Five layers of depth and five stages of formation of personality
Human personality consists of multiple layers and stages of formation. Each of us are aware of these different layers in ourselves and others. We often act externally in a manner dictated by the situation that does not really reflect what we actually think and feel. At other times we feel compelled to express deeper aspects of our personality, even when we know we should not or that others may disapprove of our behavior. In order to understand ourselves and others, we need first of all to distinguish these various layers. We also find a wide variation in the level or degree of personality development between people. Some people seem to be more formed and fixed in their character, while others are more changeable and easily influenced by their external environment. Are these differences merely differences of personality type or do they represent different stages or degrees in personality development? Some people exhibit a capacity to accomplish more than others. Some are able to act as pioneers to think new ideas and try new things. Some are able to make a mark on the world wherever they are and whatever they do, while others seem to blend in more readily with the social context in which they live. Personality theory needs to account for these differences as well.
This article presents a model of personality that consists of five layers of depth from surface manners to an inner core we have termed individuality. Each person has all five of these aspects in some degree, but people also differ in the extent to which each of the five is developed. Therefore after examining the characteristics of each of the layers, the article also examines the five layers as five different stages in personality development.
These five aspects represent five different levels or depths in every person and they also represent five different stages or degrees of personality formation, in which people differ according to the extent of formation. While these words are commonly used in a variety of ways in every day life and in psychological theory, they are applied in a specialized sense in this article. Whenever the terms are used in this special sense, they appear with the initial letter capitalized.