THINKER OR FEELER?
TO BEGIN WITH...
As usual, here are a few Hummerdingers to get you in the mood.
IT'S DIFFICULT RAISING CHILDREN THESE DAYS…I GUESS THERE HAS TO BE SOME PENALTY FOR SEX.
YOU DON'T STOP LAUGHING BECAUSE YOU GROW OLD…YOU GROW OLD BECAUSE YOU STOP LAUGHING.
INFLATION IS BEING BROKE… WITH A LOT OF MONEY IN YOUR POCKET.
YOU SHOULD BORROW MONEY FROM A PESSIMIST…THEY DON'T EXPECT TO GET IT BACK.
Even though people are unique and different we all have some common traits.
THINKER OR FEELER?
By Lou Goldstein
Thinking and Feeling are about how we decide… through logic… or through emotions.
Thinkers decide primarily on logic, and when they make decisions they consider the facts and the reasonable way to apply them. They tend to see the world in black and white and dislike or try to avoid gray areas. They focus on tangible things.
A thinker goes by clearly defined rules and proven facts. They are generally well organized and task oriented. You can expect to communicate with them in a brief and formal manner.
This is not to say that “Thinkers” don’t have feelings. In fact most “Thinkers,”, while they may appear to seem stiff and formal in the way they present themselves, are quite capable of being very sensitive and emotional during conflicts or disagreements.
However, they may be seen as cold and heartless by “Feelers.”
Feelers, on the other hand, are more inclined to do what their heart tells them. They don’t always consider the feelings of others and will sometimes make decisions that “thinkers” would not make.
“Feelers” in a working relationship are sometimes more sociable and people oriented. They are interested more in how you are doing… not what you are going to do. They wear their emotions on their sleeves and will defend their actions with emotions that aren’t necessarily based on facts or even within reason. They will justify their positions because that is the way they “feel”.
This doesn’t make feelers bad people. You can expect to hear exactly how they“think” expressed in their feelings. It just makes them difficult to deal with when there is a disagreement or breakdown in communications and may be viewed as unreliable and too emotional by thinkers.
When a thinker is attempting to communicate with a feeler there is often a disconnect.
In a perfect world we would all “say what we think.” However this isn’t a perfect world. If this world were perfect…we wouldn’t be able to recognize the imperfections. It may be because our thoughts are not really in touch with our feelings. We don’t think what we actually feel. Instead, we go by what …we think we should feel… rather than what we actually do feel.
If that sounds confusing think of it more as being complex. If we, as people, could get ourselves to be “emotionally transparent” our relationships would be more like driving on a freshly paved smooth road rather than a road with occasional potholes to encounter.
What we think and what we feel are two very distinct and different things. It’s important to note the differences. Examining the accuracy of our thoughts enables us have emotions that are appropriate for the situation. It becomes apparent in what we say and how we relate to others. We will give out mixed messages and bring about misunderstandings if we don't know ourselves and learn how to “say what we think.”
When we become aware of this confusing and sometimes conflicting situation it becomes important for us to learn to listen to our feelings. Let’s take a moment and become quiet inside. Let’s ask ourselves …. “I know what I should feel, but what do I actually feel, and why? When you can successfully figure out the WHY… you are on the way to more effective communications and a better understanding of people… and of the inner you.
One of the most misused words in America is the word “feel.” People say “I’m feeling that something isn’t working,” or “I feel that they don’t understand me,” or ”I feel they should be doing it differently.” What they’re talking about is NOT what they’re feeling - it’s what they think or believe.
What they feel are emotions. When you say “I feel” you must follow that with words like ….. angry, happy, sad, encouraged, excited, embarrassed, confused, joyful, ashamed, vulnerable, safe, calm, anxious, uncomfortable, content, scared, agitated, hurt, peaceful just to name a few. These are feelings/emotions.
Feelings usually elicit physical responses from our bodies, and they seem to be based often times on
what we think about something . Sometimes we discover that our thoughts are mistaken beliefs, therefore, the feelings that go along with them are mistaken and unnecessary as well.
”Pause when agitated,” . When we pause to think… breathe... and let ourselves experience emotions/feelings…. we learn about the significance of each type and we gain more appreciation for the pleasant feelings….. because we allow ourselves to feel the less pleasant emotions also. This is when it’s OK to talk to ourselves about situations and use “I” statements such as “I feel frustrated”, “I feel sad ,” “I feel hurt,” “I feel disappointed”, “ I feel embarrassed”, “I feel angry”…. OR “I feel happy”, “I feel excited”, “I feel content”.
