Saturday, August 2, 2008

An Interesting Book on Personality!


It's been such a long time since I got a time to pick up a book and read it cover to cover, until a week ago and its refreshing to be transported back again to new learning.

Well, its not that the concepts are totally new to me since I am a graduate of BS Psychology, somehow many terms have been familiar to me especially the discipline and the field itself.

What interest me about this book is perhaps its relevance to my present status in life as a married person. Since the time I got married, I have been preoccupied with many peculiar adjustments about myself to the point that reading seems the last priority. After long years of continuous study, my mind seemed to explode in many things that I learn and I find emptiness if I am unable to apply them in practical situations of life. And so when I finally got the chance to take hold and read a book, I felt refreshed. And I am seeing it from the point of view of a married woman.

The book I am talking about is the "Personality Plus" written by Florence Littauer. In the book she discusses four basic types of personality. Although I have encountered more types in other psychological theories, I find her description simple and easy to remember.

Before I read the book, I took the Personality Profile Test related to it. Thus, prior to reading it thoroughly, I have already identified what type of personality I got. Somehow the results truly show basic characters of me. I got the combination of the two types. What inspires me more as I read through it is the fact that the author who is a woman, has the same combination of personality type that I got and the man she married is possessed with the same personality combination that my husband got. So I can truly relate to her experience.

She pointed out that the four basic types of personality are the following: Popular Sanguine, Perfect Melancholic, Powerful Choleric and Peaceful Phlegmatic. Each of these personality types has its own strengths and weaknesses and although she discusses only four types, she recognizes that at any rate, each individual remains unique, only that he has certain inclination and methods of understanding the world around him.

Popular Sanguine are extrovert, talker and optimist. They have appealing personality, life of the party, sincere at heart, always a child, cheerful and bubbling over, wide-eyed and innocent, physically holds on to listener, good sense of humor, good on stage, changeable disposition, lives in the present. These are basic emotions of a popular Sanguine. At work, a popular sanguine volunteers for jobs, thinks up new activities, looks great on the surface, creative and colorful, has energy and enthusiasm, inspires other to join, charms others to work and starts in a flashy way. As a friend a popular sanguine makes friend easily, loves people, thrives on compliments, seems exciting, envied by others, doesnt hold grudges, apologizes quickly, prevents dull moments and like spontaneous activities. These are basic strengths of a Popular Sanguine.

Then Littauer also described the second type of personality, the Perfect Melancholic.Emotionally, Perfect Melancholic are deep and thoughtful, analytical, serious and purposeful, genius prone, talented and creative, artistic, philosophical and poetic, appreciative of beauty, sensitive to others, self-sacrificing, conscientious and idealistic. At work, a Perfect Melancholic is schedule-oriented, perfectionist, high standard, detail conscious, persistent and thorough, orderly and organized, neat and tidy, economical, sees the problems, finds creative solutions, needs to finish what is started and likes chart, graphs,figures,lists. As a friend, a Perfect Melancholy makes friend cautiously, content to stay in the background, avoids causing attention, faithful and devoted, will listen to complaints, can solve other's problems, deep concern for other people, seeks ideal mate and moved to tears with compassion.

The third type as Littauer discussed is the Powerful Choleric. On emotion, he is born leader, dynamic and active, compulsive need for change,must correct wrongs, strong willed and decisive, unemotional, not easily discouraged, independent and self-sufficient, exudes confidence and can run anything. At work, a Powerful Choleric is goal oriented, sees the whole picture, organizes well, seeks practical solutions, moves quickly to action, delegates work, insists on production, makes the goal, stimulates activity and thrives on opposition. He has little need for friends, will work for group activity, will lead and organize, is usually right and excels in emergencies.

The last type is the Peaceful Phlegmatic. The Peaceful Phlegmatic are introvert. They are low-key personality, easygoing and relaxed, calm, cool and collected, patient, well balanced, consistent life, quite but witty, sympathetic and kind, keeps emotion hidden, happily reconciled to life and all purpose person. As a worker, he is competent and steady, peaceful and agreeable, has adminsitrative abilit, mediates problems, avoids conflicts, good under pressure, finds the easy way. And as a friend, Peaceful Phlegmatic is easy to get along with, pleasant and enjoyable, inoffensive, good listener, dry sense of humor, enjoys watching people, has many friends and has compassion and concern.

Those are just the basics of each personlity type. If you are able to read the book in its entirety, you will see how we can improve and complement in each other. After reading it, one will realize that God after all created us with our own strengths and weaknesses. We are indeed unique. All of us has something to give and must be willing to receive.

And if you are to know how did I score in the self-examination test: I scored in almost same figures of a Popular Sanguine and a Powerful Choleric. And I suppose that my husband is a Melancholic and a Powerful Choleric. You can only imagine how both of us struggled in our marriage. I would like to achieve in things but I want to do it in a fun way, not serious. But my husband would also like to accomplish things but he does it very seriously. And since we both want are ways done, we ended up imposing on each other what we think is the best approach.

When I was done reading the book, it somehow enlightened me. And instead of suffering for my husband's melancholic character, I try to understand that its how he is made by God. In that fashion, I would be able to minimize the duel in our household. (By the way, he is starting to read the book now. I am hopeful it would help him understand my nature too. :-)

In all these, I have come to realize that truly all of us is essential for each other. Sometimes, we find it hard to understand our own brothers or sisters or mother or parents or siblings or children or friends, relatives, people in the communtity we got ourselves involved into but if we also take a look at their basic profile, we shall also unburden ourselves for the pain they have caused in us which in truth and in fact, they do not mean to cause. It is just their nature.

And indeed the journey to personality improvement is a constant effort and having read such a book at this point in my life, have greatly aided me.

But then again, we must always connect all this to One Who made us. Human understanding is a mere tool. Understanding God Himself and listening to Him remains to be the solid foundation as to how we look at other people and how we understand ourselves.