EXAMINING OUR COMMUNICATION PROCESS OPTIONS

 

Primary Stage : Initiation - Engage and Focus

The first stage of the Communication Process reflects who we truly are. This Primary Process or Initiation stage always reflects our deepest strength and is commonly not honored to the degree it could be because we never disconnect from that process and therefore we often don’t acknowledge it as who we are. Let us consider the options:

THINK FIRST – FOCUS ON TRUTH

We are supported when others provide clear, precise information, which allows us to quickly put together the big picture. Our power and passion comes together when we create new ideas to deal with the problems around us. We are enthusiastic when others respond to the ideas we share. Our intellectual power shows up in the quality of the questions we ask and the automatic sense of priorities we develop. Wisdom and the ability to meet others without being attached to our thoughts indicate that we are present with ourselves. Intensity and unconscious competition indicate that we are fragmented in our intellectual perception of ourselves. While usually we are known for our organizational and logic skills, when we deny this ability it fragments our power, making it difficult to accept our truth. When we honor our intellectual power, we are able to rapidly discover the down side of a situation and make clean assessments as to the long-term impact of any problem.

Our capacity to understand the cost/benefit tradeoffs supports our making decisions where we have no regrets. We can validate that we are Think First by the commitment we have to seeking the truth for ourselves both internally and externally. We may notice that others seem to perceive our search for the truth as “being demanding.” For us it is like breathing. Think First or “intellectually-centered” individuals use concepts, thoughts, ideas, and precise language as a basis of insight and understanding. We learn visually, process information linearly (focused in a specific timeframe). A Think First person usually talks more in a monotone voice, can be more detached, and has a steady pace that can, by its nature, put others in a trance. As intellectually centered individuals, we tend to use words and logic as our basic tools in the communication process. We are Content oriented and prefer to have what is most important handled first.

We can therefore, appear somewhat slower than the Feel First individuals, who jump intuitively to an answer they cannot explain. This can be a problem at the outset of a relationship, where the Feel First man is immediately ready to plunge in, while the Think First woman needs more time to gather information on which to act. We can be identified by our time focus, and need to establish what we are talking about clearly up front. The key words for intellectual-centered individuals are: know, see, understand, view, watch, focus, show, clear, look. Positive characteristics include precision, accurate details, insight, foresight and original thinking. The negative characteristics include becoming overly theoretical and chaining ideas that may or may not have a direct relationship. Relying on rationalization and logic exclusively becomes the poor man’s substitute for determining the truth. Think-first corresponds to the piano and base guitar in the “Jazz Ensemble,” for it is the foundation for great communications.

FEEL FIRST – FOCUS ON HARMONY

We are supported when others connect to us on a feeling or emotional level, allowing us to assess the degree we can trust them. We experience our passion and power when we are able to share our feelings and motivate others into aligned with us. We are enthusiastic when others respond to our suggestions and are committed to expressing ourselves fully. We know we have accepted ourselves emotionally when we can operate with equanimity, serenity and compassion for others. Anxiety and fear of rejection indicate we are not being present with our emotional truth. When we feel we understand where the others are coming from, we will interact according to how we read their motives. When we perceive that they are selfish, we will not let them get too close to us. When we perceive that they are separative and competitive, we will seek to make sure that their interests and objectives coincide with ours before we will take their advice.

When they are operating from a place of service, we are more willing to listen, asking questions that allow them to provide the information they believe we need. We can validate that we are Feel First by the commitment we have to creating and maintaining harmony both internally and externally in our life. While others may see this as an unrealistic ideal, it is our baseline. Feel First or “emotionally-centered” individuals will pursue harmony and full, uncompromised expression of interpersonal connections before anything else. We can be identified by our propensity to switch directions or context in the middle of a sentence and our lack of attention on pronunciation. We use feelings to determine the appropriateness of any action or event. Typically, we learn synergistically —hearing, visualizing, and doing simultaneously. We use our basic feelings as a barometer to determine the truth or appropriateness of a response. We can be highly sensitive and easily hurt. Our perceptivity is both our strength and weakness, as it can be extremely penetrating and yet easily overwhelmed. We are Context-oriented, attempting to connect everything to everything else.

We seek connection first on an emotional level so we can put everything in perspective. Sometimes we ramble from topic to topic to determine what others are most interested in discovering. A Feel First person speaks with a variable pitch and tempo, listens for silence and interjects framework-building comments, such as “That really means...” As emotionally-centered individuals, we usually can project a more variable pace that supports others in the conversation, thereby maintaining continuity. We see feelings with distinctness, clarity, and as not necessarily related to thoughts. This is difficult for think-first individuals to comprehend. Positive characteristics include emotional radar that can identify another’s emotional state at fifty feet, and the sensibility to know when to talk about it. The negative characteristics include sometimes becoming overly sentimental, and displaying excessive emotional feelings that can activate everyone around them.

