Dr Niamh On The Plum Tree

Childhood Imagination Sows Seeds of Future Brilliance

Thinking Versus Feeling!

Time to put on my “Doctor” hat again and invite you to talk about feelings…This week, I want to raise the issue of thinking versus feeling…

Does your partner profess to being logical, rational, reasonable, in control, whilst declaring your outbursts as emotional, illogical, irrational or unbalanced?

You get the picture…

You try to express yourself, explaining something that you feel. You try to explain a subtle event that passed between you that, on the surface, seemed perfectly logical and reasonable to your partner, yet hurt your feelings, made you feel dismissed, patronised, misunderstood, alone, untouched.

The more you try to explain whatever-it-was-that-hurt-you, the more entangled becomes the argument, the more heated the emotional responses, the more you feel exposed, like a thing being observed at the end of a microscope.

If this is how you feel, your partner despises emotion, disrespects the world of feeling and meaning and has made of the intellect a god. In your relationship, thinking and feeling are polarised, and it is possible that both partners in this dance have something to learn. There is a huge divide between you across which, you must build a bridge.

The fact is, according to Jung, the ‘feeling’ function is the other rational function to ‘thinking.’ What Jung meant by ‘function’ is something that should work for us. It helps us relate to, sift, sort, and separate emotion.

The feeling function is an organ of consciousness through which we can say, “I feel,” and then define what it is we are feeling. For example, “I feel anger, I feel hurt, I feel sorrow, sadness, joy, loss, despair, jealous, depressed, lonely, happy, included, excluded, love…” “I” is consciousness, the part of you that maintains objectivity, yet is enabled to enter the feeling domain to experience the emotion, remain aware of it, remain separate from it, whilst also, well…feeling it.

Through the feeling function, we are enabled to develop a relationship to our emotions rather than being swept away by them, or losing consciousness because of them.  A person with a well-developed feeling function is able to enter into the wider field of indwelling, resonance, presence, empathy, unity, and being. Without these qualities that deepen our humanity, the world is reduced, our experience of it limited.

Learning how to relate to our emotions is essential.  I call this developing Emotional Fitness. Wouldn’t we like to teach emotional fitness skills to our children? Some of us are more emotionally fit than others. It falls to us to pass on those skills to those who might be so out of touch with their emotions, that for them, relating to emotion means to enter an alien world which is frightening, overwhelming and impotent-making. In those predominantly “thinking types,” emotional responses such as fear, feelings of impotence, or frustration are usually completely unconscious and undifferentiated, and instead of being felt consciously, are usually converted into rage…the most irrational of all responses.

Emotional Fitness is a pending trade mark. 

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About Dr Niamh

When I was a little girl (a very, very long time ago), I used to love learning new, really big words like ‘discombobulate’. As I grew, my love of words grew too, until I loved them so much, I could not stop writing them down. One day, as I was scribbling a particular word, a very peculiar thing happened. The word shouted at me, “Stop! Don’t put me there!” As you can imagine, I was shocked and nearly fell off my chair. When I recovered somewhat, I said to the word, “Could you stop shouting, please? I am not used to it.” Can you guess what happened next? No! I thought not. The word said, “I might be small, but I will misbehave if you do not use me properly. I will not tell the story you would like me to tell. I will say something entirely different!” I dropped my pen. I hoped that by dropping my pen, the word would stop talking. Alas! It did not. It carried on chitterchobbling, even after the ink had dried. I was in a pickle. I could not allow my words to run away with my story, now could I? I don’t know about you, but when this sort of thing happens, there is only one thing left to do if you prefer not to spend your time arguing. “Very well,” said I. “I will do as you ask if you will just be quiet and allow me to concentrate.” Since that day, I have been paying special attention to every word I invite into my stories. After all, a story should say exactly what it means to say and not be led astray. With love from Dr. Niamh, Ph.D in Learning Through The Imagination and Founder of Dr Niamh Children's Books. www.drniamhchildrensbooks.com

21 comments on “Thinking Versus Feeling!

  1. Uncle Tree
    October 7, 2012

    I’m sure I am unfit,
    I can sympathize with Spock.
    No doubt, my words have hit,
    when my plans were just to block.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      October 7, 2012

      I am certain that you are much better at all this than you are making out. I love seeing you here, by the way.

      Like

  2. Walking with Beverley
    October 7, 2012

    Great Article Niamh! I enjoyed it immensley. On a humorous note my son noticed a new book that arrived entitled..”Opening Up – The Healing Power of Expressing Emotion” I was interested in his study on writing both negative and positive and its healing affects because this has been a part of my theory for many years. My son noticed the title and pointed to it and said, “Mom I have no idea why you would read a book on this; you have to problem expressing emotion!” lol 😀

    Like

  3. DiAnne Ebejer
    October 7, 2012

    Wow…a very complex subject indeed. I must plead guilty to often letting feelings override thinking. On the other hand when it comes to the more profound things in life I’m an expert in suppressing feelings by simply not thinking! Ha! Great topic!

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      October 7, 2012

      Yes…I am referring more to managing emotional responses and balancing feeling with thinking. etc Thank You, DiAnne for your response.

