Temperament Tip #5
In my book, Standing Naked in the Shower: Life-Enriching Insights That Expose Human Nature, I write about the need to obey the Ten Commandments of Colors. One of those commandments is to “give good gifts.” This commandment is to be observed in ways that are both physical and metaphysical. What do I mean by this? First, let me start with physical ways.
Giving Physical Gifts
Let’s say your primary color is Gold, and your secondary color score isn’t even close to your Gold score. Therefore, your natural, knee-jerk instinct is to give birthday presents and holiday gifts that reflect your Gold values–not theirs.
For instance, you may consider giving someone a calendar to keep them organized, a reliable watch to keep them punctual, a classy tie or piece of jewelry to help them look polished and refined, their own copy of a tool they regularly borrow from you to fix their plumbing, a case of whole wheat for their food storage, a subscription to a practical newspaper or magazine such as the Wall Street Journal or BusinessWeek, or perhaps the perennial favorite: a savings bond that can’t be cashed out for a number of years.
All of these gifts reflect Gold values and appeal to Gold people. So if the intended receiver is Gold, you’ve selected a good gift. But if the receiver is primarily Orange, Blue, or Green, then chances are they will not only be compelled to exchange your gift for something they value more, but they may become perturbed that you still haven’t figured out their likes and dislikes despite the time you’ve spent together. The present you gave which was intended to be a relationship-builder may turn into a relationship-wrecker!
Giving Metaphysical Gifts
Next, let’s consider the metaphysical meaning of giving good gifts. Etymologically speaking, the word metaphysical comes from the Greek prefix “meta” meaning beyond or after and “physika” meaning the physical world. Therefore a metaphysical gift would be something that is beyond physical or doesn’t have a material form.
These may be gifts of time, emotion, energy, and effort — gifts that are intangible but nonetheless meaningful. A metaphysical gift that would appeal to Golds would be helping them achieve one of their desires, working with them to fulfill one of their values, showing that you appreciate who they are and what they contribute to the world, listening to them talk and plan for their goals and ambitions, and acting in noticeably Gold ways. All of these things are metaphysical gifts that demonstrate your admiration, love, and respect for other people.
This week I want you to complete the following assignment:
Give someone you care about a physical or a metaphysical good gift.
If you truly care about someone, you’ll put your own wants and needs in the background and focus on theirs. Rather than communicating or relating in ways you prefer, you will do it in ways they prefer. They will, it is to be hoped, give you good gifts in return.