Introspecting With the Big 5 Personality Traits

Psychologists, psychology fans, and enthusiasts alike make a huge fuzz about the big five personality traits. Not very surprisingly, it finds its place in the internet community that builds up and keeps ahold of its hype. Sufficient scientific backing and wider approval from the scientific community makes it all the more relevant. I, as anyone else should be, became curious since the time it first reached my ears. This made me take a sharper dig at the whole fuzz and let’s just say I have a lump to share.

So, what are the “big 5 personality traits”?

My mind had the same question running when I first read the title of a related article. I see a similar mind in my reader. Don’t worry, I don’t plan to bore anyone with excessive theory. Neither am I qualified to talk about it. But I have to slip a little bit of detail to keep the article relevant for every reader. The best and popular way to memorize the big 5 personality traits is by remembering the word “OCEAN”. Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. These are known as the “big 5” and I assume anyone would have already heard one or two of the traits.

Openness

Openness is just what it sounds like. It gauges a person by his open-mindedness. Openness has sub-traits like Imagination, Artistic interests, Emotionality, Adventurousness, Intellect, and Liberalism.

Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness is the trait related to self-discipline. It includes sub-traits like Self-efficacy, Orderliness, Dutifulness, Achievement-striving, Self-discipline, and Cautiousness.

Extraversion

Extraversion as already clued by the name relates a person’s social abilities. It has sub-traits like Friendliness, Gregariousness, Assertiveness, Activity level, Excitement-seeking, and Cheerfulness.

Agreeableness

Agreeableness is the personality trait that exhibits sympathetic and cooperative behavior. Agreeableness has sub-traits like Trust, Morality, Altruism, Cooperation, Modesty, and Sympathy.

Neuroticism

Neuroticism deals with emotional stability. It has sub-traits like Anxiety, Anger, Depression, Self-consciousness, Immoderation, and Vulnerability.

Plotting myself on the big 5 traits

It looks weird that I am openly sharing this detail. Maybe that’s because I have a bit of openness? The scientific test offered by 123test had something similar to say. While I took the test for fun which ranks me based on how I answer 120 statements, it has quite helped me inspect myself a lot. I don’t want to completely rely on the test result. That’s why I am individually reviewing all the traits to see where I am placed. Again, I know it is weird to share this detail on the internet. Especially, somewhere someone can easily track my real-life whereabouts. Or someone from my real life may see this and it might be weird to meet again in real life. That aside, I intend to pass the idea of introspection and the big 5 personalities can be a good framework to do so. I am only an example.

Openness has features like Imagination, Artistic interests, Emotionality, Adventurousness, Intellect, and Liberalism. I have always seen imagination and artistic interests as one of my positives. I often love to create digital art and internet memes. I wouldn’t say emotionality and adventurousness is my best bet. It would be too numb to call myself a person of intellect. That’s not up to me to decide. I know I am good at mathematical reasoning. Math is a favorite of mine and has never failed it on my engineering course. I am not sure how much of that purely theoretical reasoning skill played a positive role in my life. I don’t think it did. I have often just ended up overthinking and taking horrible decisions with extremely poor reasoning when it comes to practice. Nor am I going to say I am a liberal. I think I have improved as I have grown up. I used to be the very opposite of liberal during my teenage years. Ever since I entered adulthood, it has fainted consistently replaced with liberal views. But I am not that open to new ideas or tolerant of such changes.

Conscientiousness maybe my weakest trait since it is the trait of self-discipline. That is highhandedly my lowest quality. It gets worse because I was recently practicing to be a day time trader were discipline is the number-one success factor. Conscientiousness accompanies features like Self-efficacy, Orderliness, Dutifulness, Achievement-striving, Self-discipline, and Cautiousness. I can with no doubt say I am pretty much opposite of all these. I hate things with order sometimes and cherish disorderliness in life. Although it is like a flip switch, I can sometimes become highly ordered and a control freak. But that barely makes it two mornings across. I have been recently putting energy to create self-discipline. I identify it as the most lacking but prominently needed skill set in my life.

