Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What is my temperament?

I found this is one topic that keeps popping out during discussions with different groups of friends (or people). I used to be able to answer it very readily: choleric. In recent years, however, I've been thinking, am I still one? Do I still want to be one?

Before I continue, I've put together a small infographics to give you a bit perspective about the 4 different temperaments, check it out:

Click the image to enlarge
If you think the above diagram is too complicated, I know (I can't remember the source) a good one-sentence summary that represents these 4 temperaments:
A choleric does things my way, sanguine the fun way, phlegmatic the easy way, and melancholic the right way.
I don't understand why people (including me) like to put label on others. Perhaps it's just for fun, or to make fun of others (I know I do that sometimes, shame on me). Actually, the label that we assign to someone doesn't mean anything. Why?

1. Because people change

As people grow (physically and mentally), their personality and temperament change. Some will grow stronger in the same direction, phlegmatic becomes super phlegmatic for instance. Some will grow a second or third temperaments. Some will even grow in the opposite direction, for example: phlegmatic becomes choleric.

Whichever is it, one thing for sure, people can and will change. The "Clara" that you know today, may be different from "her" that you met 12 years ago in the middle school, and you might not recognize her in another 8 years.

Some people seem like they never change, but it doesn't always mean that they really don't change; it could be:

2. Because people adapt

© taonews.blogspot.com
Sometimes you have to adapt to survive. In a highly competitive environment, it may be very difficult to stay phlegmatic. You will be left behind. You have to be aggressive to progress forward.

On the other hand, it's hard for a group of highly choleric individuals to work together or to be friend. Some of them has to be less aggressive to get along.

A group of melancholic individuals will be less likely to have fun. Heck, I doubt there would be even a group in the first place. While a group of sanguine may never get the job done.

As people gain more experience on their life, their skills to adapt will normally improve. It's only natural. We live in an ever-changing world, we have to ever-adapt to survive.

It may look like putting a mask, well, it is.

So, what is my temperament?

Photo by paurian at Flickr
As I wrote in the beginning, I was a choleric. I think I still am, because I still have many traits of this temperament. I am still aggressive, impulsive, touchy, and I still hate to lose.

But now I know, I can't always stay the same. I have to adapt to different situations, different environments, different people. I can't behave the same way at work like I do at home. I can't treat Billy like I treat Jacob. Phoebe just laughs when I make fun of her, but Christine weeps, and Cecilia doesn't even get my joke.

It would be ideal if you can just be who you are, anywhere, anytime. Life would be much easier, because you don't have to keep "pretending" or adapting to be someone you are not. But it's not the kind of life that everyone can enjoy. At least I think I don't have that luxury.

To be successful at work, at friendship, at life, more often than not, I need to adapt. I need to fight myself so I can get along with my colleagues, or my friends. Sometimes I have to force myself to do things I don't enjoy, work with people who don't work the way I want, watch movies that bore me to sleep, eat food that I won't even feed to my dog, visit places that make me miss my bedroom like crazy, meet people I can't stand, and so on.

That's life, who says it would be an easy one? But that's also what makes it very interesting; very dynamic and full of surprise. And it's the kind of life that I hope to change me, to a better person.

Fortunately, I don't have to do this alone. God blesses and guides me all the time. He gives me the best family I never feel unloved. He gives me good friends that make my life colorful. And He's always there for me I never have to walk alone.

So, to answer the question, what is my temperament? I would leave the answer to whatever you think about me. If you think I don't treat you the same like I treat the others, you may think that I'm a pretender. But in fact, I think you are worthy for a unique treatment that I would adapt myself to you (:

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