Sunday, October 23, 2011

Problematic Phlegmatic

Ugh!  I don't like that word, phlegmatic.  I much prefer sanguine.  The former sounds all too much like a bad throat condition; while the other sounds like a classical music buff.  I like classical music.

But phlegmatic it is.

Who thinks this stuff up, anyway?  I mean, really:  four ... 4 ... quattro ... temperaments?  Is that all there is?  Well, not exactly.

Actually, it all began with Hippocrates before 370 B.C., this business of identifying personality traits.  It was later seized upon by Galen in 150 A.D. (or so); but it really came into it's own with Avicenna sometime around 1,000 A.D. when it was expanded to include emotions, mental capacity, moral attitudes, self awareness, movements, and even interests (dreams, or passions).   It's changed little over the centuries, and today continues to be an aid in identifying the strengths & weaknesses of a particular style, or temperament type.   Businesses & churches (my church) uses the grid as one means, or tool in identifying a person's best job or ministry fit. 

In the short version, these styles fall into one of four categories.  Typically we all have one or two  dominant types. And before we all stand up and cheer for the upside, there's a downside.   For every strength, there's a weakness (or potential for it). 

Who is it that said we must "celebrate diversity"?  No doubt THEY were phlegmatic ...

Remember, most of us are blends, but one style is predominant.  Do you see yourself anywhere here?

Phlegmatic (or Steadiness)

Phlegmatics tend to be self-content and kind. They can be very accepting and affectionate. They may be very receptive and shy and often prefer stability to uncertainty and change. They are very consistent, relaxed, calm, rational, curious, and observant, making them good administrators. They can also be very passive-aggressive.

Sanguine (or Influencing)

The Sanguine temperament personality is fairly extroverted. People of a sanguine temperament tend to enjoy social gatherings, making new friends and tend to be boisterous. They are usually quite creative and often daydream. However, some alone time is crucial for those of this temperament. Sanguine can also mean very sensitive, compassionate and thoughtful. Sanguine personalities generally struggle with following tasks all the way through, are chronically late, and tend to be forgetful and sometimes a little sarcastic. Often, when pursuing a new hobby, interest is lost quickly when it ceases to be engaging or fun. They are very much people persons. They are talkative and not shy. People of sanguine temperament can often be emotional.

Choleric (or Dominant)

A person who is choleric is a do-er. They have a lot of ambition, energy & passion, and try to instill it in others. They can dominate people of other temperaments, especially phlegmatic types. Many great charismatic military and political figures were choleric. They like to be leaders and in charge of everything.

Melancholic (or Conscientious)

A person who is a thoughtful ponderer has a melancholic disposition. Often very considerate and get rather worried when they could not be on time for events, melancholics can be highly creative in activities such as poetry & art - and can become preoccupied with the tragedy & cruelty in the world.  They can be perfectionist, and are often self-reliant and independent.  One one negative part of being a melancholic is sometimes they can get so involved in what they are doing they forget to think of others.

For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because 
I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well. 
Psalm 139:13-14


Just a little something from Judy said...

I find this study of personalities quite interesting. My daughter studied these with Florence Littaurer. We had many times of discussion about which category would fit each of our personalities. That has been many years ago, and as I read through each of your brief definitions, I know that I am a part phlegmatic and part melancholy, although there are some sangrine tendencies. Who knows! Maybe there just is not a category for me:) My oldest daughter is definitely sangrine through and through. Thanks for refreshing my memories on this subject, in your ever so fine fashion.

Saleslady371 said...

The reason why I like this study is that it helps me understand myself and others so I don't expect everyone to be just like me and think like me! I'm Melancholy first and Phlegmatic second.

Sonja said...

I remember when these first surfaced, we were all trying to peg each other. Some are obvious, others not so much, and we ended up thinking we all had some of at least 2 or 3 categories.

Your scripture is the real key to who we are though, each of us individually created from before the time of our birth, by a Saviour who knew us then and still does. How incredible!! :)

Peggy said...

I, too, am part melancholy and part phlegmatic. No life of the part here though sometimes I'd like to be.

Melanie said...

Melancholy with a touch of phlegmatic here...

Thanks for stopping by my new blog site and taking time to leave a comment. I appreciate that.

Debbie said...

I enjoyed this study when it came out years ago and I have found a lot of it to be true...I guess the part where we are all born with some inborn personality traits for sure...we simply are who we are in some ways. And yet I love how the Lord can take all of our personality traits and mold and work them together for good. I do think it is important to know our strengths and weakness too so that we can be used best. I am a definite Melancholic with a bit of Plegmatic as well, and surrounded by a big group of Sanguines...haha Have a wonderful day!

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Oh yes...this study comes up in our house a lot. There is a book for kids and they label them according to animals...the otter, totally sanguine...well we have more otters than Lions, which is choleric. So a lot of laughter with very little done. LOL

I think recently my weakness have been dominating any strength.

I am so glad He made me and knows all sides of me...and that He promises where I am weak He is strong.

Karen Lange said...

I am a phlegmatic (mostly:) and I had lunch with my sanguine friend last week. It is always a bit of an adventure when she and I get together. She always spots at least three people that she knows, and I end up meeting a lot of new people that way. :)

Andrea said...

I've always thought of myself as a melancholic, with a bit of phlegmatic thrown in.

I read Psalm 139 just this morning. Don't just love the loving warmth of knowing God's knitting us together, that He knew us before we were even conceived? Amazing!


Debbie said...

My primary personality is sanguine but phlegmatic is such a close second. I took the test a number of years ago. I even went to CLASS; a speaker's conference hosted by the Littauers. Such fun!

Low and behold, Greg is choleric with melancholic his secondary. Go figure; opposites really do attract.

Love you,

elaine @ peace for the journey said...


Denise said...

Interesting post.