Oil and Gas Industrial zone,The equipment of oil refining,Close-up of industrial pipelines of an oil-refinery plant,Detail of oil pipeline with valves in large oil refinery.

The EXPAT

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47. Personalities

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Personalities differ. Knowing this helps us understand ourselves and others better. Considering this can be a valuable insight into managing our lives. We each have the feeling that we expect everyone to feel as we do, to see things as we see them, to think like we do. How deeply and dogmatically this is felt depends on a person’s understanding of why this is, and how emotionally mature they are. This seems to be the common denominator in all levels of conflict. It also has something to do with internal conflict.

Difficulties in relationships are more easily worked through if we understand ourselves first. This leads to understanding others better, (what is their basic personality type) and in having greater success in each relationship. This is most important where it concerns the more closely integrated people in our lives, like spouses, children and all the outlaws within our in-law families.

Hippocrates (the Father of Western Medicine) observed the mind-body complex of individuals, and classified four major constitutional types, personalities or mental attitude, if you will. Much has been written on personalities. Some have divided the types into colors of Blue, Red, White and Yellow instead of the Greek humors. There are other venues as well. All are fun, all are revealing.

My favorite is the Greek thesis as illustrated in this little parable.

Rabbit was planning a party. Each detail had been perfectly thought out. Lists were made and checked for weeks in preparation. The day had arrived and although exhausted, Rabbit placed the evenly cut carrots sticks in neat little stacks on each plate. Decorations were done; games were planned and lined up in order of use. His attention to detail, his need for order and perfection, was often criticized. His expectation was perfection. He was a Melancholic. Rabbit’s greatest need was to be understood.

He was hurt and offended when his first guest barged in the door, criticized the seating and demanded that it be changed….now! This was Bear. He had a very organized mind, could look at any situation, rise to any occasion, take charge of any event, and see how it could be done better. A natural leader, that is what he did, whether or not anyone wanted him to. Sometimes his decisions were impulsive but he could bully them into success. Bear was a Choleric. His greatest need was to be followed.

Turtle had ambled in unnoticed. Everyone loved Turtle and he was always invited. He had a hard shell and never ruffled anyone’s feathers. Being invited was a good thing, for his very presence usually kept the peace, and his greatest need was to be included, respected. He was happy and managed his life without noticing much what anyone else was doing. Turtle was a Phlegmatic. Today, the frey between Rabbit and Bear went unnoticed as he sat in the recliner, poked his head out just enough to see the book he’d brought with him.

Late as usual, a very pleasant, always smiling, chattering and having fun, calico kitten bounced in the door. She had run into a group of raccoons and quickly made friends with them. Being in the middle of telling them a very funny story, she brought them along to the party. Rabbit was distraught, as he hadn’t planned for them. Bear was getting loud, as they wouldn’t sit where he wanted them to sit. Turtle didn’t notice. But Kitten being a Sanguine WAS noticed. That was her greatest need, and she knew how to make that happen.

There was some civility in this group of raccoons. They were not raucous but they were bodacious. They upset Rabbit, annoyed Bear, pestered Turtle and lost interest in Kitten.
Needless to say, this party was a disaster. No one cared but Rabbit. But then it was his party. He wanted to cry and he did.

Of course we are all a combination of the Greek personality ethers, but could be predominately more one than the others:
A Melancholic will worry but will be organized, a perfectionist, which in itself is a flaw.
A Choleric will act decisively and maybe too rashly, often bossy.
A Phlegmatic will be a little disorganized and maybe forgetful, always pleasant.
A Sanguine will be distracted and impetuous…always entertaining.

A balanced person is an even combination of the four personality types, and uses each part of his or her personality or developed gifts to make the best of any situation.

©2003 Carol Robertson

Personalities differ. Keen perception of our own personality imprint can be a helpful tool in assessing risk tolerance, impulsiveness, commitment, or in other words, how we manage our lives.

Fun-ditty #47
“Winners take responsibility, losers place blame.”

Bob Robertson

Bob Robertson

Bob Robertson is a retired professional quality engineer and educator with extensive experience in manufacturing environments throughout the world, including Singapore, Indonesia, Russia, and various locations throughout the United States. Besides all that, he Leslie Householder's admired and revered father, and she is pleased to spotlight his "Expat" stories here on her Rare Faith blog.