People with healthy personalities are those who are judged to be well adjusted. They are so jugged because they are able to function efficiently in the world of people. They experience a kind of “Inner Harmony” in the sense that they are at peace with others as well as themselves.
“The core of a healthy personality is any image of the self that the individual can accept and live with, without feeling too guilty, anxious or hostile, without being self-defeated or destructive of others.”
Jourard has defined a person with a healthy personality as one who “is able to gratify his needs through behavior that conforms with both the norms of his society and the requirements of his conscience.”
Characteristics of Healthy Personalities: Of the many characteristics of healthy personalities, the following are the most common:
- Realistic self-appraisals
- Realistic appraisal of situations
- Realistic evaluation of achievements
- Acceptance of reality
- Acceptance of responsibility
- Acceptable emotional control
- Goal orientation
- Outer orientation
- Social acceptance
- Realistic self-appraisals: The well adjusted person sees himself as he is, not as he would like to be. The gap between the real and the ideal self-concept, is very much smaller among the well-adjusted. Since the well-adjusted person can appraise himself, his abilities and his achievements realistically, he does not need to use defense mechanisms to try to convince himself and others that his failure to come up to his expectations is the fault of others or of environmental conditions over which he has no control. He accepts adverse evaluations as a form of constructive criticism and tries to improve qualities that others judge unfavorably. He is ready and willing to change, regard himself as worthy, even if not perfect.
- Realistic appraisal of situations: He approaches situations with a realistic attitude, accepting the bad with the good. He realizes that there must be rules of conduct which protects the rights of others and himself, and he is willing to abide by them even when they are not entirely to his liking. He finds that it pays to be a law-abiding citizen rather than a troublemaker or law-breaker. He recognizes that success comes only with hard work, the willingness to make personal sacrifices and pass up immediate pleasures in favor of the long term gains he is striving for.
- Realistic evaluation of achievements: A well-adjusted person is able to evaluate his achievements realistically and to react to them in a rational way. This contrasts with the maladjusted person who regards his successes as a personal triumph which shows others his superiority over them. The maladjusted person allows himself to develop a superiority complex which he expresses in boasting, bragging and derogatory comments about those whose achievements fall below this.
A well-adjusted person evaluates his failures realistically to see if they were actually failure for him or whether they were due to competition with persons whose abilities were greater than his. He also considers whether he tried hard enough and if he did not; whether his lack of effort was due to laziness, fear of failure, or some other cause. In addition, he assesses his aspirations to see if they were realistic and if not, he profits by his failure, setting his future aspirations at a more realistic level.
- Acceptance of reality: The person must learn to accept his limitations, either physical or psychological, if he cannot change them and to do what he can with what he has. He can also compensate for his limitations by improving those characteristics in which he is strongest.
The poorly adjusted person, by contrast, develops a martyr complex, feeling sorry for himself or blaming himself or others for his limitations.
- Acceptance of responsibility: The well adjusted person is enough of a realist to recognize that he should not accept responsibilities that he is unprepared to carry out successfully. He knows that by doing so he will not only win social disapproval for his failures but will undermine his self confidence to the point where he will be hesitant to accept future responsibilities. He accepts responsibility for himself and for his behavior. If things go wrong and if he is criticized, he accepts the blame and is willing to admit that he made a mistake. Acceptance of responsibility means that the well adjusted person is dependable.
- Autonomy: Autonomy shows itself in independence. An autonomous person does not depend on others when he is capable of being independent. The well-adjusted person shows his autonomy in several ways. In decision making, he is able to make important decisions with a minimum of worry, conflict, advice seeking and other types of running away behavior. After making a choice, he abides by it, until new factors of crucial importance enter into the picture.
- Acceptable emotional control: The person must assume the responsibility for keeping his emotions under control so that they will not hurt others or himself. A well adjusted person can live comfortably with his emotions. This is possible because he had developed, over a period, a degree of stress tolerance, anxiety tolerance, depression tolerance and pain tolerance.
- Goal orientation: The well adjusted person set realistic goals while those who are poorly adjusted set more unrealistic goals. The second major difference between well and poorly adjusted people in goal setting is that the well adjusted make it their business to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to reach their goals. The result is that a well adjusted person is a well organized one. He integrates his various functions and roles in life according to a consistent, harmonious pattern. He is thus able to make the best use of his time and effort and this increases his chances of reaching his goals.
- Outer orientation: The well adjusted person’s interest in others is revealed in a number of ways. He is unselfish about his time, effort and material possessions. He is willing to respond in any way he can to the needs of others and does not regard it as an imposition. The ability to empathize with others, to understand and to sympathize with them in happiness and sorrow without feeling envious of their successes or scornful of their failures.
- Social acceptance: The well adjusted persons see themselves as adequate to meet social challenges, demands and expectations and so they are willing to participate in social activities and are highly capable of identifying with other people. He can be natural, at ease and friendly in his relationships with others and all this increases his social acceptance. Even though he may have little in common with those with whom he is associated, he makes it his business to get along with them if circumstances make it impossible for him to seek the companionship of persons whose interests are more similar to his and who would meet his needs better.
- Philosophy-of-life-directed: As well adjusted people are goal-oriented, so do they direct their lives by a philosophy which helps them to formulate plans to meet their goals in a socially approved way. This philosophy of life may be based on religious beliefs, it may be based mainly on what they believe is right because it is best for all concerned or it may be based on personal experiences.
- Happiness: One of the outstanding characteristics of the well adjusted person is happiness. This means that in the well adjusted person happiness outways unhappiness and the person is an essentially happy person. Three conditions contribute to the happiness of the well adjusted person. All enhance the person’s self-concept and lead to reasonable self satisfaction. These conditions have been called the “Three A’s of Happiness”:
Dr. Nahida M.Mulla.M.D (Hom) MACH
PRINCIPAL.Professor of Repertory & PG Guide.HOD Paediatric OPD.,Child Counsellor.
A.M.Shaikh Homoeopathic Medical College, Hospital & PG Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Belgaum – 590010