A Personality Test That Can Help You Live Your Best Life

Dawn Bevier

How to use a Freudian theory to understand yourself and grow as a person

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World-renowned “father of psychology” Sigmund Freud theorized that the human personality is composed of three distinct components — the id, the ego, and the super-ego.

He believed that each of these forces acts on a human being and commandeers their thoughts and behaviors at any given moment in time.

What defines each of these forces?

I’ll explain here.

The Id

The id is present from birth and demands immediate gratification and pleasure. It is the “I want” and “I must have it now” part of our being. It is the thing which makes us choose the dessert over the diet or hit the “snooze” button when we should go exercise. It is savage in its intensity and if uncontrolled, can lead us down a path to destruction. However, it can also be useful (as I’ll explain later).

But generally, we should be thankful that it is only one part of our personality.

Enter the Ego.

The Ego

The ego is the voice of logic and reason. Many times, it can restrain the thunderous voice of the id and allow us to make more rational choices when we are confronted with life’s circumstances. For instance, it may compel you to choose a sweet fruit as a “dessert” choice rather than the creme brulee. It may allow you to “snooze” for ten extra minutes, but then get up and exercise. It represents the balance between desire and consequence and can be very useful indeed.

However, there is one last force working on our human behavior: the superego.

The Superego

The superego is our conscience — our deeply rooted moral and ethical value systems. It reaches farther than simply making a logical decision; it desires to make the “right” decision, one that coincides with our knowledge of what we know is the most moral and “perfect” choice based on our individual principles and value systems. It is the spirit that helps us totally refrain from dessert or wake to put on our workout clothes the minute the alarm wakens us.

The goal, of course, is a balanced interaction of these three subconscious forces.

But oh my goodness, who in this crazy world is balanced?

I’m not, and I’m guessing you aren’t either.

Which part of these components is the most dominant force working in your life? Which do you connect to most naturally?

This is an extremely important question to ask yourself because knowing the answer will help you better adjust your life to create a healthy balance.

Our lives, our relationships, and our fortunes can be significantly improved if we work to engage each of these parts of our personality. Here are a few pointers to help you see what I mean.

Lesson One: There is a time to let your “id” run wild.

We all need times where we break loose from the “Game of Should’s.”

If we didn’t, life would be miserable.

Of course, when I say abandon yourself to your pleasures, I do not mean “cheat on your wife” or “steal one-hundred dollars from the cash till.”

I mean, give in to the simple pleasures that at least relatively speaking are harmless.

Buy the sixty-dollar perfume you’ve been sniffing like a coke addict at Ulta.

Have the piece of pizza you’ve been craving after a two-week streak of good solid eating.

Leave the work at the office and go home and spend quality time with your family.

Don’t. Touch. That. Computer. To. Write when you feel particularly frazzled and burned-out.

Writer Virginia Woolf said, “Blame it or praise it, there’s no denying the wild horse in us.”

Let your wild horse run free at times. Give in to the delights of this short life we live. Not all the time. But enough to keep the “wild horse” happy and healthy.

Lesson Two: Listen to the ego when consequences are of magnitude.

A wild horse can be a dangerous thing sometimes. That is the reason for corrals.

Temper your pleasures with ponderance.

Consider the 80/20 principle that may apply here. Many diet gurus say that it is fine to splurge in small amounts, say twenty percent of the time. Eighty percent of the time, however, make rational and healthy decisions about what you eat.

Perhaps the same goes with life in general.

We cannot expect to achieve our goals if we do not embrace logic. The world is largely cause and effect. And to deny this is foolish.

Philosopher Marcus Aurelius stated that each choice we make “echoes in eternity.”

And no truer words have ever been said.

If you are facing a huge dilemma in life or a befuddling choice that needs to be made, balance what you want with what logically needs to be done to achieve your ultimate goal.

So buy the perfume. But leave the shopping center and head home after the purchase.

Eat the pizza. But stop at once slice. And resolve to get back on your diet at the next meal.

Leave the work at the office, but have a “working lunch” the next day to catch up on tasks undone.

Don’t write for one day. But up and at ’em the next morning. No excuses allowed.

Some days were meant to be “logic free.” But most of the time, we need to think things through to achieve a happy life balance.

Lesson Three: Don’t forget the superego.

There are times for black and white. And times for a lovely hue of gray. Morality is black and white. Other things? Not so much.

And by morality, I don’t necessarily mean religion. I mean your own integrity and values.

Never sacrifice your own principles for shallow pleasures. Never let logic convince you to do something that will erode your ethics.

Doing so will tether you to a lifetime of self-hatred and shame. And no prize, no dollar amount will compensate for your feelings of self-disgust.

Listen to that voice inside you when you are about to give in to something that you know is wrong. Something that will destroy all your hard work. Something that will breed pain or suffering for others. Sometimes that will trigger a series of tragic effects for you and others from that moment forward.

There’s a reason we have a conscience. Call it God. Call it what you will. But most of the time, it is an internal warning that should not be ignored.

The Bottom Line:

Remember that Byrds’ song “To Everything There Is a Season”? Perhaps this is the case for balancing those Freudian forces at work within us. There’s a time for work and a time for play: “a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

And to remain frolicking in the summer sun unheedingly is to be unprepared for winter’s cold coming. And to remain tethered to the dark depths of winter’s grasp is to forget the warm pleasures of beaches, butterflies, and other summer symphonies.

In other words, enjoy the moment, but don’t ignore the fact that fall and winter will eventually be making an arrival.

Doing this will allow you to “have your cake and eat it too.” And that is the most satisfying recipe on the menu.

Good luck, and may your summers be exquisite and your winters be temperate.

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Sanford, NC
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