      Like

  4. Walking with Beverley
    October 7, 2012

    Great Article Niamh! I enjoyed it immensley. On a humorous note my son noticed a new book that arrived entitled..”Opening Up – The Healing Power of Expressing Emotion” I was interested in his study on writing both negative and positive and its healing affects because this has been a part of my theory for many years. My son noticed the title and pointed to it and said, “Mom I have no idea why you would read a book on this; you have No problem expressing emotion!” lol

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      October 7, 2012

      I am sure you have no difficulty Beverley and that you have a very loving and emotionally vibrant family. And you also have your poetry as an outlet.

      Like

  5. the secret keeper
    October 8, 2012

    This is brilliantly written. “Feeling” as the only rational function of “Thinking” – it is so true. It helps me to explain why I can experience anger or depression and step out consciously while still being aware these emotions are happening in me but I can explain to my partner what is happening inside of me as though separate from the emotions. What to do about switching into another emotion, that is the part that I haven’t figured out. But it brings a clearer understanding to it by reading what you wrote in your post “Thinking Versus Feeling!” This series has been important to me and I think and hope others. Emotional Fitness-a great Trademark. I am going to reblog and express more thoroughly my “feelings” and “thoughts” on this insightful presentation. An interesting distinction between emotions and feelings. Once I was told that you can have the feelings inside of you, that was the word they used, you determine if they are “acceptable to act on,” if not then you just don’t act on them, but it is “okay” to have the feelings. In your post feelings would be replaced with emotions. Emotions are active and feelings are consciousness of what the emotions that you are experiencing. So feeling is being conscious of the physical and emotional reactions occuring inside of you and possibly visible on the outside especially when interacting with others. Is that what I am understanding you to say? This series is excellent and is giving me an understanding that seems to be what I need to hear at this moment. Thank you. J.K.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      October 8, 2012

      Feeling is a rational function of consciousness, which is able to experience emotion, but also unity, being, at-one-ness, isolation, despair…etc., Feeling relates to all of that. It is an organ of soul, if you like. The Thinking function does something quite different. I will write about that next. All this is on my book: The Coming of The Feminine Christ.

      Like

  6. the secret keeper
    October 8, 2012

    Reblogged this on the secret keeper and commented:
    This is brilliantly written. “Feeling” as the only rational function of “Thinking” – it is so true. This series is excellent and is giving me an understanding that seems to be what I need to hear at this moment. Thank you. J.K.

    Like

    • the secret keeper
      October 8, 2012

      I did a bit more than just the comment above. You know me better than that. 😉 J.K.

      Like

      • ontheplumtree
        October 8, 2012

        Yes, Thank You, I know. I have visited all your amazing work and have left comments also. at least, I think I have.

        Like

  7. Pingback: Visions From My Mind | the secret keeper

  8. So important, Niamh, and this is a very articulate article. I would love to run it sometime as a guest post at Heartspoken.com where my theme is the power of connection. It could be categoried in “Connect with Self” as well as “Connect with Others.” I’l contact you separately about this, but just wanted to thank you here.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      October 8, 2012

      Many thanks Elizabeth. It would be a pleasure to be featured on your wonderful blog.

      Like

  9. Patricia Tilton
    October 8, 2012

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article, and couldn’t agree more. You write beautifully and your thoughts are so crystal clear. We all experience emotions and try to find that balance of consciously being aware of where those feelings take us –and not judging. Enjoyed the discussions above.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      October 8, 2012

      Many thanks, Patricia. I think t very important for people to understand these different “functions” and how they each serve an essential purpose. It helps not to make a god of any particular function and to teach us to give equal value to all our innate functions…might help to ease conflicts between people.

      Like

  10. Margo van der Voort
    October 8, 2012

    Thank you Niamh for trying to divert feelings/emotions. It’s a subject that has been belittled and denied a lot in this rational world. You call it emotial fitness, there’s also the term emotional intelligence. I like that term because of it’s ‘rational’ implication. Discussing emotions/feelings is so important, for men and women!

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      October 8, 2012

      I agree with you, Margo. Emotional Intelligence is a great term and beautifully describes it. I am using the term “Emotional Fitness” because I am trying to teach people how to develop this function. The one is the concept. The other is the practice.

      Like

  11. Tonia Marie Houston
    October 13, 2012

    This is wonderful, and further develops many of the concepts and ideas I read in The Coming of the Feminine Christ. I’ve had a lot of deep personal developments since reading your book, by the way. 🙂

    My husband is a more logic-oriented person. In the over seven years that we’ve been together, we’ve faced many challenges in communication. But I’ve learned, when feelings are hurt or words are misunderstood, to say “I feel….” and be patient with him as he finds a way to express his emotions as well. It’s a careful balance sometimes, but we are learning.

    Me being me, the poor man has had to learn to translate emotions and vice versa. 🙂

    However, he was the one to intuit that not only did I want to write, but needed to write. He’s been a driving force and an encouragement. I often feel that he may see himself as “thinking and logical”, but there’s a river of mature emotion running through his soul.

    I wax poetic, but I sincerely appreciate this provocative series that you’re running.

    Like

    • ontheplumtree
      October 13, 2012

      Great comment, Tonia. He is a wise man to encourage you to be a writer. And just because someone doesn’t elucidate what they are feeling, it doesn’t mean that they are not feeling! learning to say, “I feel,” is a great skill to learn and to pass on toy your children. I hope to speak next time about how to identify the issues that trigger emotional responses.

      Like

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