Extraversion is something I have mixed feelings with. It deals with a person’s social abilities. It includes features like Friendliness, Gregariousness, Assertiveness, Activity level, Excitement-seeking, and Cheerfulness. I am an introvert and I am happy with it. My idea of being an introvert is a person that has his maximum productivity unleashed when he is alone. I am at my maximum productivity when I am in my room with no one around. I also find it hard to make new friends. I find it hard to start a conversation or enter one. Sometimes my social inability has been dumped as ego by few and it kind of hits. But this more like a bridge. I may not able to start or engage a conversation but if I managed to do, I can keep it. I have a good ability to create spontaneous jokes and keep the conversation flowing. But for that to happen, I have to become extremely comfortable with the social circle. My closest friends know how much of loud mouth offensive joke maker I am while my distant friends and family would be surprised if they see me like that.

Agreeableness sounds like something nobody would publicly want to acknowledge one doesn’t have. My weighting on agreeableness is a 50-50. It includes features like Trust, Morality, Altruism, Cooperation, Modesty, and Sympathy. Nobody would want to portray themselves as lacking any of this. But having said that, in introspection, understanding the truth and acknowledging it is more important than imaginative deception. I don’t want to tell lies to myself do I. That would be fatal. I get very sympathetic to pets and animals. I get sympathetic to people suffering far away. But I have often found myself not so sympathetic to things happening in the immediate surrounding. I realized I just don’t notice them as much. I don’t trust people generally and has some bad case of cooperation. I generally have a good sense of what is right and wrong but I can compromise it depending on the reward. When I do accomplish something with the help of others, I have some great indebtedness with them. Sometimes that is taken too far and often ended up in disappointment.

Neuroticism is the trait that factors in emotional stability. It has features like Anxiety, Anger, Depression, Self-consciousness, Immoderation, and Vulnerability. This trait looks like where all of the internets accumulate together. If people with neuroticism became a country, I must be given the crown. The test from 123test.com gave me over 95% for this. The most dominant trait in my personality. Although I am giving out all the negative vibes by saying all this, it is not that bad. I am consciously aware of my overthinking and accompanying anxiety, anger, and depression. I have made it to muscle memory to tackle such attacks immediately by manipulating my conscious mind. I can pretty much get over anxiety and depression. When it comes to anger, that’s debatable. I do have short bursts often but it has diminished from what I experienced during my teenage years. Vulnerability must be my weakest link. I am easily vulnerable to being made fun of or being called names. I hate it and I just may throw a punch at completely uncalled situations. Now that I am aware, I will keep it my conscious mind, rinse, repeat, and try to improve.

My concluding thoughts

I think introspection is generally a great tool for mental exercise. Sometimes people don’t have a clue, then the big 5 traits are a good framework to do so. I don’t buy the results brought to me by the internet tests. It doesn’t look like me in one situation vs another. But independently going through these traits and sub-traits has made me rethink of many real-life situations. It made me give some solid understanding of what went wrong or right in particular situations. Also not to mention I got some serious cringe remembering some past events. I am happy with that, it shows I have matured up to think my past self was cringy.

A word of warning, there is a temptation to lie to oneself about bad qualities while intensifying the good one. Impartial self-analysis is required to get the correct result. Such inbuilt temptations can be tackled by being consciously aware of it. Have a great day introspecting.

Kill Your Ego Before It Kills You

Today I woke up to the news about a 15-year-old girl that committed suicide because her friend got better marks than her. Yes, you have read that correctly, there are no mistakes and it is way more usual than you think it is.

The story becomes more pity since this happened in India and the exam the news is referring to is 10th grade. As someone that had gone through this, I can tell that the certificate that comes with it doesn’t care about the marks. It for the most part is just used as proof of birth date.

Whatever, let that rest and take a glimpse of what it reflects for the rest of the world events. Almost every chaotic things that have happened in individual, societal, cultural, and national level can be traced to the ego of someone or a group.

The centuries of wars that have been fought to the couples you saw yesterday fighting the park, the lion’s share of their problem lies with ego. Ego is the ultimate component that spurs up racism, nationalism, and worst-case extremism.

What causes ego?

Ego is a sense of oneself. Ego is a natural-born enemy because of its ability to blind you to materialistic needs while ignoring the spiritual demands. When you compare yourself to others on materialistic factors like wealth, physic, looks, or in the above case -marks, the ego starts playing its games.

The question here is really if you should compare others with materialistic factors. Does it make any sense? The answer is a solid no. It only takes a little bit of common sense applied to derive the answer. That maybe the reason why almost all major religions in the world give the same harmonious answer. Whether you are a follower of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, or Christianity, all religions have pretty much similar conclusions.

