What Makes Me Tick?

By: Samantha Hillard

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My Personality

I have changed tremendously over the years, but it seems that my personality remains constant no matter what phase I am in. I credit this to nurture from my experiences as a child. My family is very social. They love big gatherings and events, and they get people together as often as possible. I can’t relate to that at all. When I was very young I had no problem socializing and even enjoyed being around people occasionally, however, I never minded being alone. Certain events in my early childhood strengthened this preference and as I grew older my introversion never diminished. When I started school, I was overwhelmed by the presence of so many people and would exclude myself from socializing as much as possible. When meeting new people I would mumble a polite greeting and retreat as quickly as possible. Much of this still holds true for me today. I manage a few close friends and only socialize confidently with people I am very comfortable with. Interactions with most people leave me stressed and anxious no matter how great the person is. I often find myself very intimidated and unprepared in social situations. I prefer to go unnoticed and go about my routine without interruption. Only when I am alone or with very close acquaintances do I truly feel confident and comfortable. This has made me a very self-motivated person since I rarely rely on others for support. I have always had clear goals set for what I want and push myself to reach those goals. I am also organized and prefer to have everything planned and scheduled in order to be as efficient and stress-free as possible. I am not a very relaxed person at all.

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My Emotions

My introversion usually keeps me from being very open with my emotions. For me, displaying my true emotions and expanding upon them are two very difficult tasks. Unless I am very comfortable with someone, there is no chance that I will let them in on my emotions. I often experience stress and anxiety and these cause nervous behaviors. However, I don’t typically allow my negative emotions to show. I may be upset, but I do my best to display only positive energy most of the time. It is imperative that I remain composed and appear calm. I try to seek out or create something positive in every situation to keep myself from dwelling on what didn't go well and give myself some foundation to start over or modify my plan. That said, I don’t attempt to stop myself from feeling any emotion that I may experience because emotions act as a guide in many situations and even negative emotions can help determine how I should proceed. I typically experience intense, high energy emotions. When I am happy, I’m bursting with energy and excitement over every trivial thing. Even negative emotions are very busy for me, from anxious motions such as tapping my feet to angry shouting in times of frustration. It is unusual for me to experience a state of calm, uneventful feelings.

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Social and Emotional Intelligence

My social and emotional intelligence are a result of nurture. The environment I grew up in had a huge impact on the way I process and regulate my emotions. My mother and grandmother have the same short tempers and are incredibly stubborn. This is a trait I also used to see in myself. However, watching them struggle and sometimes fail to fully control their frustration in certain situations taught me a lot. I saw how their inability to regulate their temper negatively affected them and also the people around them. This lead me to become more socially and emotionally intelligent in order to preserve the positive impact I want to have on people. Through self reflection I have learned to identify my emotions and recognize the behaviors that come with them. I have also discovered many ways to regulate my emotions and direct them towards positive outcomes. For example, my emotions often guide my art. I use photography, writing, and creating things as an outlet for both positive and negative emotions. As well as recognizing my own emotions, I am able to interpret and respond to the emotions of others. I make time to notice the little details about people such as facial expressions or personality traits. Being aware of my emotions and the emotions of others and also knowing how to react to these emotions allows me to control the impact I am making on the world around me.

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Why Is This Important?

My level of self awareness and awareness of others has played a big role in shaping my story. If I wasn't able to regulate my emotions and respond appropriately to the emotions of the people I interact with I would not be very successful in any area of my life. As a student, I come in contact with many people every day. Being in control of my emotions helps ensure that I have positive interactions with those around me. It is vital that I don’t let my emotions interfere with my schoolwork. This helps me stay on the right path to success and achieving my academic goals. My social and emotional intelligence also affects my success in terms of my personal goals. In order to become a professional photographer or author, I need to be able to regulate my emotions and behavior in order to stay on task and make sure that interactions with people who could help me go well. My relationships with friends and family depend heavily on my ability to control myself and know how to behave around them. Since I have learned how important it is to be socially and emotionally intelligent, I have felt much happier and more in control. I realized that while there are many situations I can’t control, I can control how I react to them and how I let them shape me as a person. I also discovered that being aware and in control of the energy I put into the world allows me to choose the impact I have on people. I could let negative emotions get the best of me, but then I wouldn't have the energy or capability to make the people around me happy. Instead I choose to seek out and create positivity all around me and assist others in experiencing these wonderful feelings as well.