The “Big I”

3% and Self-Discipline
March 22, 2014
Games People Play
April 11, 2014

On a social media site a number of days ago a question was asked:  Can you name a movie that does not contain the letter I?  Many people had a response as there are a number of movies that one could pick.  It made me think, however, about how much we value the “I”.  There is always an “I” in everything we do!

There is a small minority of people who are abusers or addicts that are referred to as having the “Big I”.  Basically this has to do with the personality of the individual and how he/she presents that personality to others.  For most of us it is easy to see a “Big I” and the problem is that the “Big I” person seems to have no concept of their personality or of the impact of it upon others.  Initially these people appear jovial and engaged yet over time there is a feeling of control when engaging with the “Big I”.  That tends to make relationships over time problematic.

So what are the basic five traits in personality?  The following gives an overview regarding these personality traits.  Imagine, as you review each trait, how a person might overpower others by being extreme in their presentation.  Doing so will give you a clearer picture of what a “Big I” just might look like!

  1. Openness to experience: (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious).   There may be an appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and variety of experience. Openness reflects the degree of intellectual curiosity, creativity and a preference for novelty and variety a person has. It is also described as the extent to which a person is imaginative or independent, and depicts a personal preference for a variety of activities over a strict routine. Some disagreement remains about how to interpret the openness factor, which is sometimes called “intellect” rather than openness to experience.
  2. Conscientiousness: (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless). A tendency to be organized and dependable, show self-discipline, act dutifully, aim for achievement, and prefer planned rather than spontaneous behavior.
  3. Extraversion: (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved). This reflects a high energy, positive emotions, assertiveness, sociability and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others, and talkativeness.
  4. Agreeableness: (friendly/compassionate vs. analytical/detached).  Here we see a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others. It is also a measure of one’s trusting and helpful nature, and whether a person is generally well tempered or not.
  5. Neuroticism: (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident). The tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, and vulnerability is what is considered here. Neuroticism also refers to the degree of emotional stability and impulse control and is sometimes referred to by its low pole, “emotional stability”.

The “Big I” person is very loud, outspoken and outgoing. Although not a bad thing sometimes it can be annoying. Others may see the person as very attractive (not necessarily looks) to others. The person with a big personality will find him/herself surrounded by others seeking his/her company.  It is the annoying piece that creates the problems for the “Big I” and those around him/her.  May we all work to be big personalities without becoming the “Big I”!

“One of the most challenging things in life is figuring out who you’re meant to be. If you’re already on a journey to become who you are, you’re already a success because that’s further than most people.”  — Anonymous

Omega J. Galliano
Owner/Therapist - MFT, LADC, LP - Meg obtained a Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology and since college has been busy working in the behavioral health field. As a Nevada licensed marriage and family therapist, Nevada licensed alcohol and drug counselor, Minnesota licensed psychologist, and a Distance Credentialed Counselor, she has held various management positions in national corporations.