INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY OF PERSONALITIES
One thing that is certain about humans...there are "reasons" for everything
they do, feel or think...even though it is sometimes hard to figure out. Remember when you asked a child "why did you
do that?" and got the response, "I don't know?" Well, they might not be able to explain why they did something,
but nevertheless there are reasons for their behavior and that of all people. Just like that child, it is often difficult
for us to understand why we 'think like we think,' 'feel like we feel,' or 'act like we act,' in many instances of life.
The study of human behavior is largely what Psychology is all about. "Why do people
act the way they act, or feel the way they feel?" Those are the questions that have been studied for Centuries. Many
of those answers, however, can be found in the revelation of the human Temperament...or Personality.
The study of the Human Personality is ancient...some dating it back to Hippocrates who lived some
four-hundred and fifty years before the birth of Christ. It has been researched extensively all the way up to modern times
and is used as a dynamic diagnostic tool in both Psychology and Psychiatry to this day.
A generic explanation of the "Temperaments" or "Personalities" is that every human is born with
genetically inherited 'behavioral tendencies' that are as much a part of their DNA as their eye color or finger-print.
"...every human is born with genetically inherited 'behavioral
tendencies' that are as much a part of their DNA as their eye color or finger-print."
Due to the fact that we inherit
our basic personality, it is easy to understand why we might be accused of "acting just like our mother," or father
or grandparent. As I've often said, "A soup is made of the ingredients tossed into it." We too are made of the combinations
of DNA that were passed to us through our parents and ancestors.
fact is important becauses it helps us to more fully understand our behavioral strengths and weaknesses without blaming ourselves
as being simply weak, dysfunctional in certain areas, or full of character flaws. In short, many of your personal problems
It would be easy right here to say, "Ah ha! It's all
my parents fault!!!" But in actuality...they inherited it as well and it's doubtful they actually "intended"
to pass certain weaknesses onto you. Although they may have "served up the soup," they didn't cook it!
Now...just a word of clarification and warning: Understanding your own personality or
that of those around you, is never an excuse for poor behavior. Each of the four personalities has it's strengths and also
it's weaknesses. I have witnessed personally, where people who discover their personality begin to use it as an excuse for
poor decisions or actions and then blame their personality saying, "Well, that's just the way I am!" I disagree.
Although we might have certain tendencies...it does not mean that the choice between right and wrong leaves our control.
The benefit of understanding your personality is so that you can better understand yourself
and how to "improve upon your weaknesses" and "build upon your strengths," not to use the information
as an excuse.
THE FOUR PERSONALITIES
Although there are numerous versions of this science...I will
break all of the personalities down into the four major categories. Remember...all humans, (with the exception of someone
with a personality disorder or severe mental illness), will fit into one of these four categories.
In all honesty, we have a degree of all four of them within us...but will test higher in one,
with a close secondary.
Now I must admit. The first time I took a class
on this subject I was completely skeptical. I did not believe that "I" of all people, could be classified along
with the whole human race into one of four categories. It didn't take me long to realize I was wrong...and the science was
INTROVERTS AND EXTROVERTS
The four personality-types are identified as: CHOLERIC,
SANGUINE, PHLEGMATIC, AND MELANCHOLY. These four also can be divided into two other categories: Introverts and Extroverts.
Two are extroverted personalities, two are introverted personalities.
EXTROVERTED PERSONALITIES: The Choleric and Sanguine personality-types are extroverted personalities. This means that they are more "out-going"
more "sociable" and more comfortable in a crowd...and even standing out in that crowd.
PERSONALITIES: The Melancholy and Phlegmatic personality-types are introverted personalities. This means
they are more likely shy, feel anxious about being in crowds and especially being confronted or singled-out in a crowd.
It is also important to note that there are varying degrees of introversion and extroversion.
