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Faith and Spiritual Growth for the Maturing Adult

Spiritual and Personal Development: Personality Changes

Personality Changes

by Richard Johnson

Does our personality change as we get older?

What does it mean when someone says, "She has a wonderful personality" or, "His personality is 'the pits?'" Do we develop our personality, or has it been given to us? Does personality last for our lifetime, or does it change over time? As it turns out, our faith life has more to do with our personality than we might at first think.

Your personality is the sum total of: 1) your beliefs and how you express them; 2) how you see the world, yourself, and those in it; 3) what, and how you think; 4) all your emotions; 5) the choices you make; and lastly, 6) the actions that you take. No one in the whole world performs these six personality functions exactly like you do. Each of us is a unique, one-of-a-kind, never-to-be-duplicated entity.

Psychologists tell us that our personality is partly bestowed at birth (nature), and partly the result of all the forces and factors that act on us as we grow (nurture). Personality is not listed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, yet there is no doubt that personality plays a role in our spiritual development. Faith is a gift from God, but how we work with this wonderful gift depends upon us ... on our personality.

Intentionally embracing our God-given faith pays dividends in personality development. Maturing adults who derive a sense of meaning and purpose from their faith tend to have higher levels of life-satisfaction (happiness, contentment, and vitality), higher self-esteem, and increased optimism as compared to those who claim little meaning and purpose. Increased faith has been associated with other personality qualities including: greater cooperativeness, less hostility, lower sense of alienation from others, heightened concern for the welfare of others, a greater capacity for forgiveness, and an elevated sense of internal control of self. These, of course are all aspects of mental wellness and strong determinants of our overall quality of life.

A "good" personality is not the reason we celebrate our faith, but it's clear that deepening faith affects our personality in very positive ways. Perhaps our faith life is the undiscovered core of our personality ... who knows?

How does you faith life affect your personality?

To learn more about personality and its impact on your spiritual development, log onto: SeniorAdultMinistry.com

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$7.95 (25-pack)