Pop Bead “Pearls,” Peace and Personalities

Pop bead “pearls” and phlox

Pop bead “pearls” have flexibility as they can be pulled apart to make new combinations of beads. Sometimes people lose any sense of flexibility. They struggle to make new configurations in their personalities. There are no easy developmental paths. Most of us have tripped up, slipped up or even flipped upside-down when we encountered irritants along life’s journey. In the teen years, as a parent, and in retirement we grapple with the perennial question, “Who am I, really?” There is no one answer, as we play many parts or roles in our personality through the decades. Shakespeare’s As You Like It called the world a “stage” and told of each person “playing” many parts. Pop beads offer play, but adults may forget they have playful parts in their personalities. Remember, you are writing your own script.

People used to think of personality as set like plaster at age 30, but the reality is that personalities have plasticity like pop beads! You can make personality changes! The “Big Five” traits of personality in research–conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism (a pessimistic attitude characterized by anger, anxiety, and/or depression), openness, and extraversion–are open to shifts for inner peace in adulthood.

How might pearls relate to peace? Born from adversity, pearls have something in common with peace. We marvel at the luster and simple beauty of a natural pearl without considering its fragile beginnings. Similarly, we admire peace–within ourselves, in our families and community, nation and planet–often with little appreciation of the struggles involved along the way before peacefulness could shine through.

It can take centuries to create peace within a nation. It may take decades to form some semblance of inner peace in your personality. Start creating more inner peace within yourself today. It is a possibility. Pop a pearl of peace into your thinking today.

Pearls of Peace (PoP) Quiz

2. What have been irritants in your life?                                                                                                                 3. Did you grow wiser in any way because of some “irritant”? If so, in what way(s)?  

To read more about Jan and her books, please visit Janis Johnston’s website.

By Janis Johnston

Janis Clark Johnston, Ed.D., has a doctorate in counseling psychology from Boston University. She has worked with children, families, and groups (ages 3-83) with presenting issues of anxiety, depression, trauma, loss, and relationship concerns. She initially worked as a school psychologist in public schools and was awarded School Psychology Practitioner of the Year for Region 1 in Illinois for her innovative work. She was a supervising psychologist at a mental health center, an employee-assistance therapist and a trainer for agencies prior to having a family therapy private practice. Recipient of the 2011 Founder’s Award for her dedication to the parenting education of Parenthesis Family Center (now called New Moms), and the 2002 Community Spirit Award from Sarah’s Inn, a domestic violence shelter and education center, Johnston is an active participant in numerous volunteer activities supporting children and families in her community. A frequent presenter at national psychology and educational conferences, Johnston has published journal articles, book chapters, and two books -- It Takes a Child to Raise a Parent: Stories of Evolving Child and Parent Development (2013, hardback; 2019, paperback) and Midlife Maze: A Map to Recovery and Rediscovery after Loss (2017, hardback; 2019, paperback). In addition to augmenting and supporting personal growth in families, Johnston is a Master Gardener and loves nurturing growth in the plants in her yard.


  1. Yes, colors can represent emotions! When asked to show their anger on a piece of paper, I found that children often chose the color red. Pixar made use of color-coded emotions in their animated characters in Inside Out–Joy is yellow, Sadness is blue, Disgust is green, Fear is purple, and Anger is red.


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