You’re familiar with personality tests, yes? They’re nearly impossible to get away from, whether they are humorous Facebook quizzes or bestselling books offering detailed strengths analysis. While they are fun to take and can be insightful, these assessments only tell you about your outward self.

That’s because your personality is the outward mask you wear – the persona that you share with the world. You may think, “I am a total introvert,” or, “I am type A.” While these statements may be true, they only give you a peek, and a small one at that, into your true nature.

What about your inward self – your inner workings, the values that drive you and the innate gifts that only you have? These deep, elemental facets make up your temperament. Temperament differs from personality in that it determines how you react to people, places and things. It is the determining factor in how well you handle the pressures of life.

Knowing your temperament is like having an instruction manual that can help you find fulfillment in all areas of your life–career, spiritual development, happiness and especially your relationships.

Relationships are where people come together in hopes of love and connection. It sounds simple, but I’m guessing you know it’s not easy to truly connect with the people you’re in relationship with. That’s because everyone comes into a relationship already established in their temperament style. Add to that several more layers, include life experience, expectations, hurts and core beliefs and it’s nearly impossible to get to the core of who a person is and discover how you can relate to him or her in way that doesn’t trigger their weak points. (And we all have weak points!)

Knowing your temperament and the temperament of those you are in relationship with can save you countless years of misunderstandings and arguments and can set you on a path to true understanding of each other.

There are five different basic temperaments and each temperament is broken down into three categories. So while it’s impossible to determine your exact temperament in each category without a full analysis, you may see yourself in one of these overviews.

Phlegmatic:  This temperament is the most peaceful of all.  They are good negotiators but tend not to want to expend too much energy.

Supine: This temperament aims to please everyone.  They are gentle in spirit but need recognition for their services.  They often say yes when they prefer to say no.

Sanguine: This extroverted temperament is invigorated by being around people.  They love to talk.  They can also experience severe mood swings.

Melancholy: Melancholies are prone to focus on their imperfections and shortcomings.  They are very private people and need alone time to regenerate.

Choleric: This temperament is fast paced.  When in balance, they can be great leaders.  If not handled correctly, they can be dominating bullies.

Having an understanding of your temperament begins to peel back the layers and expose the strengths of who God created you to be.  It helps you to see the pitfalls that your temperament should avoid and identifies your unique set of needs.

Want more? Go deeper with your temperament assessment and begin to understand what makes you tick by going to and sign up for a free copy of my special report, “What’s Your Temperament?”

By Kris Reece, Counselor, Author, Speaker