Friday, March 12, 2010

Getting Into Character: The Feeler

Happy Friday! Let's dig into Getting Into Character. Last week we looked at The Thinker. Did you see yourself in the descriptions? If not, you will most likely find yourself here in today's. To review, this set of labels reveals how we make decisions. Remember, Thinkers decide based on what they know in their heads. They look at the facts, logic, data. They can appear cold and hard sometimes. Thinkers are NOT unfeeling, they just prefer to base their decisions on things that give them proof.

So today, let's look at the flip-side--The Feeler. Just so we are clear, Feelers are NOT total emotion-driven, touchy-feely people. Feelers can be intellectuals too, but when making decisions they will rely on what they can "feel". Feelers base their decisions on people and the impact it will make on them--on needs of themselves and others, on things they hold valuable, or on variables (exceptions). While Thinkers look at criteria, Feelers look at how that criteria affects them or other people. BOTH Thinkers and Feelers use a rational process in coming to their conclusion; they just do it using different means.

Feelers include priorities and values in making their decisions. They often prioritize based on the needs of others. Feelers focus on harmony and making personal connections. They have ideas for people and that include people, rather than facts. They make exceptions and try to put themselves in the other person's shoes. They sympathized and are subjective, often finding the positive in a decision or situation. Feelers decide based on what they feel in their heart, even if it doesn't make sense with the facts others see.

Feelers look at how their decisions will impact others. Making choices that will hold meaning, allow them to be with people they care about, or allow them to help people. They seek the opinions/feelings of others rather than seek out data. They give people the "benefit of the doubt" and try to "read between the lines". Remember our example from last week about when your daughter baked her first cake AND cleaned up the kitchen? Remember, Thinkers are likely to spot the one thing she didn't do right. Feelers, on the other hand, will pay attention to all she did right. They are also likely to notice that she picked her dad's favorite flavor or that you were running late from work and her baking has the oven already warmed up for your lasagna.

Okay, if you see yourself here, rejoice because you are the champion of the underdog. You model grace and connect with people on a heart level. Your decisions don't leave people feeling cold or abandoned, but often make people feel understood. You will need to resist the urge to let everyone off the hook and to listen to every sob story thrown your way. People enjoy your "glass half full" attitude.

If it is your honey that you see here and not yourself, you can rejoice too. S/he has a knack for pointing out the good points in any choice. They cut you slack like no Thinker can. They will likely ask your opinion and take into account how their decisions will affect you. They may need your help to see that not every situation has a silver lining or that sometimes if someone looks like a crook, acts like a crook, and smells like a crook, it is a crook--not someone who just forgot to tell you something or that was having a bad day. Resist the urge to discount their feelings as "not logical".

If you see your child in this description, rejoice because you likely have a sensitive boy or girl who seeks the best interest of their family and friends. S/he will look for the good in others and believe people are worth listening to. They will likely be your helper because they notice when people need help and they may develop tact early on. The Feeler child focuses on people as individuals and often overlooks people's negative qualities.  You will need to tread lightly with your little Feeler because s/he will likely be a people-pleasers and sensitive to others' emotions and changes in mood. You can count on him/her to take things personally because anytime our heart if involved, there is the opportunity to be hurt.

My husband has strong Feeler tendencies and Jot is an all-out Feelings guy. He is my helper and looks for ways to make life easier for all the family. From an early age he could "read" people's faces and would tell me things about people based on the look they usually wore.  He is sympathetic and enjoys harmony in the house. He is a fun-loving kid at both church and home and has lots of friends. But his choice of who to play with at recess is purely Feeler. His buddies include: the boy who has been held back a grade, the boy with a serious speech impediment, and the boy with the eye patch. When you ask him why he likes to play with those boys, he never misses a beat and answers, "Because nobody else will."  The world is a better place because of Feelers.

Who has blessed your life with their Feeler ways? Thank them today and then join me next Friday as we begin to explore the last personality pair.

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