The Four Personality Types

Aug
2011
07

posted by on Relationship Encouragement

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I read a pamphlet several years ago which discussed the four basic personality types that most people were born with. These concepts have been around a long time. In fact, this pamphlet was published in response to the knowledge that many Christians who came out of the “Love generation” were bringing their beliefs in astrological signs and horoscopes with them, incorporating that mythology into Biblical truth. Now, most of us realize that Satan is called “The Prince of the Air” for a reason, and we don’t expect to discover God’s voice by studying the stars, but the astrological signs we used back then gave us a way to quantify the different personality types we found in people…
We could say, “That person is strong-willed, she’s a Taurus (The Bull).” Or we might say, “That person is gentle and artistic, he’s a Virgo.”  So even if we recognize that the world of astrology is unreliable, we still want a way to describe the differing personality types we find in ourselves and others. Because we can’t be truly comfortable in our relationships until we’re comfortable in our own skin, and a large part of becoming comfortable in our skin, is discovering that we were uniquely built by God for His unique purpose. And it helps to know that our personal make-up conforms mostly in line with a known personality type…

If someone has a Melancholy personality type, and Melancholies tend to be quiet and brooding, that person doesn’t gain an excuse to be rude. It does mean, however, that a melancholy person will probably have to work harder than someone else, just to be genuine and nice… If a person has a Sanguine personality, and Sanguines tend to be bubbly and friendly, that Sanguine personality must rely upon the Lord to stay faithful, not allowing him or herself to become flighty and careless with people. I hope that knowing that we and others often have different personality types will give us a fresh understanding of one another, helping us to be more forgiving and tolerant of those who might simply be acting normally, out of his or her basic personality.

Knowing we’ve been built with a certain personality type doesn’t give us an excuse to maintain bad behavior. We’re still responsible to bring that stuff to the feet of a loving God and leave it there. But knowing our personality type will give us an understandable reason why a certain part of our lives might require SO much more prayer maintenance to keep in check, while another person with a different personality type might not struggle with their temperament at all…

Again, this is not a new concept, many of you have heard this before. If you are more curious, there’s a ton of information on the Internet, but I hope this basic overview will help those who might have genuine questions regarding the differing behavior patterns they find in different people… Ultimately, we know our sinful behavior is caused by our pervasive appetite for sin, but this discussion might help a few people sort things out a little better.
Here are the four basic personality types which most people will fall into…

Melancholy… Those with a melancholy personality type tend to really value their time alone. They are not often comfortable in groups and they often have trouble feeling and expressing true love. Melancholies really have to work on being nice, and it takes a lot of discipline to be consistently nurturing to quality relationships. They find themselves becoming jealous of those who are more gifted in life and people skills, but Melancholies are the artists and creative geniuses of the world as well…

Sanguine… Sanguines are the “People-persons”. A Sanguine personality can sell ice to Eskimos (no offense to the Inuit population) and they are seemingly always comfortable in a group. Sanguine personalities really have to work on controlling their flightiness and their tendency to be shallow and uncaring. Since everything seems to come so easily for a Sanguine, they really have to work upon settling into the business of having and nurturing quality one-on-one relationships…

Choleric… Choleric personalities tend to the more demanding ones. These are the “My Way or the Highway” types. Choleric personalities tend to have very little tolerance for anything which is not done the way he or she would have done it. These are the bosses who are very quick with a write-up, and these are the spouses who are very quick with a derisive action or comment. Choleric personalities have a needed gift in the world, but they definitely need to work very hard at sustaining and nurturing quality relationships…

Phlegmatic… Those with a Phlegmatic personality just tend to move more slowly than others. Phlegmatic personalities are often less active. Phlegmatics have trouble staying motivated and they also have trouble staying on task. Phlegmatics are the deep thinkers and dreamers of the world, they are often very tolerant and loyal, but they sometimes have to learn to stand up for themselves and to create healthy boundaries in relationships. Phlegmatics often stuff their feelings rather than express them, and they often latch on to relationships and have trouble letting go. Phlegmatics are often rescuers by nature, and they often have trouble in relationships…

So, I hope you got the point… Each of us were born with a combination of the above personality types, and each of us will require special grace and commitment to the Lord to bring out and maintain the positive aspects of our basic natures. Each of us will also require a devoted and surrendered prayer life, to subdue the negative traits which will make life and relationships more challenging. I believe that every person is capable of changing a few sharp corners in his and her behavior, but no-one really changes his or her basic personality type. So, it’s incumbent upon each of us to be careful with our hearts, so we never again choose a relationship with a personality type we simply cannot live with.

Now, you probably saw yourself (and others) in at least two of the four personality types we mentioned. It’s normal for people to have a combination of personality types. Everyone has a dominant trait in combination with several less dominant traits from another personality. Sanguine/Choleric is a common personality type for managers… Melancholy/Phlegmatic and Choleric/Melancholy are commonly-found personalities as well…

You shouldn’t get bogged down too deeply in considering these general personality types, and possibly their implications upon your past and future. We simply provided them for you to place within your godly understanding, to help you process the people and relationships in your life.  I’d love to hear your comments on how this knowledge might have helped you…

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