The melancholic temperament – “Let’s do things the correct way.”

The melancholic temperament reacts weakly and slowly to things.  However, if repeated, impressions are usually strong and long lasting, so much so that they don’t usually forget easily.  This is one of the introverted temperaments.

The good qualities of the melancholic temperament include being drawn to prayer and a life of piety.  They are also compassionate to those who suffer and are especially drawn to the works of mercy.  They can endure suffering in fulfilling their duties even to the point of heroism.  Their intellects are sharp and profound and tend to consider things through thoroughly.  They are particularly attracted to the interior life.
When they love, they love with all their heart, which makes it difficult for them to detach from the people or things they love.  They are particularly sensitive to cold treatment and ingratitude.  If their physical health is weakened, so is their will, but if they are physically healthy, they are very hard workers.      
Although they appreciate the arts, they are more drawn to professions that require deep thinking.

The defects of this temperament include: a sometimes extreme tendency to sadness and negativity, with an inclination to exaggerating difficulties and losing self-confidence.  They can be reserved and shy to an extreme and can tend to be scrupulous.  They don’t usually show their feelings because they find it difficult to open themselves up, and as a result usually suffer in silence.  Because of their lack of confidence and their tendency towards pessimism, they often never begin projects or put into action their good ideas.

Those with a melancholic temperament will need to fight against their strong tendency to think too much about themselves.  They will need to inculcate a strong confidence in God and in themselves, and make an effort to be more optimistic about life.  They will have to fight against their natural shyness to be able to make the most of their intelligence and valuable way of thinking.  For this kind of temperament, a good spiritual director is key so that they can help them to make strong resolutions and encourage them to take on projects with optimism and enthusiasm.  They should be helped to understand that there is no reason to be so shy and undecided since they are so gifted and talented.

Among the saints who possessed this particular temperament are St. John, the beloved disciple, St. Bernard, St. Aloysius Gonzaga and St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

The melancholic temperament reacts weakly to things.  However, after a while the reaction can be strong and lasting, so that the melancholic temperament does not forget easily.

Good Qualities:
•    inclined to reflection, solitude, piety and the interior life
•    compassionate toward those who suffer
•    attracted to the corporal works of mercy
•    able to endure suffering to the point of heroism
•    a sharp and profound intellect

•    easily becomes sad and down
•    tends to exaggerate difficulties and to lose confidence in self
•    excessively reserved and shy
•    doesn't take action to resolve problems

What to do:
Make an effort to not concentrate too much on yourself or your problems
Have confidence in God and in yourself
Try to have a more optimistic view of life
Realize that there is no reason to be so timid or irresolute since you possess many good qualities
Make firm resolutions and take on projects with enthusiasm and optimism