March 28, 2006

Medieval Personality Types

I will admit that when I first read through Donna Partow's book, I really thought she was way off base when it came to her descriptions of the Melancholy personality. I have been thinking about it since I read her book over the weekend (a sure sign of a Melancholy person!) and decided that I didn't agree with her assessment. I decided to GOOGLE for more information and lo, and behold, I hit the jackpot. There is quite a bit of information on the internet about personalities -- and if you are interested in reading more about personalities, I encourage you to do some research yourself.

I found a website that has a Medieval Personality Quiz on it. I took this quiz and as I expected my personality profile ended up: 71% Melancholy and 29% Phlegmatic. I think this is fairly accurate. Note: this site is a Catholic website so some of the descriptions are directly related to teaching in Catholic schools. I still found the site informative and think that my temperament is clearly Melancholic.

Among the Medieval characteristics I share: introspection, slow decision-making, fear of rejection, need for justice, perfectionist tendencies. I also have a tender-heart and long to help others. I found the interpretation as to how a Melancholic deals with correction very insightful. I have found myself in a similar situation whereby I was so consumed with choosing the "right" words, that I ended up making a total mess of things because I just "blurted out" my zeal for correction.

You might be reading right now and wondering, "So what? What does this do for me?" Well, I don't know that answer. For me, my Melancholic personality leans heavily towards introspection and because I tend to look at the "negative side of things" I relish the opportunity to look into my psyche and see what needs some adjustment. You may be a Phlegmatic and don't give a hoot about what goes on inside of your head...or you may be Choleric or Sanquine and don't want to know (because you already are right-minded) the truth. LOL!

I found this site to offer a more realistic description of the four temperaments than in Ms. Partow's book. While I thought her book was clever, in reality it is a commercial, light-weight, and cutesy look at this whole subject of personality profiles. Ms. Partrow tends to "pre-package" personalities in an attempt to help the reader better understand themselves and accept themselves for who they are. It is a good thought but anytime you take a complex subject and break it down in to predefined categories, you are bound to leave out some very the important details (and to a Melancholy like me, *it* is all in the details, dear sister!)

I guess my encouragment to those interested in understanding themselves better, would be to first consider the fact that God created you as a unique and very complex person. You are not a "pre-packaged, pre-defined" person, but rather one of His own, created expressly for His purpose. Since we are all different, we do need to take time to understand ourselves better. Without understanding our own selves and the individual aspects of our personalities, we cannot effectively minister to others in God's Kingdom. If we desire to be a blessing to those around us, we really do need to know ourselves more intimately and to learn how our temperament can affect our relationship with God and with the world around us.

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