We learned that our personalities are greatly influenced by biological and environment factors. In addition there are the social and cultural factors in personality.Our relationships with other human beings involve what is called social interaction. Social interaction is the give-and-take process through which human beings affect one another's behavior. This process is well illustrated when We play a game or carry on a conversation. One person's move-the batter in baseball making a hit, for instance-may star chain of reactions in others, whether players in his team or in the opposing team as well as among the spectators. A nasty remark from one among a group in conversation will set another chain of reactions.The resulting interaction may involve many persons and affect their behavior patterns. To learn why one reacts as he does, one must understand the social interaction process, through which he has learned his ideas, habits, and attitudes.
The social interaction process is clearly seen in the development of one's idea of "self." The idea of self starts developing as the infant learns one thing after another in the world around him. The members of his family exert a great influence on his idea of self. As a child grows older, he gains experiences and learns to make definite responses to the attitudes of others, particularly attitudes that praise or blame. He learns to play the role expected of him. This pattern of behavior expected of one in any particular relationship with others is called social role.
How different is the social role of student from that of teacher, or of a carpenter from that of an office executive, a farmer from that of a businessman. But once we know how others see us, react to us, and expect of us, we can begin to see how to play our own role. We can decide how we should act to obtain the best possible adjustment to the situation . We learn to play our role or roles in one group as well as in different groups. Consider that in one day you may have played the roles of son, student, athlete, customer, errand boy, churchgoer, and visitor.
As time goes on and you mature, you play more and more roles. Your idea or concept of self enlarges as you gain experience in understanding the attitudes of other people and their reactions to you. There is no completeness to one's idea of self. New experiences continually present new opportunities to "see ourselves as others see us" and to revise all early ideas of what we are and what we can do.
The pattern of living of a group called culture. Patterns of living differ in different places within the same country. All over the world people have developed different patterns of living. Differences in culture explain why there are different ideas about the "proper" ways of doing things. These patterns of living are not inherited. They are learned from generation to generation as the young are taught and trained by their elders. They are modifiable patterns that have been tested and improved upon for ages. Culture helps decide our social roles. In addition, culture sets certain limits on these roles. For example, culture sets a pattern of behavior for your role as a student, a son, or a daughter. Culture sets a pattern of behavior for you as a leading or supporting participant on the stage and even as a listener or onlooker among the audience. You do not do as you please but behave as you are expected to behave.
There are times when there is a conflict between the roles you are called upon to play. At such times, you must make sacrifices to adjust to the situation. A member of a basketball team or of an orchestra may, for example have to forego the pleasure of going to a movie, a party or an excursion for he has to spend long hours practicing with his teammates or the rest of his band. The adjustments made in response to conflicts in roles can cause changes or develop new behavior patterns in one's personality.
Your goal in personality development is a well-rounded personality that can help you meet situations in life successfully. You have learned the different factors at work in personality growth. By now you should be able to improve your own behavior patterns and make the best adjustment to those of others.
Bear in mind the fact that what you are going to be you are becoming now. You have the power to direct what you want to become. Use that power!