God is supremely wise and creative, and in that wisdom, He created us in many different shapes and personalities. That's why an understanding of the four unique temperaments or personality types is so important.
Two of my favorite authors on this subject are Florence Littauer and Tim LaHaye. They’ve each written multiple books, so there’s a lot more you can learn from their research. But the main point I want to share with you is that diversity is an important part of God’s plan.
God made each of us different for a reason. We all have a unique mix of strengths, weaknesses and life experiences. Yet God’s desire is for us to work together to build up the body of Christ (see Ephesians 4:12). He wants each of us to become all we were created to be! And honestly, the best place to start is with you. Because when you can see yourself as a wonderful creation made by God Himself, then you can learn to see others the same way, no matter how different they are.
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Understanding the Popular Sanguine
Sanguines are spontaneous, vivacious and cheerful. They see the positive in everything around them and always expect the best out of life. Being naturally optimistic, sanguines have the ability to take any dull task and make it fun. They love to be with people, talking and telling stories, and they’re quite comfortable and happy to be the center of attention. Sanguines add joy and enjoyment to everyday life, and bring a little party wherever they go!
How to Love a Sanguine
A Sanguine can speak first and think later, but remember they mostly mean well! They’re great at getting things started but may need your help and encouragement to finish a job. Sanguines sincerely love to help others but may over-commit due to their enthusiastic nature, so encourage them to count the cost before they commit. Show them you appreciate the fun and excitement they bring to your life!
Understanding the Perfect Melancholy
Melancholies are thoughtful, faithful and persistent. Their detail-oriented minds, combined with extremely high standards, often lead them to make great strides in their area of expertise. For melancholies, planning and organization are an essential part of life. They are meticulously tidy, and always on time. It’s fun for them to analyze data and find creative solutions. The melancholy’s motto: If something is worth being done, it’s worth being done right.
How to Love a Melancholy
Melancholies tend to be hard on themselves, so your sincere, loving encouragements can go a long way! Be mindful of their sensitive nature, as your words could easily wound them. Melancholies thrive when they have time alone, so give them the space they need to shine. Do your part to make things clean and tidy—and be sure to praise them for the thoughtful dedication they put into everything they do!
Understanding the Powerful Choleric
Cholerics are adventurous, persuasive and confident. These natural born leaders are great goal setters, risk takers, decision makers and managers. If there’s a problem, they have a plan. If something “cannot be done,” they want to do it! Cholerics enjoy being in control, and welcome change and opposition. They tend to be more interested in achieving goals, and less sensitive to the feelings of others. The choleric’s maxim: “Do it my way, right away!”
How to Love a Choleric
A Choleric can be impatient and bossy without ever meaning to hurt. So, it’s best not to take things personally; just be an honest and trustworthy friend. Applaud their decision-making skills, but don’t hesitate to bring your own ideas to the table. Cholerics often see things as black and white, and will benefit from the insights of others. Let their natural talents for leadership shine, and try not to be envious of their success.
Understanding the Peaceful Phlegmatic
Phlegmatics are friendly, patient and contented. These well-balanced souls are the easiest of all temperaments to get along with. They are agreeable, eager to help, and not in need of too much attention. A strong desire for unity, plus their ability to listen and offer objective opinions, makes them wonderful moderators. Phlegmatics are pessimistic “realists.” However, their low-key nature allows them to be calm and collected when others might get anxious or upset. Their main goal in life: to live in peace.
How to Love a Phlegmatic
A Phlegmatic naturally goes with the flow and needs encouragement to focus on their own needs and wants. If you want to know what they really think and feel, realize it could take some coaxing. Because of their relaxed nature, they may need your help staying motivated, making decisions, and participating in social functions. Be appreciative of their patience and flexibility, and try not to be too pushy.
Food for Thought
- What is your personality type and how is God using it in your life?
- What do you lack that other personalities bring to the table?
- What personalities do you find difficult and how can you adapt to work together?
- Ask God to show you how you can love others by adapting to their needs.
God’s Word is Your Guide
Some of the content from this article is derived from Personality Plus by Florence Littauer.