Are You a Sanguine?


She jumps, she spins, she twirls. She laughs and dances. She gives hugs and kisses and asks for them often. She’s quick with a smile—unless she’s in the middle of getting mad all over. But before sadness can settle in for too long, something else catches her attention and her cares have blown over like clouds scattered on a summer day. She is our affectionate, fun-loving, expressive baby girl—the sunny little gift God gave to her sometimes stubborn, sometimes too-serious choleric and melancholic parents who are sometimes sorely in need of the reminders to smile, to enjoy the moment, and to be affectionate with their loved ones.

Art and Laraine Bennett, authors of The Temperament God Gave You, describe the extraverted sanguine, “The creative, fun-loving, high-spirited sanguine’s natural tendency to look on the bright side, to enjoy people, and to seek out adventure sometimes results in a label of superficiality and frivolity. But the world is a brighter, more joyful place because of the inspiration, enthusiasm, and fellowship he provides.” They continue,” Relationships are extremely important to sanguines; they are warm-hearted, compassionate, generous, and eager to please. They are energized by large groups, and cooperative and accepting of others,” (p. 37).

Interacting with sanguines is such a joy for me, as they are completely opposite of my melancholic temperament. I am naturally prone to sadness and they to joy. I struggle with reaching out to others and they do so readily and warmly. A smile can be work for me some days, and the sanguine’s whole person can’t help but smile and radiate joy. I have some sanguine friends and family, and I am always uplifted after our get-togethers. God is so good for having gifted the world with sanguines!

Just like with every temperament, though, the sanguine must struggle with some natural flaws. The Bennetts write, “Weaknesses of the sanguine temperament include the tendency toward superficiality (due to the immediacy of their reactions and their creative imaginations), inconstancy (due to the short duration of their impressions), and sensuality (lacking the perseverance to withstand temptation once their passions are aroused). Because he places such a high value on relationships and pleasing others, a sanguine is often tempted to forsake what he knows is right in order to fit in with the crowd” (38).

In the spiritual life, sanguines excel in their firm grasp of faith being that of a relationship with God instead of a set of spiritual precepts. The Bennetts write, “A sanguine should follow a program of life that includes placing his trust in God first and foremost, strengthening his personal relationship with Christ, and developing control over his emotions, and consistency and perseverance in his spiritual resolutions” (241). Our beloved St. Peter was of the sanguine temperament.

Finally, when raising the sanguine child, the Bennetts stress the importance of maintaining a loving relationship while helping him develop the right priorities in life. They write, “So long as his spiritual and intellectual formation is given in the context of a positive relationship, the sanguine is eager to learn. Sanguines need cheerful guidance, so that their butterfly-like natures won’t lead them to disorganization, superficiality, and following the crowd. Give them an attractive goal to work toward, so that they can learn the value of hard work and discipline” (127).

So, sanguines, thanks for all the smiles you’ve given me and the world! And next week I’ll finish up with our final temperament: the peaceful phlegmatic.

Copyright 2012 Meg Matenaer


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