I entered the field of psychology with the intentions of become a criminal profiler. The idea of analyzing, classifying, and studying the behaviors of people is what drives my interest in the science of the mind. During college, I took a job at a transitional home for criminals who were just about done with their prison sentence and re-entering society. Although I worked there for 2 years, it only took me 2 days to realize that I had no desire to be that close to a convicted criminal. As part of my training, I read the file of each of inmates that would be assigned to me. Essential, it was a profile or short account of their criminal history. Of course, when I spoke to the inmates one-on-one, their account of the activities which led them to incarceration was completely different. Some of them told stories of set-ups and conspiracy theories. Others told stories of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then, there was a small group who faced the consequences of their actions and admitted their wrong doing.
Social media has provided a venue for people to profile themselves. There is a space on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and even here in the world of blogging for people to give a brief biographical account of their life. On a profile page you might see someone describe themselves as driven or ambitious. There is also a space for a person to list their single or married status. People even go so far as to tell the world what they are doing every moment of the day (a criminal profiler’s dream).
I don’t know about you, but every time I read someone’s profile, I wonder how much of it is true. I wonder if that is who the person really is or who they wish to be. Think about it…how can you be driven and ambitiously working at anything if you are on those sites all day? AND…I can’t recall how many stories I have heard about people lying about their marital status. What interests me most, is the fact that people often see themselves much differently than others see them. If you ask me to describe myself, I would say that I am driven, ambitious, a loving wife and mother, and a woman of clear intentions. But…what would others say about me? Would my husband describe me as loving? Would my sister say that I am driven?
The exercise I want you to complete is not an easy one. You must enlist the assistance of someone that you trust will tell you the truth and that has integrity. I want you to profile yourself. Include a personal and professional description of who you really are. Then, I want you to turn that profile over to the person of your choice and give them the option to agree or disagree with your personal description. If you have been honest with yourself and consistently working toward developing your character, you should have no problem with the answers you receive. If you are committed to your personal and professional development, you will take it a step further, and ask the person assisting you to share their description of you.