Jacolien van den Steenhoven

Celebrating our differences

This is the second part of our blog series focusing on celebrating our differences and today we're talking about Thinking and Feeling. To be honest because I am a Thinker and Sharon is a Feeler it is very relevant for us as a team. As we said in our previous post all personality preferences are good and can be used to benefit the people in our lives. They are gifts. However, these strengths are not visible and like any valuable resource unless you recognise it, you won't be able to fully benefit from it. 
 

We use our Thinking or Feeling preference when we need to make a decision and take action in the world around us. This is one reason why understanding and valuing each others Thinking or Feeling preferences is vital to building rich and effective relationships, communities and work places.
So in this blog we would like to focus on some of the different strengths Thinkers and Feelers can use to benefit each other. 

So what does it mean to be a Thinker? 

Well it doesn't mean Thinkers think more than Feelers or that they don’t feel.

Thinkers experience feelings and emotions, but naturally analyse situations using logic. They don't have to decide to think about cause and effect and logic. They just do it. It's as natural as breathing. They have a nose for truth and default to treating everyone equally. Their first response is to step back and think things through rather than step in and become emotionally involved. They are always searching for the principle that can be utilised or developed in any given situation.

What is it that we celebrate about Thinkers?

As Feeler I, (Sharon) have had the privilege of living and working with a number of Thinkers. I can say I am so grateful for the clarity and stability they can bring. Since Thinkers are looking for principles or rules that will make life simpler the next time they face a decision. I have found them very helpful when I face complicated problems and need untangle the many threads. 

Because Thinkers work by these principles they can quickly put internal “rules” into place for themselves that mean they can listen patiently and with true consideration when there is a difficulty that must be discussed. Usually because of their analytical approach, they are not distracted by their own feelings regarding a situation and so it can feel that they are really engaged in my world. 

I’ve been blessed by the way they approach household disagreements. They look to analyse the problem and find a solution. It makes it easy to bring things up knowing that they will not hold a grudge but look for a solution.

On a good day I am grateful for the way Thinkers challenge me discard my own personal emotional filters. For example recently I received a very short, and in my opinion, rude, text in reply to a complaint I had made. I was ready to look for a different agent which would have caused me a great deal of stress. When I showed the text to Jacolien, she said,
 "Sharon he is entitled to disagree with you. It's not rude he just disagrees.” Whilst her response did not make me feel better or understood, her perspective saved me a great deal of unnecessary conflict and inconvenience! ”

What does it mean to be a Feeler?

Well it doesn't mean that a Feeler thinks less than a Thinker.

Feelers think as well as feel, but have a strong connection with emotions both within themselves and within others. When they are faced with a situation they automatically think about what it means for the people who are involved and for themselves. They don't have to decide to think about people and relationships. They just do it. it is as natural to them as blinking in the sunshine.

Feelers often feel the emotions they sense other people are feeling. Alternatively they will be aware of their own emotional response to the emotions of others. They enjoy bringing people together and engaging with people on a personal level. They are often warm and inclusive in their approach. They seek harmony in relationships.

What is it that we celebrate about Feelers?

So for me (Jacolien)  as a Thinker, I really see the benefit of the Feeling 'part' of my life and love to be around Feelers. They prioritise relationships and value them for their own sake, this helps me to relax and to chill out and to enjoy just being with people without thinking that I need to be doing something or achieving something useful.

There have been times when I've been feeling emotional and it has been a Feeler who has helped me to understand what I am experiencing. They often have a special ability to ask the “feeling questions “. At times like this I have appreciated the way a Feeler is genuinely interested and engaged in what I have to say about what is going on for me. This has helped me not to feel guilty and helped me not to worry that I am taking too much of their time to talk about the issue that is on my mind.

I enjoy the way that Feelers often communicate warmth, their focus on encouragement and their ability to enjoy life even when there is no visible end product. This makes living with Sharon fun. She helps us prioritise relationships before tasks and yet is encouraging and ready to champion the things that we do. A winning combination!!

Questions for reflection:

- Do you think if you are a Thinker or a Feeler? What can you celebrate about that
- Who do know who is your opposite? How can you appreciate what they bring? 
- How will you communicate that appreciation to them?

reactions

Op 15-02-2016, 12:21 zei Jacolien

Thanks Rose for your response! Great that you're appreciating the personality differences in your team and I'm also still growing! Myers Briggs says that we all doing both (Feeling and Thinking) but that we prefer one above the other. That is the preference, which comes natural to us and we don't have to 'think' about it. The other side we need to be more intentional about and this is what we can train and grow in our lives. A Myers Briggs assessment helps to find out your preferences and MBTI type. I'm a licensed MBTI practitioner and if you are interested just contact me.

Op 13-02-2016, 22:25 zei Rose Prince

I enjoyed reading your reflections, ladies. So, that got me thinking about what I am...thinker or feeler. I would have said that I was a feeler, in the past...but I'm not so sure now. Can we change over time? How do we find out? I think you are right. One is not better than the other. They are complimentary, but this only works positively if we can both appreciate the differences. That could be one of the reasons why there is tension and misunderstanding so often. We are now involved in a team and are learning some of these differences. And learning to appreciate them before we jump to negative conclusions about each other. If we understand these differences we can be so much "wealthier" and productive.

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