South African Christian Network for Women - Cup of Faith

I Said This, You Heard That

Christian Art Media recently sent me a lovely press drop that included a variety of new books, including Kathleen Elderman’s I Said This, Your Heard That which explores how a person’s wiring affects what they say, how they listen, and how others hear them.

What first intrigued me is that the book is accompanied by a 6-session guided video study which is available via their free app that gives a more in-depth and relatable explanation of each temperament in real-life situations. The workbook features an assessment to help discover your primary temperament which serves as the first step in helping understand and make you more aware of your own wiring.

The idea of working through this workbook is to live the word of Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” By understanding our own needs, strengths and weaknesses and the needs of those around us, we can build each other up through the way we communicate.

The first study goes on to introduce you to the 4 temperaments which they identify as 4 main colours. (Of course, there is a more technical term for each temperament, but I’ll be honest – it’s just easier to remember that I am a red and my husband is a green.)

  • Red (Choleric): Power and Control
  • Blue (Melancholic): Perfection and Order
  • Green (Phlegmatic): Calm and Harmony
  • Yellow (Sanguine): People and Fun

After completing the 40-question questionnaire, you tally up your score to find out your primary and secondary temperaments.  Mine is red and blue – funnily, during the first video, I already identified these two temperaments as my own  but wasn’t too sure which of the two would be my dominant temperament (turns out, power and control is my thing, which makes a whole lot of sense.)

Once you know your temperament, the study becomes so much more reflective than I expected. From a deep dive and honest look at the strengths and weaknesses of each temperament to understanding our own needs, the needs of those around us, the way we manipulate when confronted by “unwholesome talk”, and our unique traits.

The nice thing about this study is that you can do it as a group or on your own. I decided to work through the study on my own, but then asked my husband to do the questionnaire, so I could learn more about the way I communicate with him. It was a great deal of fun, laughing at how each description was so accurate for each of us, and as it turns out, opposites do attract! I am task-orientated, while he is people-orientated, I like control and leadership, he likes calm and harmony, I tend to get frustrated with things not getting done on time and will do it myself, while he gets overwhelmed by tasks and will procrastinate, I manipulate with tone and volume, and he manipulates with his stubbornness.

Truthfully, while I found this to be an absolutely fascinating book, I was also confronted by my weaknesses and as you’ll quickly learn, a Red temperament doesn’t like acknowledging that we have weaknesses, we don’t like failure, we’re bossy, impatient, confrontational, headstrong and prideful but at the same time, the study helps guide you into using your strengths to navigate situations. So, while I might be demanding, bored by trivial things, inflexible and find it hard to relax, I am also adventurous, not easily discouraged, logical, influential, responsible, comfortable with leadership, compulsive, disciplined, energized by challenges, and my favourite – I am usually right, which I am 😉.

What I liked is that right from the start of the study, they establish that you cannot change your temperament. Your temperament is your innate wiring from God – what you’re naturally predisposed to – like your eye colour, or fingerprint. It’s not your personality which is influenced by your birth order, education, and life experiences, and can evolve over time. The reason I found this to be important is because, again, it can be hard to be confronted by those weaknesses and manipulation traits, without realizing that this is WHO GOD MADE YOU TO BE!

Remember that as much as you have weaknesses, you have strengths and these strengths serve as important tools that God has provided you with to help navigate this world. The world would not function if we didn’t have a mixed variety of temperaments; imagine the world was just full of Greens, each being stubborn, procrastinating and never getting anything done. Or imagine that the world was all full of Reds, each fighting to be in control of the situation, and wanting to be a leader with no one for them to lead?

The study goes on to give you practical ways you can strengthen your weaknesses, like I could make the effort to connect with people and not just focus on completing goals, or take the time to lighten up and step away from work. My husband’s list of strengthening exercises included responding more enthusiastically, trusting in his abilities and committing to deadlines.

In addition – and one of the most helpful parts of this study – it includes a “build-up guide” which shares the way to build up other temperaments and how you might break them down.  This has been an invaluable tool in understanding HOW to communicate more effectively with my peers, and husband. As an example, I am very task-driven, but my husband doesn’t do well with too many tasks at a time which often leads to procrastination and me getting frustrated and doing it myself, so the study suggested asking for one thing at a time.

‘I Said This, You Heard That’ is an incredibly insightful read and SO worth checking out. As someone who works with people every day, it has helped me become more understanding of other’s innate needs and has improved my lines of communication. I can’t recommend it enough!

I Said This, You Heard that is available from CUM Books and leading book stores.

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