We can be identified by desire for space (both physical and emotional), although we also love cuddling, at times. Usually, we are very flexible about how the conversation will evolve, making few demands about moving it along. The key words for emotional centering are: feel, support, relaxed, hurt, hear, tune, amplify, be, harmony, sounds like, talk, listen, and call. This position corresponds to the saxophone, lead guitar and clarinet in the “Jazz Ensemble,” for the variety and movement help focus attention in different areas of the communication process.

ACT FIRST – FOCUS ON MOVEMENT

We seek others who want to show us who they are and not spend a lot of time talking about it. When we are anxious about the connection (or actually the lack of it) we could find ourselves talking endlessly, which indicates we do not even want to be around. We tend to make decisions based on the sensations (or sometimes the reflected feelings we experience) being with another. As Act First individuals, we are Intent driven and we trust our body wisdom and gut knowing when things are right. The more we can be present and congruent in any situation, the more we recognize our power in the moment. Our power and passion manifest more when others respond and align physically with us making us great athletes, dancers and emergency responders because we react immediately to what is needed without having to think about it. We are supported when we can be in physical movement; either by examining options, looking at possibilities, or doing what is necessary to validate the truth of what we are being told.

When we are being physically present with ourselves, we experience a sense of Aliveness and vitality. Since our tendency is not to trust what others say, we like to see demonstrations of a product performing what others say it can. We develop an ability to make a decision by experiencing as many possibilities as necessary for our partner to be confident that we are choosing the right thing. Therefore we seek individuals who can keep up with us and will exhaust the possible options. When this occurs, we develop a strong trust for this person and want to repeat this experience as much as possible. We deeply appreciate individuals who take the time and make the effort to understand our situation and are willing to demonstrate the reality of their connection. We can validate that we are Act First by the commitment we have to expressing the intelligence in our bodies, letting the body find its own expression in the moment without trying to direct it.

In this way we are able to learn from our body’s wisdom. As Act First or “moving-centered” individuals, we will act immediately based on our natural, inner kinesthetic knowing. We can be identified by our comfort with silence, our small constant movements and our fluidity in action. We use intelligent action to generate results and avoid getting “bogged” down. As kinesthetic individuals, we use action to store learned success patterns and understanding. We keep doing it until we get it right, and then work to improve it. As moving-centered individuals, we are constantly active, and carry through on our actions as if our bodies were tools, which they are. It is hard for us to sit still, for any length of time. As Act First individuals, we embody Intent in all we do or touch. This usually means we need to clarify the value and purpose of an activity before engaging it. This means we are also the most “intentional” or purposeful in our interactions with others. Our focus is in the power of our bodies.

Our wisdom is stored in our bodies. We use sensations or kinesthetic experience to identify whether an action is appropriate or not. If we are not moving, we are not able to process our inner knowing or access our wisdom. Our quickness can get us into trouble, for only other Act First individuals will be able to get into action as fast. Others can end up judging us unfairly because they do not understand our process. Positive characteristics include incredible productivity, high endurance, and the ability to concentrate on one thing at a time. The negative characteristics include not being able to focus, particularly when others are doing different things or others are doing too many things simultaneously. We become frenetic, unproductive, and restless when we are “out of sync.”

Act First people are rhythmic, consistent and steady. When we speak, we may interrupt or make comments that may not relate to the conversation at hand. This is because if we do not speak immediately, we will forget what we wanted to say. We are action-oriented doers who can be restless if nothing is happening. Key words for kinesthetic individuals are: do, accomplish, task, get done, push, move, fight, flavor, touch, handle, pressure, cutting, smell, grasp, salvage, tight, and action. This position corresponds to the drums in the “Jazz Ensemble,” which help to move things along in a powerful way.

HOW TO ACKNOWLEDGE INITIATION STAGE

With Think First individuals, we acknowledge their insight, concise speech and determination to find the truth. With Feel First individuals, we acknowledge their desire to maintain harmony, their quick grasp of the essentials or their desire to find a common solution. With Act-first individuals, we respect their need to get into action, to begin the process by doing whatever is needed. Until we neutralize our misperceptions and false beliefs about different processes we do not know how to engage others where they are. If we acknowledge the primary centering of others, using: thoughts with a Think First person, feelings with a Feel First person, and actions with an Act First person, then we will initiate the communication process with a positive motivation. Otherwise, individuals are not really invited to participate.