In other words, some Cholerics and Sanguines 'border' on being shy, while some Melacholies and Phlegmatics 'border' on being
GENERIC DEFINITIONS OF EACH PERSONALITY
MELANCHOLY: It has been said that the Melancholy personality is the "richest
of all temperaments, but at the largest cost." History would probably reveal this to be true. Melancholy personalities
are people who have a deep love for others, while usually holding themselves in contempt. They tend to be deep-thinkers and
feelers who often see the negative attributes of life, rather than the good and positive things. For example: if ten
people complimented the work of a Melancholy and one person criticized it, a Melancholy would tend to focus upon the criticism,
rather than the compliments.
Some classic Melancholy personalities would
be: Moses, Abraham Lincoln, Elvis Presley, Vincent Van Gogh, Marilyn Monroe and Ernest Hemingway.
Melancholies are often very gifted people in area's of art, literature, music, healthcare, ministry and so forth.
They long to make a significant and lasting difference in their world. Sadly, many melancholies are also victims of
deep bouts of depression that come from great dissatisfaction, disappointment, hurtful words or events. In short, melancholies
take life very seriously...too much so sometimes, and it often leaves them feeling blue, helpless or even hopeless.
Melancholies usually have a high degree of perfectionistic tendencies...especially in
regards to their own lives or performance. They are very "introspective" and hold themselves to a very high
standard...one that can rarely be achieved.
Some of the weaknesses associated with the Melancholic Personality are:
They have a tendency to remember negative aspects of life, rather than search for and embrace positive thinking.
They are often moody and inclined toward depression (thus the term melancholy), because they easily
dream of what life and the World "could be," and are deeply disappointed by "what it is."
They often feel sorry for themselves. Melancholies are notorious for feeling 'down on their
luck, picked on, rejected, overlooked and abused.' What they fail to realize is everyone else feels the same, they just
don't take it as personally.
They often have a false humility that stems
from a belief that "self-promotion" is tacky...so they often purposely ignore their own successes, even though they
are quite proud of them.
They are chronic "Day-Dreamers."
Melancholic personalities tend to view life through abstract thought rather than staying completely grounded in reality.
Although being a dreamer can be a good thing...living in a dream-world is not.
Most Melancholies have a low self-image. Melancholies are usually perfectionist in nature, especially in regards
to themselves. They set enormous goals that are sometimes simple "unreachable," and therefore blame themselves
for being inadequate. They also desire to please others, so if they feel they let others down, this can be devastating.
Melancholies also have a tendency to "live life through others," and thereby comparing themselves to others, which
can easily lead to low self-esteem.
Melancholies are also notorious
for being "selective hearers." In other words, they are more likely to hear only negative comments rather
than positive ones.
Melancholies can be self-centered. This is
not because they are "in-love" with themselves, but because they are continually trying to "fix themselves"
into better people, which constantly causes them to focus upon themselves.
are very "introspective," meaning that they contantly over-analyze their emotions, feelings and thoughts...sometimes
to the point where it makes them physically sick.
Melancholies are notoriously
"guilty." They have a very large conscience...maybe even an "over-active" concious and can feel
guilt for things they have absolutely no hand it.
believe the world is "out to get them," or that they have a "target upon their forehead" where bad luck
Melancholies also tend to worry much too often about their
health, thinking that something serious might be wrong with them at any given time.
STRENGTHS OF THE MELANCHOLY:
It has been said that the Melancholy Personality
is the "richest of all the four temperaments," but "at the greatest cost." Melancholy's usually
have a lot to add to the lives of those around them. They are deeply caring people who make great doctors, nurses, social
workers, ministers, teachers and other occupations where helping people is the priority. This comes from a deep sense
of what others are feeling or experiencing and the inward need to reach out and do something in order to help them.
Melancholy's are also noted for artistry, such as music, songwriting, painting, poetry, writing,
etc. I personally believe this is due to the fact that Melancholy's view life and see how it "could" be, and
try to convey that through these expressive forms.
Melancholy's are extremely loyal
in friendships and family relationships. The old saying is, "If you have a Melancholy for a friend, you have a
friend for life."