MY HEAD AND I

I have been meaning to write something here for almost two months now. Mine is the worst case of writer’s block ever. That being said though, I have promised myself to find a way to make your time here worthwhile or just bore us both to death, fingers crossed. I came across something recently that really caught my attention. My head and I were trying to find ‘meaning’ in our life so we decided to search the big ol’ world wide web for inspiration. Next thing I know, am so intrigued by something on different types of personality traits out there and what they are all about. Heck I even took a test to see my personality type.

I found out that there exist four temperaments, which is basically a proto-psychological theory suggesting there are four personality types. Don’t ask me the meaning of that word, I also don’t know. The four temperaments are; sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic and melancholic. I know I know, they may seem foreign to some of ya’ll but keep calm because I got your back.

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18th century depiction of the four temperaments. Top: phlegmatic, choleric. Bottom: sanguine, melancholic.

 

 

Taking the test revealed that phlegmatic temperament subdued the other three in my case. Sanguine came in second, choleric third while melancholic temperament was least. I am therefore of the phlegmatic group in matters temperaments. In that light it is only right that I focus on phlegmatic first.

Phlegmatic

This temperament is traditionally associated with the element ‘water’. Mmmh, coincidentally I’m also Aquarian whose zodiac representation is the water carrier (I guess I have a thing for water). These are the sort of people you would refer to as ‘wallflower’. People with this temperament tend to be calm and peace-loving. They avoid conflict at all costs; they rarely start conflict and would be the last person to get involved in trying to stop one if it occurred, these are the people who will move to the furthest point in the room and watch the drama unfold from a safe distance. They tend to take blame for others’ mistakes to make them feel better. They often feel traumatized when faced with the task of decision making in the face of many choices and would rather others do it for them.

They make very good friends as they tend to hold on through thick and thin. They barely reveal emotion or their inner thought but are very attentive listeners and would rarely let others know they’re bored even if it is clearly the case. They are content with themselves and prefer stability to uncertainty.

Let their perceived introvertedness however not fool you as helplessness, naivety or ignorance. They may be more knowledgeable and rich in thought then meets the eye. Their keen eye often hints at an appreciation of the arts and literal indulgence. Abstract art is kind of their thing.

Their interest is often awakened by experiencing others interest in a subject.

Sanguine

This temperament is traditionally associated with the element ‘air’. These people are a box of energy waiting to burst open, also known as ‘the life of the party’ or that crazy friend who would do anything to get others’ attention. They thrive in the spotlight and as such make friends very easily. A room full of strangers to them is an opportunity to make new friends rather than a foreign uncomfortable situation. They are often expressive and will let you know what they think whether you asked for it or not. They are like an open book in that they tend to let their feelings and emotions out in the open for anyone who would care to look. They may come off as ‘touchy-feely’ as they are always ready to dish out hugs and hold hands. They live for compliments and praise from others; in the case of females, they’d be the first to try out new hairstyles, make-up techniques and wear the trendiest of clothes. They may struggle with following rules and performing tasks to completion. Leave it to the sanguine to flourish in the lateness and forgetfulness department.

Awakening their love for a subject and admiration of people is the best way to get through to them.

Choleric

This temperament is traditionally associated with the element ‘fire’. These are the people often told they are ‘full of themselves’. Any time is a good time for them to let everyone know that they are ‘boss.’ They have their egos for driving forces and always seek to assert their dominance over others thereby putting themselves in positions they regard as superior to the rest. Have you ever come across those people who initiate arguments and debate their hearts out even though their position is clearly wrong? This is them. They may be aware at the back of their minds that they’re totally off but persist just so they don’t lose and seem inferior. They are the sort of people who appreciate a good challenge, the kind who work their butts off to do something just because they were told they cannot.

They tend to be pragmatic in their endeavors and often say things as they are rather than sugar-coating as would the phlegmatic. The choleric would for example say ‘poor, work harder at Y’ where the phlegmatic would say ‘not very bad, maybe you should change a little of Y’.

They make very good friends as they will always have your back if you are on their good side. Being on the other side is no walk in the park as they will strive to rub your nose the dirt if they perceive you as being their rival. They are the breed of people who would do anything to get ahead and stay there even if it means cheating or breaking a leg, cause when they’re on top then they are superior thus better than everybody else. They take ‘thick-skin’ to a whole different level as they tend to brush off criticism and laugh things off than take them personally.

They can best be reached through mutual respect and appropriate challenges that recognize their capacities.

Melancholic

This temperament is traditionally associated with the element ‘earth’. People with this temperament are often susceptible to depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Perfectionism is their second name, I feel sad for them knowing how messed up the world we live in is! They are the sort of people who don’t just accept things as they are as they prefer knowing ‘why’ they are as they are. They look at the logic and analytical causes of everyday actions that other people tend to ignore. Their perfectionist tendencies often result in self-deprecation as they feel inadequate whenever they are unable to meet their impossible standards. They are not the fastest people to make friends because their nature often makes them critical of others, many of whom are usually unable to meet their standards. They as a result have few but close friends who they stick to loyally.

They respond poorly to compliments; ‘that’s a nice drawing you got there’ would elicit a response such as ‘I don’t know, I the head is too big’.

This is probably the most introverted of the four temperaments. People with this temperament relish alone time and would trade it any time to being around other people, those that don’t meet their standards at least. They however tend to open up and become more interactive in a quiet, peaceful environment around people they like. They may be very emotional and are not the most forgiving to people who hurt them. They find it hard to trust people who harm them as there is no logical explanation for the sudden change of heart unless certain drastic measures are taken. They are usually not aggressive and tend to flee from distress. They would rather get back at those who wrong them by making them feel guilty than directly attacking them. Thin skin usually has melancholic temperament written all over it.

They can best be reached by awakening their sympathy for others and the suffering of the imperfect world.

 

 

If you have a thumping heart and blood running in your veins, a.k.a human, then you might relate to at least one of the above. Google has you sorted. Answer a few simple questions to find out where you lie, that is if you want to though…. (gotcha phlegmatic temperament! *wink wink).

By Odera Evelyne

 

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