Saturday, August 25, 2012

Working with My Phlegmatic-Sanguine Personality

I know I wrote about this two years ago but I wanted to revisit it since I've noticed a couple of things in the last couple of days that I hadn't noticed before. I thought about my phlegmatic-sanguine personality and how it was playing a big role in my post-grad plans... and it was a much needed reflection.

For those who are new or don’t remember what I wrote (or don’t want to read the previous blog post), as a phlegmatic-sanguine I have the following traits: “tendency for introversion,… peace-loving, conservative, well-balanced, easy-going, with a dry wit and a talent for bringing people together.” I am also outgoing but only with my close friends… and I know many of you who know me personally can vouch for the fact that this is indeed true; I’m terribly shy and quiet when I first meet someone but once I am completely comfortable with them, I’m a massive goofball. On the flip side,  I can also “be deeply wounded by sarcasm, harsh criticism, and anger when it is directed at [me].” I could go on and on but you get it. If you’ve known me for years and agree with the description, raise your hands. Oh, wow… everyone. Okay. lol.

Here is what has been replaying in my mind the last couple of days… especially since I realized that it was very much true: “A danger for the phlegmatic-sanguine is to be satisfied with achieving less than what he is capable of -- whether because he tends not to plan for the future or because the more challenging goals seem to be too much trouble.” Furthermore, it says that “because [I] place a high priority on harmonious relationships and cooperation, [I] will be tempted to conform to the expectations and goal of those around [me]. Thus, [my] goals may be lower than they ought to be…” Ding, ding, ding, ding!

You know, I never thought I actually had a problem with this until I realized that that was exactly what I was (and am) going through. I am settling for less than I am capable… and this fact was confirmed when I asked. I think I’ve always done this but I’ve always used excuses for my decisions. Now that I don’t have an excuse (well, I do but I don’t want use it anymore), maybe it’s time to try to push myself to do something that I’m scared of. Though I was encouraged to, I didn’t go for Oxford a few years ago. Though I was encouraged to do a number of things, I didn't do them... and it may be because of the fear of failure which is, unfortunately, a common trait amongst up phlegmatic-sanguines.

I have found jobs that would be okay for me (I wouldn't love them but they would bring in a steady income) but I didn't even apply for them because of my anxiety. It's been so ridiculously out of control that I've been playing it safe. I've also found some great jobs I could do at home (freelance writing) but have yet to apply for them because I have so much going on and I know that adding more things will only overwhelm me. However, for the first time since I've graduated, I've given myself a specific deadline to get all my side work (which I am, sadly, not getting paid for) done. This includes getting my novel done (how many times have I said this?) as well as some guest posts for a couple of side projects (which I will soon be able to talk about). Before I finish everything, I will start applying for these freelance writing gigs and, hopefully, I will be able to get my writing career started. I need goals. I need plans. I need to stop being so afraid of failure. (Oh, and for the record, I've currently ruled out teaching because I wouldn't be able to do it with my anxiety; I'm going to work on this while I work on my Masters. My heart isn't currently in it.)

I have a list of grad schools I'll be applying to next year. I was going to do it this year but, really, I have so many financial responsibilities on my plate at this time that I can't afford to take more time off from work. I have narrowed my search to about five colleges -- four Catholic (and I mean orthodox Catholic, not CINO) and one public (which is also out of the country.) I'll be apply for a Master's in Theology / Biblical Studies at the Catholic schools and I'll be applying for a Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts at the public university. I don't want to sit around and wonder "what if" due to the fact that I was scared to apply for a Creative Writing degree.

As for how I am combating any spiritual laziness and/or attacks (and I feel like I've been enduring a couple of these lately), I'm also taking the advice (from the book) about what to do to stay on track. I pray the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary (it's part of the brown scapular enrollment), the Rosary (which I do daily; fun story about this on Monday), and keeping a sort of prayer journal to keep myself in check. It's so easy to say "I'm so exhausted... I'll just pray later." I've had a couple of those days in the past two weeks but I've still gone ahead and prayed because it could become a bad habit later on.

For the tl;dr crowd: basically, I am working with my temperament's strengths and weaknesses in order to do both what God wants me (which, to be honest, I am still not sure of) and to not get stuck doing less than I am capable of.

And for those of you who would love to help me out, feel free to bug the crumbs out of me if I'm close to these deadlines and have not finished anything:

- August 30: Book reviews for The Good Bad Boy by Fr. Gerald Brennan, If the Swords in England by Barbara Willard, The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien. The first two books are done (read) and I am currently tackling The Hobbit. I hope to have it and The Fellowship of the Ring read by mid next week with the reviews submitted by next weekend.

- September 12: Side project posts completed.

- September 29 (Archangels feast day): Novel completed (includes edits and any other excuses I may have). I may need at least two or three more beta readers for this.

I hope to have some freelance writing gigs lined up around October 15 (St. Teresa of Avila's feast day; appropriate, no?) at the latest. I hope to have that started in a couple of weeks but it may take me a while. We'll see. God will provide some employment... I know He will. I'm also asking Our Lady, Mother of Divine Providence as well. I am covering all my bases here. ;)

Anyway, this has gone on too long now. Oops. Sorry -- I like to write. lol.

I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend (at least what's left of it.) :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless. :D


Joe Potillor said...

Well my friend, prayers for one....We'll have to catch up when I'm in town :)

Christine said...

I am reading this in 2016. This describes me well. This is probably why I haven't worked up to my potential. I need to make some changes. I never thought of my personality itself getting in the way.