“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”Aristotle
Hello and welcome back to my blog.
Today we are looking at understanding ourselves and by extension … others, so that we can build that steady relationship we want with the people around us.
Consider the number of times you’ve thought to yourself “if only she/he understands me” when interacting with your family members, friends or colleagues? We all want to be understood and accepted by the people we’ve accepted into our lives.
However, the big question is how much do you understand yourself: your strengths, your weakness and your emotional needs?
You may also say that you do not care if others accept you as long as you accept yourself.
That is a perfect place to be, if its coming from a place of self-love, stability, contentment and self-understanding. But a dangerous place to be when its from a place of rebellion, self-criticism and self-loathing.
Humans are social beings, so we need others around us. We also need to get along with those we want/need around us.
Without further ado, lets dive in.
The key to understanding yourself
1. Love yourself
You have heard this many times, so I won’t go on about it, to give room for what we’ll really be talking about. It had to be mentioned though because you can’t take the step to understand yourself if you don’t love yourself unconditionally.
After all you are wonderfully made and you are a precious blend of so many beautiful traits and features. What’s not to love?
Loving yourself also helps you filter and keep out negative and useless criticisms to take in words of encouragement and wisdom that help you become better, even if they come in form of criticisms.
2. Know your personality type
The main thing you need to understand about yourself (and others) is your (and their) personality. Your personality informs how you see and approach all aspects of your life; career, social life, finances… all of it.
There are lots of personality tests out there to help you determine your personality type. Some are accurate, some feel like you are being monitored (freakishly accurate), others are …
Today’s post is based on a book (Personality plus: how to understand others by understanding yourself) I read in two days (for me that’s huge cos I don’t like books with words…lol).
Now let’s get into its content.
The four personality types; according to Hippocrates
I’ve given brief descriptions of the personality types, including some of their strengths, weakness and emotional needs. Hopefully, you’ll find yourself or someone you know somewhere in there.
The popular personality: Sanguine
Sanguines are known to be out going, lively, optimistic and fun loving but they can also be too chatty, disorganized and forgetful.
People with this personality type are incredible at making initial contact with people, lightening a dull mood. Creating enthusiasm and excitement, volunteering for jobs, being colourful and demonstrative and moving past problems quickly.
However, they can be easily distracted, get sad when something or work isn’t fun anymore and can be loud which scare others off.
Despite their fun loving and sunny nature, they need to feel loved, heard, given some attention, affection and approval.
When you are around a Sanguine, appreciate the balance they bring to every situation. Give them genuine compliments, listen to their ideas, put them in-charge of parties and celebrations.
Help them with the details they might miss and in general have fun with them and acknowledge them when they have done a great job.
The powerful personality; Choleric
People with this personality type are goal oriented, confident, born leaders and love to be in charge but they may come off as bossy, impatient and quick to anger.
Cholerics are dynamic and active, quick to move into action, need to correct wrongs, strong willed, decisive, independent, self-sufficient and great at emergencies.
However, they can be too independent, make decisions for others, can’t apologies, inflexible, come off strong and can’t relax.
Despite their strength and confidence, they need people around them to be loyal, show appreciation and give them credit for what they do.
When you find yourself around Cholerics, be sure to give them compliments. Give them some type of authority and watch them thrive.
Lean on them to get the big picture and above all remind them to relax because they can keep working, since to them, taking time off is a waste of time.
The perfect personality: Melancholy
This personality type seeks perfection in all they do. They are thoughtful, organized, tend to care deeply and do nothing superficial or trivial but they can often be sad and negative.
Melancholies are great at identifying problems before they arise. Have good compassion for others, very loyal, appreciate beauty, analyse things carefully and are prone to genius.
However, they can be suspicious of compliments and others, critical of others, spend a lot of time planning and hard to please.
Despite their compassion and thoughtfulness, they need space, silence and support from the people around them.
When you are with melancholies, don’t put them down for having goals, ideas or impossible dreams. Earn their respect and trust and you’ll have their loyalty.
Appreciate their out of the box thinking when it arises and show them that they have your support.
The peaceful personality: Phlegmatic
These are pleasant, easy going and adaptable people but they are not naturally goal oriented or extremely driven to achieve.
Phelgmatics provide strong consistent support to others and can also “provide strong steady leadership that might even surpass that of the cholerics”(taken from the book).
Phelgmatics are best at making sure that people are comfortable. They can withstand pressure, are sympathetic and kind, very observant, avoid conflict, have compassion and are realistic.
However, they lack enthusiasm, are indecisive, can be stubborn and they are prone to procrastination and they keep emotions bottled up.
Despite their realistic approach to life, they need some peace and quiet, a sense of appreciation and respect from others and especially no stress.
When you are around a phlegmatic, show them that you appreciate the support they give. Rely on them to not start or fuel any drama.
Appreciate their intelligence and skills and don’t hesitate to ask for their valuable input when they don’t give it.
Remember that your personality determines your view of life and the way you move through life, by default.
In your view of life by default, you are either Sanguine (optimistic, light and carefree) or you are Melancholy (naturally cautious, deep and concerned). These are opposites so you can’t be both.
In the way you move through life, you are either Choleric (quick and furious) or Phlegmatic (steady and calm). They are also opposites, so you can only be one.
You may see yourself in one or more of these descriptions because growing up makes you more aware and leads you to make choices that either benefit you or conforms to societal standards.
The book also mentions that your weaknesses are your strengths taken to the extreme. So the aim is to consciously function in your strengths and work towards overcoming your weakness.
Regardless of the personality type, everyone needs appreciation and support, so appreciate yourself and appreciate and support the people around you.
I’m a phlegmatic melancholy which means one of my weaknesses is to see worst case scenarios all the time, but I make a conscious effort to make sure that I stay optimistic and happy most of the time. I made this decision because of my background and what I’ve been through but knowing my personality type made it all make sense.
I hope knowing yours helps you know yourself a lot better.
Feature image Photo by Jonathan Andrew.