Twins run big in my family, in fact there’s so many that I can name at least 8 sets on the spot in about 10 seconds. Grandfathers, aunts, uncles, niece, nephew, cousins and more cousins! I am also a parent of twin girls (who are fraternal but look freakishly identical). It never ceases to amaze me how two people can be so similar but so different! For example, one of my daughters is very sociable and the other leans more to the bashful side. No one is better than the other, just uniquely different! So even though they share the same everything externally, ie. parents, birthday, looks, etc. I can’t get stuck on interacting with them identically, but according to their individuality. This same idea applies with everyone else in the world we encounter; we all are many people with a variety of differences. We may share the same households, schools, places of employment, etc. but we ought to treat one other equally with respect and be keen enough to know and understand how to creatively get along with each unique person we encounter (to the best of our abilities).
For starters, did you know that we were all born with a temperament? A Temperament is not a “type” and is not the same as our character, but is our genetic make up that manifests in our natural tendencies. It is not our entire personality, but a pretty important part of it. There are 4 distinct temperaments or “cluster of traits” which produces a different manner of behavior one from another. Recognizing and knowing our temperaments and the temperaments of others can help us gain insight on our strengths and weakness which can lead to a better chance of understanding and adapting to one another.
The best person to start the learning process with is yourself! Click this link to take the test to see which temperament you have. Interestingly, factors that affect our lives such as, culture, family life, education, life experiences, etc. can cause us to adapt and change our behaviors so while testing, answer the questions from the perspective of how you were as a child for a more accurate outcome and compare your answer with the descriptions below (click here for the fuller version).
Cholerics are an extroverted, active, strong-willed, decisive, independent and opinionated kind of people. They are “big picture” kind of people who don’t really tune in to details, but are quick thinkers who leave no room for negotiation and don’t have a problem making decisions for themselves or others. Cholerics are visionaries full of ideas, goals and plans which are usually practical. They are very much goal-oriented people and are not quick to cave in to others opinions about them, unless it gives them the desired results they want. The Choleric loves fighting for a cause and often seek positions of authority. When it comes to relating to people, they are very firm and direct in their response and can be slow to build relationships with others due to their goal-oriented nature. On the really downside, they are very hot-tempered and easily annoyed so they don’t easily empathize with others and have a hard time showing compassion.
Sanguines are extroverted, fun-loving, entertaining, exciting, animated, easily amused and optimistic people. They are “the life of the party”, people-oriented, and have no trouble making or having friends. The Sanguine can change their focus or interest in an instant and also get bored easily because of their orientation to social involvement, activity and general dislike for solitude. Their attention span is based on whether or not they are interested in the person or event. Sanguines are competitive and tend to be disorganized. Unless very disciplined, the Sanguine will have difficulty controlling their emotions. Sanguines are very effective working with people but fears rejection or not making a favorable impression. When it comes to goals, Sanguines are big starters, but slow to follow through or finish. They also fear others viewing them as unsuccessful.
The Phlegmatic is an introverted, calm, unemotional, easygoing, never-get-upset, person. Phlegmatics are both slow and indirect when responding to others and by far the easiest person to get along with. They live a quiet, routine, life, free of the normal anxieties and stresses of the other temperaments and are persistent and consistent at whatever they undertake. The Phlegmatic will avoid getting too involved with people and life in general and seldom exert themselves with others or push their way along in their career, they just let it happen. The Phlegmatic communicates a warm, sincere interest in others preferring to have just a few close friends. They will be very loyal to their friends and find it difficult to break long-standing relationships regardless of what the other person does. The Phlegmatic tends to resist change of any kind without reason, other than they just do not want the change to occur. Phlegmatics show little emotion and are prone to be a grudge holder. Phlegmatics tend to avoid conflict and making decisions of any kind. They are practical, concrete and traditional thinkers. Their stoic expression often hides their true feelings.
The Melancholy is an introverted, logical, analytical, factual, private, deep thinker, lets-do-it-right person. They need information, time to think and a plan. The Melancholy fears taking a risk, making a wrong decision and being viewed as incompetent. Melancholies tend to have a negative attitude toward something new until they have had time to think it over. Melancholies are skeptical about most everything but they are creative and capable people. They are often dark, moody individuals prone to over analyzing everything, but can be self-sacrificing, gifted perfectionists with sensitive emotional natures. When they’re in a good mood, melancholies are your best buddies and friends, but they do not make friends easily. They are perhaps the most dependable of all the temperaments because their perfectionist tendencies do not permit them to let others down.
Had fun exploring?! This by no means is the complete scope to the entire identity topic, but this is a nice starting place to understanding yourself and the others around you a little more. Let me know what you think and feel free to share!
Until next post, still enjoying the journey,