This isn’t easy for me to admit. First, as a born and raised good girl, I learned that it’s not polite to talk about your strengths because you might appear conceited or make someone feel bad about themselves. If I was complimented, the correct response was “No, I’m not” or “You are too” for the reasons mentioned above. It was okay for me to talk about the parts of me that I didn’t like, but it wasn’t acceptable to speak of those qualities that I did. And eventually as a practicing good girl, I lost the ability to see my own strengths.
Second, as a good girl I learned that femininity meant that I should be meek, mild and accommodating although I am not naturally any of these things. When I attended college in Georgia I even felt kind of masculine next to those sweet dainty Southern women who were well versed in feminine ways. I remember walking down the street with a friend of mine who kept trying to walk on my left side. After about ten minutes of this weird dance I finally asked what he was doing. He replied “Don’t you know? Man takes curbside.” No, I didn’t know that and now I feel even less feminine than before.
Later that year I was at a one-day retreat for the newly elected officers in my sorority. I was the Scholarship Chairman because it didn’t require me to be meek, mild or accommodating. Perfect. The facilitator put tape on the floor in the shape of a cross to divide the space it into four quadrants.
She asked two questions: “Are you an asker or a teller?”
I wanted to be an asker because good girls are definitely NOT tellers and I started to head to that side of the room, but my roommate raised her eyebrows at me and nodded in the other direction. I begrudgingly dragged myself to the teller side, which by some miracle still had a number of cute girls on it so I was still acceptable.
Then the facilitator asked “Are you relationally or task focused?”
and I paused to think “I do like people, but I really like getting stuff done so I must be more task than relationship based.” In the meantime everyone, and I mean everyone, had headed to the relational quadrant leaving me and this other girl that I didn’t really like in the task box. Yuck! That day I learned that I was a telling, tasking DRIVER who was different from just about everyone I knew. Let’s just say that exercise didn’t do much for my self-confidence and I didn’t like being the driver personality.
I have struggled with my God-given personality for years wanting to be me but not liking who that person was until a friend introduced me to the four temperaments. Thanks Shannon Derby. The four temperaments is a theory of human behavior coined by Hippocrates 2500 years ago dividing people into four categories, or temperaments: choleric, sanguine, melancholy, and phlegmatic. I have found this theory to be the most simplistic and realistic description of human behavior that I have come across and it has allowed me to understand both myself and others so that I can love all of us more fully.
So for the next four weeks I am going to share with you what I know about the four temperaments. I’m going to detail out each of the categories so that you, too, can learn more about yourself. My hope is that this information will provide you with permission and courage to live more fully into your God-given personality while feeling validated, understood and inspired.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
Are you able to say with confidence “I like my personality?” If not, stay tuned. There is so much to like about you.
If you would like individualized help to learn more about your unique personality type, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on my website www.daleskram.com for a free 30 minute life coaching session.