A few months back I was a given a book titled “Why you act the way you do” by Tim LaHaye by a friend and leader of mine. He had taught me for three weeks in bible school every Sunday and on the front of the book he wrote “Ayo I love your personality. Be the best.” I was obviously pleased by this and to be honest I wasn’t surprised. Who wouldn’t love my personality lol (joke).
In reality I wasn’t really sure of my personality. I’m just the regular nice guy who smiles a lot and enjoys helping people out. However, this book was to cause a paradigm shift concerning how I saw myself.
Basically, Tim LaHaye proposes a theory that categorises Human beings into four major temperaments; Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, and phlegmatic. Sanguine is the life of the party, Choleric is the Boss, Melancholy is the perfectionist, and the phlegmatic is the passive dude. You can never be one of these alone; there will always be a mixture. For e.g. you could be 55% Choleric and 45% phlegmatic. You could even be a mixture of three as the options are unlimited. The book like any other book gets boring sometimes but it is imperative to read all of it because only then does it make sense. I am sure you’ll find your temperament.
When I started out reading the book I found it interesting but I reckoned it probably was just another one of those theories. But along the way there were some things in there that perfectly explained why I take certain decisions. From the different examples given I concluded I am majorly Melancholy with smaller chunks of Sanguine. This means I am the over-critical, self-sacrificing, perfectionist, outgoing, party guy.
I am not completely all things ‘Mel-San’ but I am a lot of it. As I read the book I noticed that I used to exhibit very selfish tendencies when I was younger (which I no longer do now thanks to the help of the Holy Spirit), characterised by the different tales my younger sister still tells me today. And each time I respond with “I never used to do that” as I cannot believe I would ever have behaved like that. But I know this is true because I found my year 8 book and in it I wrote my first name initials as I Am(A) Your (Y) Overlord (O). Scanning through my old e-mails a few years back I could not believe some of the things I was complaining about. I would love to meet the younger me.
Suddenly I understand why being melancholy I have developed strong pacifist beliefs and feel that all war and murder is unjustified and evil. I am still strongly against the death penalty and pro-life in every aspect. However my sanguine nature realises that if everyone else was a pacifist in the late 1930’s then the world would be very different.
The aspect that really (really!!!) got me was the self-sacrificial part. It says “Two characteristics of the melancholy which mutually short-circuit each other are his natural desire to be self-sacrificing and his self-persecution tendency. Unless he is careful, this conflict will likely make a martyr out of him. Ordinarily he chooses the most difficult and trying location to ply his vocation.” This sentence in the book really blew my mind. It kind of was like how Adele’s ‘someone like you’ touched a billion hearts across the globe. Now I understand why I told my parents I didn’t want to go on holiday with the rest of the family when I was 12 and would rather stay with my friend and play football all summer. The real reason was I thought they would have more money to spend and have fun lol. Why I have this little urge to join the army and serve as a medic in Sudan or Somalia to help treat injured soldiers and supply food and medication to those in the world who need it most. Why I really want to serve with Medicins Sans Frontieres in a place like Congo for a year. And ultimately why I want to work in Nigeria, get involved, and do whatever I can to change it.
There are other bits that confirm my conclusion on my temperament. Why I like classical music. Being over-critical of others and setting them and myself likewise impossible standards. Also setting unrealistic targets, like planning not to drop any credits at uni which obviously is impossible. Priding myself in being dependable, never being late, never losing any thing etc…
I recommend the book for everyone and anyone. It helps you understand yourself and helps you try to be a better person. It is imperative you do not ignore the negatives that you might see but instead accept them and work on them. It also helps you understand why other people act the way they do, and it’s not just because they want to spite you (this one is especially for the married one’s lol). Temperament affects many areas of life including career, relationships, and sexuality.
*Thinks of changing the word “sexuality” and using a different word as some people might think it refers to sexual orientation but reckons they should humbly pick up a dictionary and make sure* Oops! There goes my melancholy being over-critical again…