The manner in which the individual mind functions will, in fact, establish how the person processes what is seen, heard, felt, or otherwise experienced. As stated in The Personality Puzzle, “Because personality is something an individual “does” as well as something he or she “has,” in that sense personality is a verb. ” (2007) While the overall response process of some people may be outwardly comparable, no two individuals possess the exact same system of taking in and perceiving information.
For example, someone who is a hypochondriac may identify a stomach cramp as appendicitis, whereas someone who does not stress to great lengths over their health would perceive the very same pain as a typical twinge that humans occasionally feel. Another instance is an exceedingly angry person who feels a stranger is looking at them “funny” and will begin screaming at that unknown person, whereas a shy person might also presume a stranger is staring at them, but instead of making a confrontation, this bashful individual would do their best to avoid eye contact and the person making it in the first place.
The potential personality comparisons could go on for miles: the mentally strong and confident person who can find an upside to even the most catastrophic situations, versus the pessimist who sees everything as being negative all the time and with no hope of anything but the worst possible conclusion. An emotionally passionate or fragile person will feel mental strain with far greater influence than someone who is more apathetic. Even the way an individual perceives typical emotions is influenced by how they were taught and how they feel in general.
A male child is often raised to believe that he is not allowed to cry because it’s not a masculine thing to do, whereas female children receive far less reprimand for expressing sadness. Therefore, men tend to be a bit more emotionally hardened and will not become tearfully upset as often as women, though this is not always the case. In short, the way in which a human of either gender perceives life, emotions, and sensations will depend entirely on their personalities.
And those personalities depend on who and what have influenced and continue to influence those individuals on a regular basis. Can you react to something you do not perceive? How? In terms of the physical senses, it is often difficult for someone to perceive that which they cannot or do not comprehend. For instance, somebody who has been blind since birth cannot distinguish colors; this is because a blind individual cannot in any way define sight since it is neither a memory nor an ability they have ever had or known.
In terms of mental acuity, however, there may be circumstances under which discernment and a subsequent reaction to that awareness can occur. An example of such a state would be in the case of a suppressed memory that becomes triggered by external stimuli in an individual’s life – they may not be able to figure out why they are reacting because they cannot bring that memory back into their minds.
Such a person may be someone who was sexually abused at a very young age (perhaps as a toddler), cannot fully remember what happened at such an early time in their life, and who happens to grow up to become a social worker or a counselor to children and teenagers. Hearing about or helping to treat someone who has suffered from sexual abuse might cause this person to feel distress or sadness that they cannot understand the source of. Generally speaking, one must be aware of something before they can react to it.
However, since the mental self works differently from the physical self, a person can easily be ‘aware’ of something on a sub-conscious or unconscious level, not be actually consciously aware, but still have a reaction. How well do you think most people know themselves? What aspects of one’s self are the hardest to know? “In terms of the me, the self comprises everything we know, or think we know, about what we are like, including both declarative and procedural self-knowledge,” or so says The Personality Puzzle (2007).
Most individuals likely know themselves fairly well – after all, who would know someone better than they themselves? But even said person may not know everything there is to know about himself or herself. Some people are oblivious that they sleepwalk, or may not realize they have more than one personality. Others may have lost memories due to injury or trauma – memories that helped to shape the person they are today, even if they are not readily mentally accessible.
A classic example is the mentally ill person who feels they are right and everyone else is wrong; men and women in such a state of instability are also often times the first party to decide they do not need their medications. What of a manic-depression patient? Someone who, in a fit of hysterical confidence, jumps off a bridge because they feel they can fly? On a note that is more spiritual than psychological, what about people who have some kind of a mental connection to the memories of a past existence (for those who believe in such things)?
In contrast to a previously mentioned statement, there are times when someone else may know someone better than the person themselves. Tying into the idea of individual perception aptitude, someone’s friend, spouse or parent can occasionally detail something about someone that the person themselves does not acknowledge or comprehend. For example, a man might be able to tell you his girlfriend is clingy and over-protective, whereas she will simply say she’s deeply in love when asked.
Someone who feels they are always right and who loves to let everyone know would never accept it as true when they are told they are being arrogant (possible narcissistic personality disorder). The hardest aspects of oneself to grasp are personality flaws and quirks, or genuine mental illness. This is why, often times, someone who is mentally unsound must be told so by a loved one, or find themselves face to face with the enforcement of the Baker Act. Sources Funder, David C. (2007) The Personality Puzzle. New York, New York. W. W. Norton & Company