Jungian philosophy on personalities

I know, big words–right? It’s not too bad once you get into it.

According to Carl Jung, a German psychologist, there were 5 parts to one’s personality. There is the Self, the Anima and Animus, the Shadow, the Ego, and the Persona. (Source)

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The Self is a tad hard to identify; It is who we are at our very core. Once you strip someone of their masks and of all of their faults and their doubt, you are left with one’s Ego, one’s conscious, and one’s unconscious mind. When we are little, our Self is the only thing we’ve truly developed–but as we grow, it helps us to develop our Ego, and the other 3 archetypes mentioned in Jung’s research. (Sauce)

The Anima and Animus, are the “female soul image of a man,” and “the male soul image of a woman.” These are the two little voices in our head that whisper to us when we do things throughout the day. Some people call these your dæmon, many children call them a as an ‘invisible friend’–because their voices sometimes sound so real, that we take their advice not as our own but as another’s–but their advice usually leads us to think or do things we shouldn’t.

The Shadow is every part of ourselves that we deny, and hide from the world. Sometimes, we reject it so vehemently, that merely seeing someone else act or do the same fills us with an intense disgust and anger. Jung says, that the easiest way to discover what your Shadow represents, is to list everything you hate about the things and people around you; I.E. If you feel disgust at how much your friend needs to be dating someone in order to feel whole, you may secretly feel that way yourself–or you may secretly be afraid you are that type of person.

The Ego, while part of our Self, is most of what we believe represents our personality at our very core. It represents our unconscious mind, and all of the decisions we make behind the scenes without even realizing it. When one gets in touch with their Ego, they can get into touch with who they really are–much like our base personality when we were kids. When we grow up and get more involved in society, we lose touch with our Ego and cover it up with expectations and negative feelings. Children that are homeschooled are generally closer to their Ego than children that were sent to public school, and exposed to other children during key developmental stages of their brain and personality.

The Persona is the most famous part of our personality. It is known to many as the mask that we show the world, all of the good and the bad that we want people to see, regardless of what we really are. One most relies on their persona when faced with hardship or grief, and sometimes prolonged stress. They may help or hinder us, and some have become so used to theirs that they think one’s mask is the true personality underneath. Often times, one’s persona will be the exact opposite of one’s ego or shadow–if one is naturally shy or has a low self-confidence, the persona they show the world might be brave, bold, and completely self-actualized.

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Now that we have all of these nice little definitions straight, you’ll have to wait for my next psychology-related post to see what we do with these once we know them, why it’s important to further understand ourselves, and why it might be better to leave certain aspects of our unconsciousness untouched.

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Stay tuned!

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