The study of the personality (temperaments) goes all the way back to the Greek physician Hippocrates (460-370 BC). Much of our personality is biological as we are born with a distinct set of mental characteristics. According to science about 50% of our personality is based on genetic factors, the other 50% is a result of our environment.
According to Hippocrates there are four basic types of personalities. Many new personality theories were developed from this ancient concept, all using different names to define them yet very similar to the four basic types.
It should be noted that everyone has a little of each of these four personality types within them. Every person has a primary personality and a very strong secondary temperament.
- Choleric Personality Type
Different Names: Directive, Lion, ENTJ, Gold, Rabbit, Lucy
Strengths: Productive, fiery, straight forward, independent
Weakness: Inconsiderate, opinionated, proud, risky
Ideal work: Executive, Lawyer, Consultant, Engineer
2. Sanguine Personality Type
Different Names: Interactive, Otter, ESFP, Orange, Tigger, Snoopy
Strengths: Lively, generous, carefree, optimistic
Weakness: Prone to addiction, undependable, egocentric, exaggerates
Ideal work: physician, marketing, travel, actor
3. Phlegmatic Personality Type
Different Names: Supportive, Golden Retriever, INFP, Blue, Pooh, Charlie Brown
Strengths: Loyal, deliberate, factual, flowing
Weakness: Spectator, critical, indecisive, stubborn
Ideal Job: Teacher, nurse, psychologist, writer/editor
4. Melancholic Personality Type
Different Names: Corrective, Beaver, ISTJ, Green, Eeyore, Linus
Strengths: Idealistic, gifted, sensitive, accurate
Weakness: Avoidant, secretive, rigid, moody
Ideal Job: Artist, accountant, social work, musician
As noted above, we each have a disposition. Since biology cannot be separated from our experiences our individual psychological histories have patterns of action and reaction. We are our perceptions, we are programmed by our history to react with fear, anger, avoidance and insecurity. We set others up to react in the way that we want, assuming various egos states causing us to react as a parent, adult or child. Acting as parent we are superior and suggest inadequacy of others. Acting as a child we are inadequate and in need of some support for others. Acting as an adult we are adequate in ourselves and relate to others as equal.
No one can cause your emotions, but only stimulate the emotions that are awaiting to be aroused. The person with a healthy personality is an actor not a reactor. By acting you don’t allow others to decide how you are going to react. The healthy personality is his own person who does not bend to every wind which blows. She is not at the mercy of all the pettiness, meanness, anger and ignorance of others. The atmosphere does not transform her as much as she transforms the atmosphere.
Our perceptions, which are based on the environment we were raised in and our personality type, cause our emotions and effect our behavior. If we were raised in an environment of dysfunction, such as one with abuse or addiction, our personality develops defenses to protect ourselves from vulnerability and harm. The scars and defenses we use to protect ourselves from vulnerability form patterns of action and reaction, these patterns eventually become so self –deceptive that we forfeit all sense of identity and integrity. We act “roles” wear masks, and play games, we develop personality disorders.
For more about Personality Disorder: