A lot of self-help books try to help the reader by telling them to be like others. These books direct your study toward “habits of successful people” or other collections of potential role models. In his book “The Temperament God Gave You” Art Bennett takes a different approach.
Exploring the Temperaments
“The four temperaments provide us with a key to unlocking the mystery of our own selves, and of our loved ones, and can give us a way to improve all of our relationships by identifying those natural tendencies that can either benefit us or trip us up.”Art Bennett
Ancient Greek philosophers proposed that our personalities are largely determined by the balance of fluids in our bodies. These four fluids are the passionate choleric humor, the eager sanguine humor, the calm phlegmatic humor, and the sad melancholic humor.
The arcane nature of the temperament theory leaves many religious people skeptical, as they lump the theory in with ideas like astrology. This is an unfortunate misunderstanding as the theory has always been based in medicine rather than magic, and is very similar to other measures widely accepted today, including the Myers-Briggs test.
While (most) experts no longer believe that the temperaments are the result of physical fluids in the body, the meaning of the temperaments are still widely used and embraced.
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Not sure what your temperament is? No problem. The book also includes a personality test that you can use to learn your own temperament.
Using What You Learn
“Our temperament neither defines our personality completely, nor locks us into one pattern of reactions. But it does tell us how we will naturally tend to react, and it makes certain behaviors, responses, virtues, and vices easier or more difficult for us.”Art Bennett
Most of the text of The Temperament God Gave You is devoted to helping readers understand how they can use the strengths of their temperaments in some situations, while drawing on the strengths of other temperaments when necessary.
This is possible because, while we each have one predominant temperament, we do still have some of the other temperaments that we can develop and strengthen through practice.
According to Art Bennett, our temperaments impact our relationships and reactions, but can also help us to understand our spiritual strengths and weaknesses. In this way, the temperaments aren’t supposed to be an excuse for bad behaviors, but rather a learning tool to develop good behaviors.
Who is it for?
“All will benefit enormously from a book that is bound to become a standard reference point for the study of temperaments.”Forward by Fr. Thomas Berg
Unlike some self-help books, The Temperament God Gave You isn’t just for people who are experiencing problems in their lives.
If you are having problems with your personal relationships, etc., the book will certainly help you. However, there is no one who couldn’t benefit from using the book to try to improve their communication and response to life’s daily challenges.
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The book’s forward also recommends the book to those who work with others, like counselors, and clergy, as well as parents and spouses. Even if you don’t work with others professionally in an emotional sense, we all have relationships with others and could all benefit from perfecting those relationships.
“This book sheds so much light on why we react and view the world the way we do. The authors address both the positive and negative traits of each temperament and how we can, as Christians, work to better our own lives and those around us who view and react differently from each other. I highly recommend this book, especially for spouses and parents.”Christina’s review on Catholic Company
Reader reviews available from online booksellers are overwhelmingly positive. Reviewers regularly comment on the book’s ability to help them understand themselves as well as others and improve their communication with others.
Buying Art Bennett’s “The Temperament God Gave You”
Art Bennett’s “The Temperament God Gave You” is available through Catholic book shops, supply stores or online retailers.