Above is a generalized view of the five temperaments. For our purposes, it would be an exhaustive study to present all the temperament combinations and how they are expressed, how they respond, and how they will all interact, intersect with others in teams and workplace environments as well as in marriage and all kinds of relationships.
To pique your interest , consider the following snippets for each of the five temperaments:
- Melancholies– perceive rejection easily (real or imagined) so are often bombarded with thoughts of worthlessness. Melancholies also think a lot… about a lot of things.. so the mind is a fertile ground for bad (and good) to transpire.
- Supines– have a lot of indirect behaviors and are not vocal about what their needs are. They tend to stay in the background and, like the background, pick up on rejection easily. Victim posturing.
- Sanguines– very social creatures who do not do well if isolated. If they are rejected, they tend to sulk and go into a down spiral of moodiness.
- Cholerics-very concerned about being controlled or manipulated and are repulsed by the weakness of others. Controllers at heart.
- Phlegmatics-characterized as peacemakers and low energy types so do not respond well if they perceive they are being pushed into situations or into making a decision.
Below is a tool to help discover where you are operating most of the time and under what circumstances concerning strengths and weaknesses of your particular temperament realities.
What we can observe for this writing, is that without a basic understanding of temperament, it will be extremely difficult to develop any healthy degree of emotional self awareness, not to mention understanding team members, employees, spouses, children… anyone. In fact, after learning temperament, I had no idea how I ever functioned in any relationship of any kind.
As an example I will use myself. I am a Melancholy Compulsive in Inclusion, Control, and Affection… I know, I know… how do I even survive right? Well I am very independent but that wasn’t my biggest problem developmentally. My biggest problem was always feeling incompetent. Always perceiving rejection and that I didn’t get it. Socially impossible. Always in my head. Inhibited.
I was the poster child for not knowing who I was on ANY level at all. All my weaknesses were in full force 100% of the time.
I failed in relationships continuously, had no idea how to function in the world around me. But when I learned temperament, coupled with learning how to take my thoughts captive, (melancholies are all about thinking), I began to understand myself so I could begin to become who I am. I also began to understand the people around me. I could meet my own needs and also set out to help the people around me get their needs met as well.
This doesn’t always guarantee that things will work out, but it can help tremendously. For example, I can remember doing everything I could to help people on my team that were Choleric to excel and grow, and also to submit. At least two of these in my memory were the most difficult people ever to work with. In a ministry environment there is a deeper commitment level than in the secular world which extends your commitment to see things through even with the most difficult people. But sometimes the limit gets reached, and things just don’t work out.
But for the most part, it is an invaluable tool to help in every area of relationship: personal, professional, workplace, leadership, marriage of course, all areas.
If you haven’t discovered your temperament yet, I encourage you to do so. You will be amazed and empowered to be transformed.