There has been a lot written about emotional intelligence, which I indirectly address in the post re: decision-making when others are involved. This present post focuses on the challenge that arises when one or more people are intellectually oriented and another person is strongly motivated by feeling.
Many of us grew up being taught that feelings were something to be controlled rather than a possible source of information. Reactive emotion does need to be managed, which is an aspect of emotional intelligence. However, feelings are in another category altogether.
It is easiest to explain this through an example:
A family member called me some years ago, and mentioned that he was thinking of moving to another city because someone he cared about had moved there. I asked how he felt when he thought about moving, and to pay particular attention to how his body responded rather than focusing on his thoughts about the move.
He reported that he felt tired. I told him that was good information and left it up to him to decide what to do. Some months later he told me that the move had been a “disaster” and that he was moving back. I do not consider this a mistake, because it was a valuable learning experience for him.
Some years later he called me to tell me about another even bigger potential move with more far reaching consequences. I again asked him how he felt. His response was, “energized.” As you may have guessed this move was a very positive experience.
We can all learn to use our body-mind intelligence and our intellect in a more balanced way. You may notice that you allow your intellect to override your feelings, at least some of the time. My own experience has shown me that this takes daily practice until it becomes a positive habit.
When one person in a couple or group is very feeling oriented, and is initially unable to translate his or her positive or uncomfortable feelings into intelligible words, the other(s) can become impatient or dismissive. As I mentioned in the previous post cultivating patience, while asking open-ended questions, will help to surface additional information for optimum decision-making.
One last example:
When I was in the hotel business. I had an idea for a promotion which I felt would be good for local business people as well as successful for the hotel. I was told that upper management thought it would not work based on what they knew from past experience. In the end they agreed to a trial, and in fact it did turn out to be a huge success. At the time I did not have a logical argument to convince anyone; I had only a very strong feeling that it would be successful.
When we become attentive to our own feelings, we begin to use much more of the intelligence available to us. Our culture is very intellectually oriented and many of us do not fully inhabit our bodies.
Even feeling oriented people need to learn to consciously access the information they receive. I am often amazed at how much easier my life becomes when I am attentive to my entire being, and find this practice to be both challenging and very rewarding!