YOUR BODY.The room you live in and carry about. The machine that moves you around. The one entity that many people are not happy with. They will like to be fair though they are black, so they bleach. They will like to be skinny, though they are a little on the plump side so they diet to anorexia. They will like to be fit and pack six packs so exercise becomes a drug. Human beings and our body, can we ever be satisfied with the body we have? The body shapes, however, give information about who you are likely to be and the qualities you are likely to have based on your body shape. An American psychologist-William Herbert Sheldon (1898-1977) in two of his works; The Varieties of Human Physique in 1940 and The Varieties of Temperament in 1942 classified human beings according to body shapes. Although there had been some objections to his classification but we can learn something from the classification.
An American physician and psychologist, William Sheldon (1940,1954) propounded the theory of human personality based on the individual’s physiology. He explained that there is a relationship between people’s temperament and physique. He divided human being into three main body types according to their physique. The three categories are:
- · The Ectomorphs
- · The Mesomorphs
- · The Endomorphs.
(i) The Ectomorph
They are thin, fragile looking with strong bones and muscle stretched over the bones. They are also characterised by flatness of the chest and delicacy of the body. They have more surface area than the other types of physique, thereby showing a preponderance of surface over mass. They have the largest brain and central nervous system in proportion to their sizes and because of this large proportionate surface area; they are over exposed to external stimulation. They are properly equipped for competitive and persistent physical action. Their nerves are below the skin and this makes them to be sensitive and anxiety prone and vulnerable in physical combats.
When it comes to temperaments, most ectomorphs tend to be characterised by restraint, inhibition and desire for concealment, secretive, self conscious, youthful in appearance, afraid of people and happiest in small-enclosed areas. They do not attract attention to themselves. They have a high sense of self-denial and sacrifice. They are usually analytical to a fault and fixed in their opinions and convictions. They are potentially hardworking individuals. As loners, they love being left alone in moments of crisis or trouble.
This makes them to be independent and self-sufficient in outlook. In dealing with people, they tend to be critical, cynical, detailed and meticulous in whatever he wants to do. They have the long distance runner’s orientation to goals -they try to achieve them without the support of a lot of people -and are usually not bothered whether they are supported or not. Most ectomorphs are intensely private people. In using language, they tend to be blunt and will openly speak their minds. They can be witty, curt in reply and sarcastic, very impatient with those who are slow, which make most ectomorphs very unpredictable.
(ii) The Mesomorphs
They have strong bones and strong muscles. Their bodies are usually strong, tough, and generally equipped for strenuous and exacting physical demands. They love adventures, and are always full of action. Mesomorph love taking risks and living at life’s edge. They love speed, tend to be impatient and love to use energy and force to achieve whatever they want. The mesomorphic individuals are aggressive, callous towards the feelings of others, noisy, courageous and have the fear of closed places. Actions, power and domination are of prime importance to such individuals. As a result, they dominate the environment and the people around them. They also like to command and when it comes to achieving their goals they are like bulldozers; they do not recognise any obstacle, and they visit their anger on the nearest object or person. They are always tense and when they fix their minds on issues they brook no opposition and will usually get what they want even if they lose themselves and their integrity. In moments of crisis or problems, the mesomorphic individuals involve themselves in action or acts that will help in dissipating their intense energy.
In their language and communication, the mesomorphs choose forceful dominant personalities words, love commanding tone and words and like to forcefully convert people to their points through overt gestures and shouting if possible. They rarely discuss in abstract terms but use many concrete examples and if those examples cannot help, they apply force and intimidation. Most chest-centred people are mesomorphs.
(c) The Endomorphs
They are usually plump persons. They have the tendency of being fat with potentials of becoming obese. They are said to be sociable, relaxed, lovers of comfort, slow and tolerant with even temper. They react slowly to issues, tolerant in relationships with others and are generally easygoing persons to interact with. They are usually concerned about people’s opinion about them and consider this before taking actions.
They are very meticulous but slow, detailed but steady when carrying out any assignment. They fix their goals and strive towards them in a slow manner without hurrying as much but constantly putting the goals in perspective. The endomorphic individuals have the tendency of not capitalising on people’s weaknesses when dealing with others, but of building up others strength. They rarely initiate change and tend to be conservative in outlook. Most stomach centred people are endomorphs.