'Sasang' constitutions can reveal personalities
“Sasang” Constitutional Medicine values the relationship between the mind and the body. The balance between Yin and Yang and the differences of “Qi,” or life energy in internal organs depending on one of the So-Yang-In (SY type), So-Eum-In (SE type), Tae-Yang-In (TY type) and Tae-Eum-In (TE type) constitutions not only affects our physiological status, but also results in differences in emotional characteristics and attitudes. Many readers are familiar with the differences between men and women, popularly described in “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” by American relationship counselor John Gray. Such emotional differences exist among the different constitutions which can help us foster relationships with others.
SE types tend to be introverted, mild in temper and pay close attention to detail. A strong sense of pride along with their meticulous nature can lead to a perfectionist character who does not like having mistakes they’ve made pointed out by others. Generally, you can trust an SE type person to take care of things on their own. However, the pursuit of perfection can often mean that SE types do not like doing two or more things at the same time, nor are they particularly good at completing tasks quickly. Their meticulous nature means that they want to think things over many times before reaching a conclusion. If you know a friend who circles around a department store before buying an item, chances are that your friend is an SE type. Such tendencies attract criticism of being indecisive. You should assign one task at a time to an SE type so that they can complete it to a state of perfection and to their satisfaction, but trusting them with multiple simultaneous tasks can result in such a person becoming stressed out and inefficient.
SE types are introverted; they do not outwardly express their anger or displeasure, and suppress such feelings. Anger needs to be vented, and suppressing it can lead to depression. Physiologically, their digestive functions are weaker in comparison, and with a slight increase in stress, SE types can be in need of a doctor’s attention because of indigestion and headaches.
SY types are strongwilled, and quick decision makers. They tend to be optimistic about everything, and do not hesitate to take on something new. If a new idea comes up, it is immediately followed up with action. Such quick actions may mislead others to thinking that things are rushed, but in the SY type’s mind, all plans are in place. SY types are quick and skilled at processing tasks. In comparison with an SE type who prefers completing one task at a time, an SY type does not become stressed out when taking on multiple tasks.
However, SY types tend to lack perseverance, and have issues about finishing things. Thus, an SY type needs to have people who can pay attention to everything in his life. You can compare an SY type to a sprint runner. They can spear forward with instantaneous speed, but cannot maintain their initial momentum over an extended period of time. Incidentally, SY types are good at sprinting.
TE types are patient and poised. They tend to see a task through to completion without showing signs of experiencing difficulties. They can relax only when the task at hand is finished, and thus tend to sit in a single place once started. Such patience and perseverance can lead to success in business.
TE types tend to take things inwardly, and harbor ideas. They do not like moving about too much and dislike change to the extent that people consider them to be conservative. Thus, they do not over-extend themselves, and takes on tasks that can be realistically completed. Their tendency to harbor things means that they are good at defending their own property and this desire can intensify and manifest itself as greed at times. TE types have very realistic viewpoints, and can be calculating when it comes to considering their own benefits. TE types are unlikely to suffer losses. In comparison, SY types do not pay attention to possible personal benefits and losses, which makes them easy targets for exploitation; something SE types can also suffer from because they do not speak out.
TY types are good at communicating, and are sociable and decisive. Their positive and outward attitude allows them to communicate with and lead others. In comparison to other constitutions, TY types are rather masculine in nature. They are decisive, and do not show regret once a decision is made. Since TY types can be very charismatic, even to the extent of being self-righteous, they tend to possess leadership-qualities.
The writer practices traditional Korean medicine at UN Oriental Medical Clinic in Hannam-dong, Seoul.