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Feelings & Thinking

11 Apr 2018

Feelings & Thinking

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There are two major ways that people make decisions:

They are “feeling” and “thinking.”

In “thinking” decisions, one reflects on the abstract principle that pertains to the matter under consideration. By applying that principle to the particulars of the circumstance, one logically arrives at the appropriate course of action. It’s a very rational process. It is clear, impartial, fair, and even-handed. This way of deciding is an essential part of Justice.

In “feeling” , one considers the impact of possible outcomes on the different people who would be affected by the decision. One tries to put oneself in each of their places to get in touch with how each person might feel. One works toward a decision that would feel best to everyone involved. It’s a very emotionally-aware process. It is caring, compassionate, kind, and involved. This way of deciding is an essential part of Mercy.

People are evenly divided between these two decision-making styles. But more men (about 60%) prefer thinking decisions, and more women (about 60%) prefer feeling decisions.

When things are going well, these two decision-making methods are complimentary. For instance, if two parents differ in decision-making style, their children can benefit from decisions that are both fair AND kind.

But when things are going poorly, these two methods can seem to be at war, and people can invalidate one another’s styles. “Why can’t you be more logical!” and “How can you be so cold!” are among the battle cries from each side.

As in most polarizations, healing comes from respecting the others’ opinion. We benefit from mutual understanding, valuing differences, and openness to influence. Healthy couples develop a reasonable give-and-take that allows them to compromise, and even see their differences with warmth and humor.

The world needs both Justice and Mercy. Not either/or.

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