Thinking and Feeling
Thinking and feeling are the two major ways by which we interact with our interpersonal
environment. Both are essential to constructive communication. In general, thinking
(“head talk”) leads to an explanation of the interactive situation, while feeling (“gut
talk”) leads to an understanding of it.
“Think” statements, refer to the denotative aspects of the environment. They attempt
to define, assert, opine, rationalize, or make causal connections between environmental
events. Think statements are bound by the reels of logic and scientific inquiry; they may be true or untrue.
Think statements require words to be communicated. We are constantly engaged in cognitive work: observing,
inferring, categorizing, generalizing; and summarizing; occasionally we report to others what goes on in
our head. Frequently we are asked for facts (“Where did you put the car keys”), opinions (“Which tastes
better, California or imported wine?”), speculation (“What happened when we achieve zero population
growth?”), or, sometimes, just a “what are you thinking about?” Human beings like to think and our ability to
do it is usually on the short list of characteristics which distinguish us from orangutans.
“Feel statement” refer to the connotative aspects of the environment. They attempt to report our internal
affective, immediate, no rational, emotional, “gut” response to environmental events. Usually, feel statements
are personal and idiosyncratic, in that refer to inner states, what’s happening inside of us. Feel statements,
like dreams, cannot be true or false, or good or bad, but only honestly communicated, Feel statements may
not require words at all; when they do, they usually take the form of “I feel (adjective)” or “I feel (adverb)”.
Many of us have conditioned ourselves to screen out awareness of internal reactions. We may allow ourselves
to report feeling “interested” or “uncomfortable” but deny ourselves more intense or varied reactions....