From the heart...and head...and gut...
Would you describe yourself as more of a thinker – logical, analytical – or a feeler – emotional, intuitive?
Up until this week, I’d have definitely put myself in the thinker camp. While I obviously do have emotions and some level of intuition, I’d have said that my logical, analytical side was usually dominant and served me well and that I was not really a particularly emotional or very intuitive sort of person.
And then a couple of days ago I read a post by Nadia of Nadia Myerson Coaching that talked about not settling for average, always aiming for best, giving your all…and it being ok to not always be at your best. My logic circuits went into overdrive and started to emit a rather worrying burning smell.
But, my brain protested, if you’re not interested in average how can it be ok to fall short of your best? If you’re willing to settle for something less than best, then how can it be true that you’re giving your all, doing your best?
I suspect that an observer would have noticed smoke coming from my ears as my poor brain tried to process this.
And yet I absolutely got it. On a visceral level, I knew, with absolute certainty, that it was true.
...I sensed that it made sense...
Which challenged my identity as a logical, analytical person.
I spent a couple of decades in work that was very focused on data, systems and processes. There had to be logic, and I was good at it. Logical, analytical thought became not only the tool I used most consciously in the workplace, but also the one I habitually resorted to in trying to make sense of the world.
Surely I AM a logical, analytical thinker? I LOVE Excel formulae, for crying out loud!
And yet, when I thought (!) about it, I realised that the biggest, boldest, best decisions in my life were triggered by emotion and intuition rather than logic and analysis.
For instance, when I was struggling in my first marriage, rationally, I knew that I had a LOT to be grateful for. I had so much, such a good life, I was one of the lucky ones. Therefore, any feelings of dissatisfaction or unhappiness couldn’t be true…could they? Finding the courage to trust my heart and gut over my head on that one and admit my unhappiness proved life-changing.
So, I’m an emotional, intuitive feeler, then?
However, I have a feeling (!) that emotion and intuition wouldn’t have been enough on their own to make me end my first marriage. Because they were also telling me that acting on the feelings of unhappiness would initially be enormously difficult and hugely painful. That’s when logic came into its own: if I was unhappy with the way things were and wanted to be happy, then I had to change the way things were, or else stay unhappy. Simples (eek!).
What I am, I finally realised (I don’t like to rush at these things) is logical AND emotional AND analytical AND intuitive. We all are, aren’t we?
It comes down to trust, I think: to trusting aspects of yourself with which you’re less consciously familiar; trusting yourself to be more than the labels that other people and your experience have placed on you; trusting your head, your heart and your gut; trusting yourself to be you.