The problem lies when we see religions through a materialistic view. None of the holy books are written to be seen as a solid physical story that happened sometime in the medieval or ancient human history. They are written as parallels to what should be seen in a spiritual point of view. All these books have war and gruesome depictions of violence. Are they telling us to pick up weapons and establish dominance? Are they telling us that war is inevitable?

Unfortunately for the majority, these are seen as material things. This makes all the difference in the world. The ultimate goal to achieve in all these religions is what can be scientifically classified as “ego death”.

When the Quran and the Bible tell you to convert people to Islam or Christianity, it never meant you to do it by force or offering. To be a follower of Islam or Christianity means to be free from your ego. But people relentlessly compare one religion over another materialistically and come up with bad conclusions. What Quran and Bible said is the same as the idea of “moksha” in Hinduism. A similar idea is there in Buddhism and all of them tell you what we can scientifically classify today as “ego death”.

It is however unfortunate and silly at the same time when we see these religions fighting each other to claim which one is better. This fighting is stemming from the human ego, the very thing these religions tried so hard to destroy. I think now is a very worthy time to the renaissance of the phrase: “You have become what you swore to destroy”. That’s pretty much how religion ended up in the modern world.

What is ego death?

The word sounds something dangerous of a mental condition and that may be true to an extend. Ego death is a temporary state of being that many people have achieved with the help of drugs. That could be one of the reasons you got terrified when you heard it but ego death is not something you are supposed to achieve via drugs. You are just damaging your brain.

Ego death is a state by which you achieve an unbiased perspective of you and the world around you. Everything and everyone around you become equal and nothing bothers your mental state of being. No materialistic factors are weighted in your thought process that helps you achieve the highest levels of unbiasedness. You will stop judging others by their physical or materialistic elements and start judging them by their actions. Now you are free to compare. In such a state of being, there is only room for learning and improvement, not ego -quite literally.

In conclusion, it is rightfully said that one’s greatest enemy is himself. Because the identity of himself is exposed by one’s ego. When there is no such thing, he becomes harmless to himself. Any mental pain that you encounter in your life is a result of constantly thinking of materialistic aspects of your life. When they are neglected, whatever the point you are in your life materially does not matter. You have achieved success regardless of your physical state of being.

What is an emotional void?

So I was there the other day hanging around when one of my friends started talking about how an emotional void has formed in her life due to her relationship. When I first heard the term, I thought it was a generic word people use when they are doing bad. But it turns out that an emotional void is a real thing and it is a big problem in the modern community.

An emotional void is a state of being emotionally blank. It is caused by the lack of meaningful emotions. Feeling emotionally void is a common problem across the globe. Today, it is further accelerated by the rampant use of social media.

An emotional void of each person can be a subjective matter. If you feel like you have lost your reason to live, chances are you have no more reason to be emotional about anything. If your partner is emotionally unavailable for you, over time you can become emotionally void.

Emotional unavailability is caused by the fear of being vulnerable to others. By not caring about your and other’s emotions, you also tend to create an emotional void on people around you. That’s because you make them feel like they are purposeless hence instigating an emptiness in their mind.

What forms can an emotional void take?

As regarded above, an emotional void is a subjective matter. For different people, the reason and how they perceive it is different. An emotional void can take many forms.

Isolation: Isolation just may be one of the most frequent forms of emotional emptiness. Isolation can be a reason and a symptom as well as a form of emotional voidness.

Lost purpose: This is another form of emotional emptiness. In the modern world, this is typically caused by a busy life without clear directions. At one point in time, anyone can feel they have lost their purpose to live. This comes from realizations that life is not all about making money.

Genuinely uninteresting life: So many people lead uninteresting life. People just live for the sake of it. Most people go to work not because they want to, but because they have to. This lack of interest is itself a form of emotional void.

What causes an emotional void?

There is a strictly scientific reason as to what causes an emotional void. This is related to your brain chemical reward mechanism. There are typically three chemicals that dictate your brain’s mood -Dopamine, Serotine, and Norepinephrine. Each has its purpose. Dopamine releases when we experience pleasure, while the serotine is associated with learning and memory. Norepinephrine controls stress and anxiety levels.

It is safe to say that the absence of these chemicals creates the emotional void we experience. While this may be the scientific backing to the whole process, there is inevitably something beyond just brain chemistry. This has more or less to do with human nature and being aware of it can be important for a healthy and happy living.

To say what causes an emotional void in in terms of daily life:

  • Busy life.
  • Lack of self-appreciation.
  • Lack of appreciation from others.
  • Being ignored.
  • Feeling left out.

