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  • Writer's pictureTrisha Lord

Feelings: The fifth Component of the Thinking Environment

The fifth component of a thinking environment is probably one of the components that gets marginalized the most. It's one of the components that's most under threat in our world. And it's one of the components, which if we can create the conditions for it being safely expressed, can make the most profound difference to the quality of thinking that people can do. It is the component of feelings.

We are thinking, feeling beings, but you could be forgiven for not knowing that about some people - and actually about a lot of us - because we've been taught, from very early on in our lives, that feelings are inconvenient, they're messy, they're often unacceptable. And so, we've been taught to marginalize them, to avoid them to pretend that we don't have them, and definitely not to express them if we want to be seen as competent, and professional and capable.

Those messages have done an enormous amount of damage to the quality of independent thinking that people can produce, because we are thinking, feeling beings, and you actually cannot think well for yourself without your feelings. The other interesting thing about this is that, as soon as you do start thinking about something, how you feel about that topic is going to start showing up for you. It's going to start showing up in your body, you're going to start feeling how you feel about the thing that you're thinking about.

If you've absorbed messages which say: “Don't show your feelings, don't express them. Don't let people know how you feel”, then you're going to have to narrow the lens of your thinking to make sure that it avoids how you feel, and that's going to produce a very reduced quality of thinking.

We need to reverse the trend. We need to say back to people, your feelings are welcome. We need to celebrate people's feelings when they express them. We need to be able to relax in the presence of each other's feelings. We need to be people who message through our eyes and through our face: “Your feelings are welcome here. I feel honored that you trust me enough to be able to show them and express them. I'm so glad that you're able to bring them in because I know that when you do, the quality of your thinking is going to improve. And because of that the quality of the actions that you take and the results that you can produce will improve also.”

If you've missed any of the other articles and videos on the components of the Thinking Environment, the links are below:

Attention - the first component

Equality - the second component

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