Psychology of Personality: Agreeableness

Introduction

This paper aims to explore an important aspect of my personality—agreeableness. It will also outline the basis of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory and apply it to analyzing the manifestations of the trait in real life.

Discussion

It can be said that I am an excessively agreeable person. People who recognize me as such often label me as compassionate and helpful with some going as far as to say that I am empathetic and unselfish. Unfortunately, it is hard for me to enforce some standards on individuals around me if their feelings might be hurt. Also, I am prone to avoiding conflict at all cost. While this personality trait helps me to maintain diverse social relationships, sometimes I feel anxious about not being accepted or liked by others.

Trait theories are concerned with essential components of personality: extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, openness, and conscientiousness. While such theories can be successfully used for describing behavior, it is better to use Freud’s psychodynamic perspective for explaining it. The psychoanalyst has argued that the human personality is driven by three major motivational elements: id, ego, and superego.

The id is an unconscious force that operates on the basis of immediate gratification, thereby leading to the reduction of tension caused by biological drives. The id is the most primitive component of an individual’s personality, which is present at birth and affects both sex and death instincts. The ego is another motivational force that starts developing soon after birth and is necessary for satisfying demands of the id in a compromising manner. The development of ego is associated with the delayed gratification and consideration of consequences of a certain action. The third component of personality is the superego, which functions according to acquired social values and principles as well as norms and standards of behavior.

Agreeableness is an aspect of my personality that defines much of my behavior. For example, I often help my grandfather on the farm with raising animals and give my friend Julia free math lessons. I find it hard to say ‘no’ to people and habitually settle for less than I deserve. By using Freud’s psychoanalytical approach to personality, it is possible to recognize that anxiety about not being accepted or liked by others that I sometimes experience during social interactions stems from the inability of my ego to reconcile the id’s demands with those of superego and reality. Freud would probably argue that my ego suppresses unconscious urges of the id in order to mediate between its desires and realistic methods of satisfaction. As such, agreeableness can be seen as an obstacle preventing my id from running amok.

It can be said that the state of anxiety results from the ego’s understanding of harmful consequences of the satisfaction of the id’s desires. In my case, it might be the urge to act in a selfish manner. The psychic distress produced by the interactions between three motivational forces is reduced by mental strategies that block harmful impulses of the id. These strategies or defense mechanisms can be manifested in repression, denial, regression, projection, displacement, and rationalization among others.

Conclusion

The paper has helped me to better understand agreeableness as an aspect of my personality that plays an essential role in shaping my behavior. Freud’s psychoanalytical approach to personality has been used to explain my anxiety over not being liked.