Everyone is eccentric in their own little way. Apparently, our habits reveal so much about our personalities that our identities have become directly tied to every little thing that we do. From picking our noses when no one is around to smoking, each habit provides an insight into our real selves.
But the essential questions remain: “How exactly can we infer what a person truly is like from their habits?” and “Can we really rely on habits to form opinions about other people?”
For that, we will have to look for answers within the realm of psychology.
What the shrink says
According to Psychology Today, the process of habit formation is deeply influenced by repetition. When we do the same thing every day for an extended period, it becomes internalized as a part of our system. Waking up at 6 AM regardless of the time you sleep, for instance, can be a result of extensively conditioning the body to wake up at exactly that time.
It is safe to assume then that actions in the past shape habits. But the process can also be attributed to other factors as well. We can look at other behavioral aspects and find a correlation between a person’s past experiences with their present habits. Meanwhile, the field of neuroscience provides a more biological explanation of how habits are formed. These, in fact, originate from the part of the brain called the basal ganglia, where much of our cognitive abilities are developed. Once we can repeat a certain action, the decision-making part of our brain takes a step back and provides a certain level of control to habits.
What these explanations provide is the fact that our personalities — through our actions — shape our habits in the long run. This makes it possible to seamlessly analyze a person’s emotional and cognitive capacities by actions, no matter how insignificant they are.
It is already proven that habits are closely related to one’s personality, but creating parallels between the two remain moot. Although several studies are suggesting how habits relate to a person’s inner workings, more has to be done to analyze them properly and provide effective solutions for when they develop into full-blown disorders.
How habits worsen
Indeed, habits can turn for the worst. They will come to a point where they can affect a person’s performance at work or even his or her attempts to socialize with others. Even the most mundane of habits can greatly impact a person’s self-esteem. Playing with or curling one’s hair may seem like an innocuous activity at first, but left untreated, the habit can develop into a hair pulling disorder that requires psychosocial intervention.
Habits worsen when other people don’t seem to mind too much about them. This stems from realizing the uniqueness of every person. Basing our logic on the relationship between habits and the personalities carrying them, we can assume that these habits (however bad or unsettling they are) are already a part of one’s identity and it’s impossible to separate the two once the habits are fully formed.
But just like a tumor or an infected limb, habits that become too much of a liability should be kicked out completely from your system.