How to know if you are emotionally void?

  • You want to be left alone.
  • You feel life is meaningless.
  • You are not attracted to anyone.
  • Absence of happiness.
  • You feel like you have to fill your void, typically through addiction to alcohol and drugs.
  • You are always bored.

How to recover from an emotional void?

There is a lot of philosophical ways to see an emotional void. In popular western culture, emotional emptiness is seen as something negative while in some eastern cultures and religions like Buddhism and Taoism, emotional emptiness (sunyata) is seen as something positive. That’s because the eastern culture admires not being bothered by emotional states.

Whether you are from the east or west, it would be great if you can get over your emotional emptiness.

Embrace the emptiness

This comes straight from the east and it may just be one of the best ways to cope up with inner emptiness. In eastern cultures, people try to achieve emptiness in their minds. An empty mind is seen as more holy compared to the polluted ones.

As referenced above, what might constitute a negative thing in the west is something people often try to achieve in the east. It is a life’s quest for Buddhist monks. So if you just embrace the emptiness and accept it as an achievement, you will develop a more positive approach towards it.

If you stop seeing emptiness as something bad and instead start seeing it as something pure, you don’t need to be bothered about it. The ball is in your court.

Writing things down

The benefits of writing are something that’s quite researched and made evident throughout the centuries. Writing down things can cure emotional emptiness as it is a form of self-communication. It is a great way to reflect and understands oneself.

As emotional voids can be a result of being alone and feeling that one doesn’t have to communicate with anyone, writing can help fill that gap. There needs to be a bridge between you and the people that you may want to communicate to stop being emotionally void. Writing just might help you cross that bridge.

Light yourself up

(Without them chemicals, obviously.)

Some things can make you happy, some things can give you that dose of dopamine rush that can lighten your day. You know that one thing from childhood that always made you happy. Identify it and try to repeat them.

Is it playing football? Or was it sliding down the stairs? Just do that stupid thing even if you are an adult. Just don’t do it in front of others, that will be awkward.

Finding what specifically gives you joy and doing it is a healthy way to hold yourself together. Those could be small things, those could be stupid things but as long as it makes you happy, it doesn’t matter.

Feed nostalgia

You are feeling emotionless? Here is something that can make you emotional. Open your childhood album, search up movies that you watched as a kid or hear music that made your childhood or my personal favorite, download games you played as a kid and try to play it again. It hits me with a hell lot of nostalgia.

Another way to feed nostalgia is to travel to places that you went as a kid. If it’s a Disney land or an old park, go there. Go to your old school premises or a hotel you used to go to as a kid. So many things can feed you nostalgia and it can cut the emotional void in your mind.

Stop soul searching

A lot of people, most probably early adults wants to determine what they are supposed to do. They think they have some specific purpose on this planet and it is predetermined. These comes straight from our ancient cultures and religions but it is to be evaluated that to what degree is it actually true?

Nobody on this planet is born to do any specific tasks. You are being emotionless and numb not because you are doing the wrong things in life. That’s how life is. There are no well-defined wrong and right things to do. If you are physically strong it doesn’t really mean you should try Olympics or if you are physically weak does not mean you should ignore it. If you want to go to the Olympics, then go for it regardless of any factor given to you by birth.

Stop soul searching, there are no things you are “supposed” to do. Do things you like and stop letting your mind wander around.

Watch an emotional movie

Some movies can work your heart out. Emotional numbness is something that can be treated by doing things that can make you emotional. Watch an emotional movie that might just be one of the best and easiest ways to do it.

First off, watching a movie is an easily accessible option. You can easily get movies via a multitude of online sources (Not vouching for piracy here). You can watch it in the comfort of your phone or laptop without bothering anyone.

An emotional movie doesn’t always have to be a romantic movie with ups and downs. Watch motivational films, comedy films or documentaries. Generally, people associate the word “emotion” with sadness. While it can trigger emotions and help you recover the emotional void, it is rather best you treat your void with positive emotions rather.

Conclusion

An emotional void is a common problem and in most cases it is short-lived. Understanding that emotional void is not a permanent problem can drastically improve your optimism levels to move forward in your life. Emotional voids are caused because the human brain is designed to and can even be a coping mechanism.

There are many ways to deal with emotional emptiness none of which requires extensive use of money or high modifications in your daily routine. So you should let time figure it out and let the day pass. Stay safe and stay healthy.