What to Give up for Lent According to Your Temperament

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Lent is right around the corner. Want to give up something more than soda or sugar this year? Knowing your temperament can help you sacrifice something meaningful!

You may know your temperament (if you don’t, take this quiz), defined by Hippocrates hundreds of years before the birth of Christ. Melancholic, choleric, sanguine, or phlegmatic, your personality type can reveal a brand new approach to Lent.

Here’s what you should give up this year based on your temperament:

Melancholic: Give up perfectionism

“It’s said that a melancholic so longs for heaven that he can never be happy with less than perfection here on earth,” Art and Laraine Bennett write in their book The Temperament God Gave You. If you’re a melancholic, you may find yourself desiring perfection, and fearing disgrace. 

This Lent, work on giving up perfectionism. Remember that even though people may be drawn to you because of your strengths, they are inspired by your story, which includes broken, messy parts.

But giving up perfectionism can seem like a large (impossible!) task. What does it look like practically? Here are few ideas:

  • Spend time in Eucharistic adoration
  • Give up negative self talk
  • Prioritize self care this Lent
  • Practice saying no and creating healthy boundaries
  • Create breaks in your daily schedule to refocus on the Lord

Choleric: Give up control

Cholerics can be great saints (or great sinners!). Once you set your sights on a goal, there’s no stopping you. But the key is choosing the right goal, and surrendering control.

“Strive to combat pride and individualism, and develop charity, humility, and a trustful surrender to Divine Providence,” the Bennetts recommend. “Assiduously avoid becoming a ‘clanging gong’ without love. Remain rooted in prayer and in love for Christ, and you will grow more compassionate, gentle in dealing with others, and patient in achieving spiritual goals.” 

But just what does it mean practically to give up control with your goals and interactions with others? Here are some ways you can sacrifice control this Lent:

  • Add the Litany of Trust into your daily prayer routine
  • Consecrate yourself to Our Lady and entrust everything to her
  • Stop nagging or asking manipulative questions in conversation
  • Ask someone for forgiveness this Lenten season
  • Accept that you require limits and commit to a healthy sleep schedule

Sanguine: Give up disorganization

If you’re sanguine, you may find it tempting to flit from task to task depending on what appeals to you the most in a given moment. It can be hard to persevere or stay organized.

This Lent, resolve to give up disorganization and follow through on your obligations. Spend time during this liturgical season sorting out priorities and tidying up so that you can approach the Easter season confidently.

What does organization look like in practical terms? Here are a few sacrifices you can make this Lent to become more organized:

  • Write down things and give up relying on your memory
  • Resolve to end the night by tidying up your desk or room
  • Sit down and write out a budget plan for your Lenten expenses
  • Organize that one closet that you hate opening
  • Create a Lenten bucket list of spiritual goals you’d like to accomplish

Phlegmatic: Give up complacency

If you’re phlegmatic, you’re not nearly as excitable as the other temperaments. You’re probably careful in your speech and thought. Friends might describe you as “detached,” or “adaptable.”

But being so cooperative may mean that you fear conflict, avoid confrontation, or go along with the status quo. In fact, your biggest spiritual vice might be sloth.

This Lent, work on rooting out laziness in your life. What does this look like practically? Here are a few ideas:

  • Give up the snooze button
  • Turn the shower colder in the morning
  • Add structure to your daily prayer life
  • Log off of social media and give up endless scrolling
  • Turn off the television by a certain time every night
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