What’s holding you back?

I took a personality test yesterday.

It’s one I’ve taken before, several times. The results indicate which of four personality types are strongest in you: choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic, or melancholy, which are the four bodily “humours” once thought to control a person’s mental, emotional, and physical health. (for more information, visit Wikipedia: Four Temperaments, or Personality Plus or Lion, Otter, Beaver, Retriever Test )

I’ve always come out as an extreme melancholy, with a touch of choleric thrown, a little phlegmatic, and absolutely no sanguine tendencies whatsoever.
I mean, we’re talking seriously unbalanced in the “fun” department.
I’ve joked about it. My family and friends have teased me about it. And yet, deep down inside, it’s always bothered me, because who doesn’t want to be the “fun” person?
So yesterday I take this silly quiz, fully expecting to confirm once again, my place in life as a full-fledged melancholy.
So I get my friends and family to take it, figuring the test is just screwy. Funny, their results are all pretty similar to what I expect. And the descriptions fit them remarkably well.
I took the test again. You know, if you take the test enough times you can finagle the results around…
Hmm. Still sanguine.
What does this MEAN?

Is, perhaps, my Internet persona that different than who I am in real life? Does this explain why I have to go back through all my e-mail correspondence and take out the multiple exclamation points at the end of my sentences? Has the “real me” been buried under a sea of melancholy labels for all these years?

My head is spinning with the possibilities.

What if I don’t have to be the melancholy, perfectionist, sandbag-on-the-balloon all my life? What if the person I’ve secretly dreamed of being is really who I am?

If I strip off the labels I’ve worn all these years who’s really underneath them?
The problem with labels is that they hinder us from reaching our potential as children of God. Whether your label is “dumb blonde” or “boring brunette” or “hot-tempered redhead” those are all just labels. They’re all subject to change.
Yeah, you might tend one way or the other, but don’t allow yourself to get stuck in a rut. I’ve dug that melancholy rut so deep that I’ve struggled with borderline agoraphobia.
The only labels that count are the ones that God gives you: beloved, accepted, transformed, adopted, etc. But those labels are tattooed onto our spirits with the Blood of Jesus, part of our everlasting covenant with Him.
The rest of your tags, no matter how long they’ve been stuck there, are like those pesky “my name is” stickers. Ever been at a conference and looked down to see that your name tag has slithered from your collarbone to your boob?
That old, oversized, melancholy label has gotten seriously out of place. It didn’t just move down my chest, I think it fell off and I sat on it, and now it has become a big “but” in my life.

So what labels are you wearing?

  • What limits have you accepted because of what someone said about you, or because of your family genealogy, or because of something that happened to you when you were a child?
  • And, in your heart of hearts, what labels do you secretly long for?
“Everyone has inside himself a piece of good news!
The good news is that you really don’t know how great you can be,
how much you can love, what you can accomplish,
and what your potential is!”
Anne Frank

3 thoughts on “What’s holding you back?

  1. patti lacy says:

    GREAT post!
    At 55, I am finally comfortable in my part otter, part tiger skin.

    It's hard to get away from the label strong-willed, stubborn and controlling, so sigh, I think I'll just grin…and bare my teeth!

    Great post!!

  2. Krista Phillips says:

    I'm not sure I'm a way because of what others have labeled me. I am who I am, but I am different depending on who I'm with. I guess that makes me part chameleon. WHen I'm more comfortable with someone, I'm one way. When I'm unsure, I'm very shy and reserved. So depending on who you ask, will depend on what they think my personality is:-)

  3. Niki Turner says:

    Patti, check out this otter picture on Flickr, http://tinyurl.com/y9cqsnr.
    The little buggers only LOOK harmless!

    I experience the chameleon thing, too. It's challenging sometimes to figure out if a feeling or an attitude is actually mine, or just something someone else is broadcasting! I love to hang around sanguines… that way I can be assured of having a good time! : )

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