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Four Temperaments and the Unbalancing of the Mind

Today we study how a person’s temperament makes a difference in their thoughts, desires, and emotions. This is known as the Four Temperaments theory. A person who understands their temperament has more control over their lives. Simply put, understanding our temperament is important! According to Wikipedia, The four temperament theory is a proto-psychological theory that categorizes personality traits into four distinct types (sanguinecholericmelancholic, and phlegmatic), each associated with different characteristics and behaviors. These temperaments have been studied and discussed for centuries, with roots in ancient Greek and Roman medicine and philosophy.

  1. Sanguine: Sanguine individuals are typically outgoing, social, and enthusiastic, creative, energetic and tend to be good communicators. They are often optimistic, spontaneous, and enjoy being around people. People with a sanguine temperament are often outgoing, talkative, and enjoy interacting with others. They tend to have a positive outlook on life and are generally cheerful and energetic. Although the sanguine temperament contains positive traits like optimism and friendliness, it can also have negative traits like impulsivity or a propensity to avoid more in-depth reflection. Individuals with sanguine temperaments frequently flourish in settings that promote variety, creativity, and social engagement.
    • Social and Outgoing: They thrive in social settings and are often the life of the party. They enjoy meeting new people, making friends easily, and engaging in lively conversations.
    • Optimistic: Sanguine types have a natural optimism and tend to focus on the positive aspects of situations. They are resilient and bounce back quickly from setbacks or challenges.
    • Energetic and Spontaneous: Sanguine individuals are full of energy and enjoy activities that are exciting and stimulating. They are often spontaneous and open to new experiences.
    • Creative and Expressive: Sanguine individuals have a creative and expressive side. They may enjoy activities such as music, art, drama, or storytelling, and they often have a vivid imagination.
    • Emotionally Responsive: Sanguine individuals are emotionally responsive and may wear their emotions on their sleeve. They can be empathetic and supportive of others’ emotions.
    • Impulsive: Sometimes, sanguine individuals may act impulsively, making decisions based on their emotions or immediate desires rather than careful consideration.
  2. Choleric: Choleric individuals are characterised by their ambition, assertiveness, decisiveness and determination. They are natural leaders, decisive, and goal-oriented. Cholerics are often confident, strong-willed, and can be seen as passionate or intense in their pursuits. People with a choleric temperament are often driven, goal-oriented, and take charge in various situations. They are natural leaders who are not afraid to make decisions and pursue their objectives with determination. Despite being decisive and having strong leadership skills, the choeric temperament can also have disadvantages like occasionally being seen as being too aggressive or domineering. Cholerics frequently succeed in leadership roles, entrepreneurship, or competitive sectors that call for strategic thinking, decision-making, and initiative.
    • Ambitious and Goal-Oriented: Choleric individuals are highly ambitious and have clear goals they want to achieve. They are driven by success and are willing to work hard to accomplish their aspirations.
    • Assertive: Choleric types are assertive and confident in their abilities. They are not afraid to express their opinions, take charge of situations, and assert their authority when necessary.
    • Decisive: Choleric individuals make decisions quickly and confidently. They trust their judgment and prefer to take action rather than hesitate or procrastinate.
    • Leadership Qualities: Choleric individuals naturally gravitate towards leadership roles. They have strong leadership qualities such as vision, charisma, and the ability to inspire and motivate others.
    • Independent: Choleric individuals are often independent and self-reliant. They prefer to take initiative and may feel frustrated in situations where they perceive a lack of control or autonomy.
    • Competitive: Cholerics are competitive by nature and thrive in competitive environments. They enjoy challenges, setting high standards for themselves and others, and strive to be the best at what they do.
    • Focused and Determined: Choleric individuals are focused and determined in pursuing their goals. They have a strong sense of purpose and are not easily discouraged by obstacles or setbacks.