It is constructive and safe for us to experience the entire range of emotions ……because we’re not alone. Then when you identify the real feeling that you feel you can now determine what you think about the situation you are in…and formulate not only what you “think” about it but how you might deal with it in a constructive way.
In other words…You don’t “feel” like you need to lose weight. You “feel” frustrated because you are gaining weight and you “think” that you need to go on a diet to lose weight.
You can be more yourself when you are able to think what you feel. You can be more yourself in a relationship, when you can say what you think you feel. You are personally and relationally whole and in harmony when you can think what you feel. Saying what you think you feel makes you transparent and easy to relate to. You do not hide and you do not give off mixed messages.Being able to say what you think… and what you think is what you feel is the ultimate goal. A goal which is very difficult to reach ….but one that is very satisfying and challenging to reach for.
Your situation is very tedious if… in most of your relationships… everyone “keeps their feelings to themselves”. If everyone says what they think but does not express how they feel……The road you are driving on will not only have many potholes… it will be also be fraught with dangers and will adversely affect your own emotional well being. If you cannot say what you think you feel, then as time goes by….you will no longer know how you feel.
So how does this relate to understanding others and how does this improve our ability to communicate with others? It is one thing to understand ourselves and think what we feel but what about the other people we have to deal with and communicate with.
What if they have not reached the same level of self understanding?
What if they hide their feelings and send out deceptive or mixed messages?
First of all we should understand who they are….and what they stand for. What are their intentions and what are their motives.
We can still “say what we think we feel” but it must be done in a manner that constructively makes our point in a positive (not destructive) way. Be smarter than other people if you can…but do not tell them.
If we have determined that we are attempting to communicate with a “thinker” we must frame our communications in a certain way.
We must first bring about and maintain a calm and reasonable atmosphere.
Our comments and points must be factually based and documented with specific examples. We must be brief and on point without getting sidetracked. We must be logical. Do not assume that the “thinker” has no feelings.
Feelings and emotions can be used as “additional facts” when coming to making a decision. Such as, “If we can eliminate this problem it will reduce a lot of anger and discontent that is apparent.”
Now, if we are attempting to communicate with a “feeler” we must first and foremost be personable and friendly. Try to begin with bringing up points that demonstrate area of agreement first.
If they become hostile you should never lose your temper or openly disagree (easy to say…hard to do).
Instead, let them know you understand how they feel … and continue the discussion by asking questions like why they feel that way.
Then, take their statements and try to ask them “to put themselves in your shoes.” However, if you are a female talking to a male you should probably not use this analogy. Most men don’t maneuver well in high heels.
More like, “What would you do if you were me in this situation”? Try to get them talking about themselves… and how they would react. Point out how they would feel and how they would be affected and what their reaction would be.
Then let them know the consequences of making decisions that might not be based on fact AND on occasions sometimes ACCEPT their point of view even though it might not be based on fact (as long as it would not produce a catastrophic result). Let them be entitled to their wrong opinion. In other words “you can lose a few battles and still win the war.” You can always remind them in the future of the times when you did let them “win” even if you didn’t agree.
So far we have established that some people prefer to make decisions based on objective data. This preference is known as "thinking". Logic and external order are the parameters that rule the day.
Other people prefer to make decisions based on subjective data. This preference is known as "feeling". The harmony of the group and what one personally values, needs or wants are the parameters that rule the day of those in the "feeling" group.
THE BALANCING ACT
To create a balanced relationship, both Thinking and Feeling must be given respect. One should not be considered to be more valuable than the other. Too often people believe that their preference is the right one while their partner’s is wrong.But in the healthiest relationships, the preferences work in concert.
Imagine if you were looking to buy a house. You’d probably look for things like a fair price, a nice neighborhood and good schools.
It might also be important that the house makes you feel cozy, a place that will facilitate intimacy or has a room for your hobbies.
We must be … both objective and logical …as well as subjective and personal.
For those women who prefer "thinking"... logic, and preference, they must sometimes contend with being called a witch, or worse. And for those men who fall into the "feeling" preference, they must sometimes contend with being called weak or too soft.
MEN HAVE FEELINGS TOO…BUT WHO REALLY CARES?
But just because a woman brings an objective point of view or a man brings a subjective point of view doesn’t mean it’s of less value. It’s important that we recognize and honor the need for both in a relationship.
Once we do recognize the need for both views, life becomes far more pleasant.
See you next time.