Melancholic Temperament:

The Deep, Solitary Thinker

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An individual with the melancholic temperament* is serious and predisposed to reflection and solitude. He is the classic "deep thinker." In addition, with proper discipline and care, he is capable of great acts of deep love and heroic self-sacrifice.

Famous people: St. John the beloved disciple, Louis XVI, St. Therese of Lisieux

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The melancholic temperament is identified by (1) slow, weak reaction to stimulus (2)the reaction is deep and enduring. In other words, he is difficult to excite, but once an impression is implanted, it grows so deep that it is almost impossible to erase. This quality is key to understanding and guiding the melancholic.

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Positive qualities:

  • Piety and reflection--His ponderings are thorough and far-reaching. With pleasure, he studies the past and looks to the future. Father Conrad Hock expounds, "(He) searches for the cause and correlation of things; seeks the laws which affect human life, the principles according to which man should act."

    This person's thoughts often ascend to the eternal which stir him with excitement. He cherishes religious reflections, often accompanied with heart-felt longings. His true home is heaven and in communion with God, he finds peace. Prayer comes naturally to him. Often he feels out of place here below.

    "You, O Lord, have created us for yourself, and our heart finds no rest, until it rests in You." St. Augustine

  • Retirement--He loves solitude and silence. Because of this introspective nature, the melancholic many times lacks good powers of observation and often seems distracted. His day dreaming may cause accidents and mishaps.

  • Endurance--If he has learned to put his trust in God, the melancholic willingly suffers necessary hardships and sacrifices for the Greater Good. He is relentless and unstoppable in his battle for ideals.

  • Sharp and profound intellect--Unwilling to settle for surface knowledge, this individual delves deeply into a wide range of subjects. He truly wants to master the topic. He is careful and detailed.

  • Compassionate--The melancholic is extremely soft-hearted and sympathetic. He counsels well and is a trustworthy friend. He generously guides others to God.

  • Deep love and attachment--When in love, he is very attached. He is easily hurt by coldness or ingratitude.

  • Great sobriety and continence--The melancholic is usually not bothered by disorderly passions. He is modest and takes a serious view of life.

This is the disposition of "sublime poets, artists, of the most profound thinkers, the greatest inventors, legislators, and especially those spiritual giants..." Schubert, Psychology

With loving and gentle discipline and guidance, the child with the melancholic temperament has tremendous potential for the betterment of mankind. His deep reflection and abiding kindness are needed by both individuals and society.

*Please keep in mind that there are few people with pure temperaments, that there is a tendency toward certain behaviors, that nurture, of course, has an impact on nature, and prayer is our most powerful weapon.

The Melancholic: Weaknesses

The Melancholic: Suggestions for Rearing

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