We have diverse gifts according to the grace that is given to us… Romans 12:6
As I stated in yesterday’s blog, I think temperament is hard wired into us from conception. It is just one of those traits which is in the “hand we are dealt” so to speak. Temperament is a beautiful gift. We are diverse beings, and genetics make up that code. Personality, on the other hand, is formed by many different factors- our family environment, birth order, parenting styles, physical health, early childhood experiences- you name it. All those things contribute to how we interact with the world. Within a certain temperament, there are varied personalities. It is sort of like how climate is to weather. Personalities vary within temperament, but you generally can know what to expect given a person’s temperament.
The two broad categories of temperament are introversion and extroversion. Generally, extroverts give breadth to life, and introverts bring depth to life. That is, extroverts like going beyond themselves, having their best interactions with many others. Indeed, extroverts often think by talking. Introverts on the other hand, tend to do their best work on the inside, thinking deeply on their own, and working out issues by “marinating” on them internally.
I think opposites do attract, and the extrovert finds the introvert to be stable and secure, thoughtful and deep. The introvert finds the extrovert to be engaging, able to ease the introvert into social situations. The introvert likes the energy that the extrovert brings to the relationship.
Interestingly, I find that those initial attractions, over time, may become an annoyance. The very things that drew those types together can become a source of irritation.
Recognition and acceptance of our temperament is important to discovering and accepting how we are made. Often, our culture has rewarded extroverts more than introverts, and some introverts have the belief that being more “outgoing” is the preferred style.
The short answer is that extroverts need introverts, and introverts need extroverts. Celebrate your temperament, be aware of your strengths, and manage them for the benefit of those around you.
Prayer: Thank you for the diversity in the world you made. Help us to appreciate those not like us, Amen