Several years back, a friend suggested I read “The Temperament God Gave You” by Art and Laraine Bennet in response to some problems and questions I was having. I asked her if I could borrow her copy, but she said that it was such a helpful read that I really needed to buy my own. Besides, she was still dog-earing her copy.
So, being a trusting friend, I got the book and and learned that I am a Phlegmatic Melancholic. (Say that five times fast, right?) But, before I get too far, let me explain what one's temperament is and what one's personality is. “Temperament is not the same as personality. Personality refers to the whole of an individual's patterns of behavior, thoughts, and emotions. In this book, we are considering temperament only which is but one aspect of an individual's total personality—the aspect related to behavior and reaction.” (Bennet, pg. 5) In my mind, you could make a pie chart (since we are close to Thanksgiving, it's gotta be a pumpkin one) and label it Personality. Then, you would have different pieces. Temperament would be the label on two of the slices, named Behavior and Reaction. So, how you behave and react.
Now, once you find out your temperament, does this mean you can behave poorly because it is 'how you were made?' No. The purpose of knowing this is so that you can know where you may stumble and work with it. Or, for that matter, where you may shine. For instance, I know that I need time to make a decision. So, if possible, I wait several hours or until the morning to respond to an request. When the kids ask me for something, I have learned to say “Let me think about that just a moment.” This reduces my stress and helps me give a more honest and possibly correct answer. The book explains why we need to learn about temperament: “Rather, we want to understand others better, improve our relationships, enlarge our capacity for love, and become more effective in pursuing our goals.” (Bennet, pg. 11) Knowing your temperament can overall, help you love yourself and others better.
For all you history buffs, this temperament business goes way back to Hippocrates. Here are the four different types with my own personal positive nutshell description:
Which one(s) do you think you are? It's good we are all different and can complement each other.
But, wait, there's much more. Many people also have a secondary trait. I learned, as I have previously stated, that I tend towards being a Phlegmatic Melancholic (see pg. 210). What I take from this is:
Figuring out the temperaments of people you daily relate to can also teach you how to motivate yourself and them better since not everyone responds the same to pressure. This is partially why I had to find this book again—to figure out how to help my son stay motivated to pass his timed math tests at school. So, sorry, I'm using it and you'll have to get your own copy!
To take a test to learn your temperament, visit:
"If Mama's not happy, no one's happy!" What Brings You Happiness is a blog designed to encourage you to take better care of yourself so you can take better care of others. Click on the categories below to find how I've dealt with various situations in light of who I am.