Roger Harty: The Meaning Of ‘Personality’

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rsz_roger_hartyI STUDIED Latin up to junior cert in St Brendan’s college Killarney.

If I was to be honest, at the time I didn’t have a great appreciation of ‘the Classics’ i.e. Latin and Greek.

Of latter years I have come to realise how they play a huge part in the origin of many English words but more importantly they give us an insight into the word itself and as to why the word was chosen.

I find this not only interesting but also very helpful.

This works especially well with the word ‘Personality’. If you Google ‘origin of the word personality’ you will find that it comes from the Latin word ‘persona’ which means’ a mask’.

This is very interesting because it suggests that when we present our personality to the world very often we are not presenting our true selves but a false impression (mask) of what is really going on.

A classic example of this is when you ask someone ‘How are you today’ very often you will get the inevitable response ‘I’m fine’.

This is the person’s personality talking and it is almost like an automatic knee jerk response. The true situation is that person might be recovering from a serious illness or getting over a bereavement and is breaking up inside but still comes out with ‘fine’.

Fine is a very useful acronym.

F – F***ed up (fecked is the polite version!!!)
I – Insecure
N – Neurotic
E – Emotional

In other words, behind the ‘mask’ we may be in a very unstable emotional state but as humans we like to present to the world that ‘All is Well’ – we are not being our true selves.

Very often the reason for this is (a) unaware habit or (b) fear. We are afraid to present our ‘true selves’ to the world because we are afraid of what the world might think of us.

To guard against that we present a False self i.e. ‘Mask’.

When we take away the ‘Mask’ and present our ‘true selves’ to the world it can be very liberating.

We think that people will judge us (fear!) but we find that nearly always that is not the case, the real problem is ‘how much do we judge ourselves’.

Everybody has enough of their own problems to worry about, never mind paying too much attention to my stuff.

So despite what we think most people are there for our benefit and will, in fact, express a secret (or public!) admiration for our honesty when we reveal our ‘true selves’.

Biblical Quote: Let the first man without sin (problem) cast the first stone.

I had a first-hand experience of this earlier in my life (about 6-7 years ago) when I spoke to Deirdre Walsh of Radio Kerry on a lunchtime programme on the subject of what it was truly like to experience depression.

I am a professional businessman (optician) and could have given hundreds of excuses not to do the programme (fear) but only one reason to do it.

Because I wanted to do it and to reveal the real story of myself.

The reality was that I got hundreds of compliments and ‘No’ criticism. So the truth is all those fears were not justified.

I often said to myself that as many people must have listened to that programme as those that said they were at the famous ‘Munster’ win over the ‘All Blacks’ in Thomond Park.

This give rise to well known Expression ‘face your fears and do it anyway’.

That whole experience was very liberating – many, many people came up to me afterwards and told me that it helped them but I can tell you that it was as much a benefit to me.

• Next week I am going to write about ‘Fear’

• Roger Harty is a life coach and can be contacted on 087-6128336, on twitter at @Innerjoyz1 or by email 


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