How stereotypes are formed | Fola Daniel Adelesi

I’m probably one of the quietest Sanguines you’ll find around if our paths ever cross. I have a naturally calm demeanor which then sparks a lot of surprises when people see or hear some of the things I do. They are most surprised when I get on stage and take over the microphone. I am not surprised that people don’t believe I am a sanguine but that’s not the main conversation. It is the stereotype that stems from how you’re expected to behave based on the opinions formed from their knowledge of temperaments.
Ten years ago was the first time I had an argument about my temperament with two friends in Sokoto state. These two friends are now married. During this conversation, the wife argued that I couldn’t possibly be sanguine. I appeared too quiet. I was easy going and gentle. I wasn’t lousy and as loquacious as a sanguine was expected to be. She argued persistently and her husband, though not insistent, was also surprised that I could also be sanguine.
I recently met someone who also took a look at me and instantly concluded what my temperament must be. I smiled and gently disagreed while yelling him I’m a Sanguine with a blend of Choleric. Again, he was surprised. He thought I was too gentle to be a Sanguine and he kept trying to figure out the issue.
These people who have made their assertions based on my appearance and limited interactions with them have become obvious of the fact that people go through processes. People have the ability to change despite their dominant nature and can always improve on their strengths and weaknesses to deliver a better version of themselves of they so desire. I have been through a process of the years which was necessitated by the purpose I discovered. This process was both internal and external with largely external results altering the expected behaviour of a Sanguine.
Have I stopped being a Sanguine or Choleric as the occasion demands? No! When you hit the right buttons with me, I run loose. I once gave an acquaintance a ride over a period of two hours. I initiated the conversation and engaged until the end of the ride. This was a surprise to this fellow. I have met a couple of people in public transportations too and the conversation was smooth. I didn’t want them to end. That’s the Sanguine in me.
What has changed? I have learned to have deliberate conversations and impactful engagements. I don’t talk any more just because it’s my nature and gift. I have had to painfully learn to control speaking until it was necessary to do so. I can’t be everywhere if I wanted to be valuable. You don’t find gold everywhere. I can’t be talking all the time if I wanted people to take me seriously when it is time to say important things.
Now the stereotype does not take into consideration other factors that form our characters and how we can react to circumstances unusually. While the findings on temperaments are conclusions from extensive research, you have the tendency to become stereotypical when you expect people to behave according to your book knowledge of temperaments. While psychology has done great work at helping us to understand ourselves over the years, human beings are still complex and complicated. Even with known patterns in human beings, there’s no one hundred percent proof regarding how human beings will behave or react to some given circumstances.
No matter your knowledge reservoir regarding the temperaments of people, it is always better to seek to understand the people before drawing conclusions about who they are and how they’re expected to behave. Taking one look and concluding or making assertions on the personality of others is one-way stereotypes are formed. What does it mean to practically stereotype anyone? It is to look at people and interact with or refuse to do so from the mirror of your limited knowledge or information without taking into consideration the dynamics of each human uniqueness.
Descriptions like Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic, and Melancholy are general descriptions that do not reflect each human’s uniqueness. Knowledge is truly golden but the revelation is progressive. With this in mind, you’ll save yourself from the possibility of being a stereotype even when your intention was to appear brilliant and sound intelligent.

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