Every mother knows that when she looks at her child in the nursery for the very first time, something in his personality is already on display: whether he’s active or quiet, shy or introverted, extraverted or anxious, passive or aggressive. You can observe these characteristics right away. And, as you get to know your child better, you recognize that you can frame his environment to form his personality.

For example: you may have a shy child, and you recognize that right from the start by his reactions around strangers. Now, by creating social situations in which you build your child’s confidence around others, your shy child learns to trust you, his environment, and other people through monitored exposure. Will your child ever be a gregarious social butterfly? Probably not. But, can you help him become more socially confident? Yes.

Influencing your personality type

There’s a window in which you can influence a personality type. Extraverts, for example, put out less energy when they are with others, and therefore, are replenished by social discourse. An introvert, on the other hand, uses up a lot of energy to socially interact, and as a result, can find too much social exposure both draining and exhausting. In fact, neuroscience tells us that there is a biological origin to the five core personality types. Thus, there is no perfect personality type. And, there are no clear delineations of personality, but rather, many personality trees in our forest.

Because you are always evolving, and fluid in your emotions, you have the opportunity to deliberately and consciously develop or strengthen some traits that you like, and lower the decibels of those you don’t. By becoming aware of your own personality patterns, you can stop projecting out onto others your feelings unconsciously. This is how you gain control over your behavior, rather than being compelled by your complexes.

By catching a glimpse of the principles under your personality patterns, you can positively affect them in a way that works for you; this is how you can influence your personality type. So, although you cannot change the consolation of your complete personality, you can influence those parts of yourself — those multiple trees in your forest — to be more of what you want to be. This allows you to be comfortable in your own skin, and gives you the ability to choose the appropriate part of yourself in different social and emotional experiences. Thus, rather than being reactive, you can choose which traits to strengthen and which traits to use, which traits to enhance and which traits to reduce.

In the final analysis, your personality traits are inborn and yet, your environment can shape your personality traits, even if they go against type. So when picking a job, a career, or a mate, it is important to recognize who you are, the real you, so that you can discriminate between your wants and your needs, and strengthen and coalesce the dominant traits that work the best.