then at best what you have is a troubled individual, one who has yet to figure themselves out or come to grips with their own personality. At worst, you're dealing with multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, or some similar psychological disease or condition.

And thus ends my brief summary of Freudian psychology with respect to the differences between personality and attitude. Bottom line, changing your personality is difficult, but changing your attitude is relatively easy, and with the right attitude, a good personality will follow. :)

I actually agree with you. Especially the last line about your attitude being subject to change. I have seen so many example of the exact same thing in my life.

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