March 25, 2006

Personality Types

I am over at my MIL's house this morning and am trying to post to my blog over a dial-up connection. Oh...how I appreciate my highspeed cable! LOL!

Last night, while staying with my FIL (MIL was travelling), I read Donna Partow's book, "A Women's Guide to Personality Types" (Bethany House, 2002). I had studied personality types (The Four Temperaments) in a college Psych class. We used the Hippocratic terms of: Sanquine, Choleric, Melancholy, and Phlegmatic. I never really understood the different types or could figure out how this information benefitted me (as I recall I didn't really know why I was in that class, other than to fulfill a credit on my transcript.)

In her book, Donna explains these personality types and helps the reader grasp the importance of understanding your own personality type and those of your spouse and children. Her goal is to "enrich family relationships by understanding the four temperaments." To help bring Hippocrates down to a modern mother's level, Donna created more personal names for each of the temperaments. They are: Mrs. Popular, Mrs. Powerful, Mrs. Perfect, and Mrs. Peaceful.

One of the first things she has you do is take a personality profile quiz. If you are like me, you just love to fill out quizzes (I do all the magazine quizzes and surveys). I wasn't too surprized by the results of my quiz because I already new I was a Melancholy/Phlegmatic personality type. What did surprize me though was how she characterized each personality type. According to her book, I am more of a Phlegmatic/Melancholy person. I identified with some of the characteristics listed under Melancholy but not how she describes this personality type. In fact, according to her observations, I am anything but Melancholy. I may be a perfectionist but I am certainly not a "hostess" nor am I set in creating "perfect" children and keeping a "perfect home." On the contrary, the key aspect of my personality that Ms. Partow left out was the fact that most Melancholy people are highly introspective. She calls it "observant" of the world around them but this is not accurate. Yes, we do observe the minutest details in those around us, but we are most interested in ourselves. If anything, we are obsessive with our own faults and think deeply about them. Hmmmm...I really didn't quite fit into her categories at all.

Using Ms. Partow's descriptions, I am more Peaceful than Perfect. I do have some of these characteristics, that is true, but I am not lazy by any means. I work methodically and am very slow to make decisions. I do have a "whatever" attitude when it comes to inconsequential matters and I guess that I am pretty agreeable. But the reason I really don't care where we eat or what we do is because my mind is so clogged with thinking about deep things, that I really don't have time to worry about anything else. Yes, I am a worrier at heart. I am sensitive and caring and I do think about an awful lot. I often forget things and then chastise myself for being so forgetful.

I did find her book interesting but I have to say that IMHO it glossed over the deeper areas of personality profiling. There is a lot to be learned about personality and by spending time getting to know our own person, we are better able to minister to those around us.

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