  3. Melancholic: Melancholic people tend to be thoughtful, critical thinkers, and meticulous. They frequently exhibit significant emotional depth, sensitivity, and introspection. Generally speaking, melancholics are orderly, quality-oriented, and sometimes perfectionistic. Characteristics of the melancholic temperament include reflection, sensitivity, and meticulousness. Melancholic temperaments are frequently characterised by intense reflection, thoughtfulness, and introspection. They are sensitive to their feelings as well as those of others, and they lead rich inner lives. The melancholic temperament can be weak in areas like perfectionism, sensitivity to criticism, or a propensity for introspection or melancholy. Melancholics frequently flourish in fields that let them use their brains, their creativity, and their depth of feeling, including study, the arts, or assisting others in their line of work.
    • Introspective and Reflective: Melancholic individuals are introspective and spend a lot of time reflecting on their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. They have a rich inner world and may enjoy activities such as writing, journaling, or self-expression through art.
    • Sensitive and Empathetic: Melancholics are sensitive to their own emotions and the emotions of others. They are empathetic and compassionate, often forming deep connections with people who share their values and interests.
    • Attention to Detail: Melancholic individuals have a keen eye for detail and appreciate precision and accuracy. They often excel in tasks that require focus, concentration, and meticulousness.
    • Reserved and Observant: Melancholics tend to be more reserved and observant in social situations. They may take time to warm up to new people or new environments but can be loyal and trustworthy friends once they feel comfortable.
    • Perfectionistic: Melancholic individuals may have perfectionistic tendencies, striving for excellence in everything they do. They set high standards for themselves and may feel disappointed or anxious if they perceive their work as falling short of their expectations.
    • Deep Emotions: Melancholics experience emotions deeply and may be more prone to feelings of sadness, melancholy, or introspection. They may also have a strong appreciation for beauty, art, and the finer things in life.
    • Analytical Thinking: Melancholic individuals are analytical thinkers who enjoy exploring complex ideas and concepts. They may excel in academic or intellectual pursuits that require critical thinking and deep analysis.
  4. Phlegmatic: People that are phlegmatic are generally calm, patient, and laid back. They tend to stay out of conflict, are diplomatic, and are good listeners. Phlegmatics are generally dependable, consistent, and stable under a variety of circumstances. Phlegmatic temperaments are characterised by calmness, diplomacy, and a preference for harmony in both interpersonal and environmental contexts. They are frequently regarded as dependable and trustworthy due to their steady and stable manner. Despite these qualities, the tendency to avoid confrontation or take chances, as well as the potential to come across as passive or apathetic at times, are some of the issues associated with the phlegmatic temperament. Phlegmatics frequently succeed in jobs that call for persistence, effective communication, and a calm, consistent presence, like counselling, child care, teaching, or administrative positions.
    • Calm and Composed: Phlegmatic individuals have a naturally calm and composed demeanor. They are not easily rattled by stressful situations and can maintain their cool under pressure.
    • Patient and Tolerant: Phlegmatics are patient and tolerant, both with themselves and with others. They are understanding of different perspectives and try to avoid conflict whenever possible.
    • Steady and Consistent: Phlegmatic individuals have a steady and consistent approach to life. They prefer routines and stability, and they are reliable in fulfilling their responsibilities and commitments.
    • Good Listeners: Phlegmatics are good listeners who take the time to understand others’ viewpoints and feelings. They are empathetic and supportive, making them trustworthy confidants and friends.
    • Diplomatic and Peaceful: Phlegmatic individuals are diplomatic in their interactions and strive to maintain peace and harmony in relationships. They are skilled at resolving conflicts peacefully and prefer compromise over confrontation.
    • Reserved and Observant: Phlegmatics tend to be more reserved and observant in social situations. They may take a backseat in group settings but contribute thoughtfully when they do speak up.
    • Adaptable: Despite their preference for stability, phlegmatic individuals are adaptable and can adjust to changes in their environment or circumstances without much fuss.
    • Low-Key and Unassuming: Phlegmatic individuals are typically modest and unassuming. They don’t seek attention or recognition but quietly contribute in their own way.

It is crucial to note that, while these temperaments serve as a foundation for understanding personality, most persons exhibit qualities from numerous temperaments rather than fitting neatly into one. Furthermore, modern psychology has moved beyond these traditional temperaments, employing more sophisticated personality theories such as the Big Five personality traits or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which will be covered in future posts.

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