Secondary Stage : Validation – Protection

The second stage of the process reflects our protection of thoughts, feelings or actions. Unlike the Initiation stage that reflects who we truly are, the Validation stage reflects the defensive structure around who we think we are and characteristics we feel we really have down and spend the most time expressing. The irony is that these characteristics reflect our greatest weakness. The fact that we spend so much time in this stage does not reflect our mastery, rather, our ineptitude. Let us consider the options:

THINK SECOND – PROTECT THOUGHTS

When we are concerned or afraid that we are either making the wrong choice or are not being understood, then we become overly analytical. We can validate that we are Think Second by the time it takes us to figure out how we are going to explain our decisions. As Think Second individuals we try to anticipate what others will ask us so we have pre-established answers for them. Typically, we believe we have not thought things through enough, even when we have. We can further validate that we are Think Second by how much we protect our thoughts from others, over our feelings and actions. We typically feel most vulnerable in our thoughts and therefore attempt to keep those around us balanced so we will not end up at the effect of them.

When we are defensive, we believe it is better to be Think First, than Think Second because we are not being present with ourselves in our true power. We seek to ascertain the accuracy of every detail and can even become argumentative over the slightest issue of disagreement. When we are Think Second we want others to listen to our concerns and provide the information that refutes our conclusions. If they cannot answer our questions or address our fears, then we will not trust the connection. If others can answer our questions or are willing to deal with our concerns, we automatically like them and seek them as friends. What we are seeking are friends, business associates and romantic relationships that understand our problem and can represent our perspective back to us in a way that reveals the real problems. When this occurs we develop trust in the individual because we feel they are being straight with us.

When our partners understand who we are, they will learn to validate and accept our thoughts as they are and honor our secondary centering, for this awakens our full power. As Think Second individuals, we focus our energies on building intricate mental structures to prove and protect our thoughts, believing we will not be accepted. The intellectual secondary is oriented in three different directions simultaneously: awareness of self, awareness of the object of attention, and awareness of the Context. We could make the best integrators if we eliminated our defensiveness. The more defensive we are, the more we become talking-heads, relying on position or authority to get others to listen. We need to neutralize our false attachments to precision, accuracy and clarity that reflect what others want us to be.

FEEL SECOND – PROTECT FEELINGS

When we are afraid that the choice we will make will be seen by others as a mistake, it is easy for us to become anxious and emotionally turbulent because we are overly identified with our emotional reality and likely to believe we are Feel First when in fact we are Feel Second. We can validate that we are a Feel Second by the degree to which we protect our feelings from others over our thoughts or actions. We typically feel most vulnerable in our feelings and therefore attempt to keep those around us balanced so we will not end up at their effect. We seek others who have experience making the decisions we are being asked to make, creating a rapport and an understanding of the stress in the situation that can be emotionally calming for us.

What we want most is to be reassured that the choices we make are mainstream enough so no one will be able to make us wrong. If our friends are anxious themselves, it creates negative feedback where no matter what they say, we will not be able to engage the process. What we want to release our own anxiety is somebody who can see and be with us emotionally. The more we are seen and can be emotionally congruent, the less it matters to us what others will say. When others understand who we are, they will learn to validate and accept our feelings as they are and honor our secondary centering, for this awakens our full power. As Feel Second individuals, we focus our energies building intricate emotional diversions to protect our feelings and, we believe, the feelings of others.

The emotional secondary is oriented toward an outside object with an awareness of self as well. This “divided attention” makes us great observers if we can eliminate our defensiveness. We are usually very objective and able to determine if a proposal is congruent with its intention. However, the more defensive we are, the more we act out our emotions in dramatic ways. What we need to do is neutralize our false attachments to caretaking, being considerate and nice under all circumstances, which is what others want us to be.

ACT SECOND – PROTECT ACTIONS

What we want is others who will not drown us in thoughts and feelings but will follow our lead when we want to experience various options. Unfortunately, many judge us as impulsive because we take action to determine our best choice. They do not understand that getting into movement allows us to determine which choices are most effective. Due to the Think First orientation of our society, others have difficulty conceiving how getting into movement can inform us about what is the best choice. Sometimes we can just imagine an option and then get into movement and see how our body responds to it. Other times we try out an option so later we can determine what we feel or think about it. This allows us to build our body wisdom and experience a greater range of choices. Typically we feel most vulnerable in our actions and therefore attempt to keep others around us balanced so we will not end up at their effect.

The more others try to tell us what they think we need to know, the more impatient we will get, because we do not necessarily trust what people say as the truth. As Act Second individuals we need real life demonstrations to shown us options. We also want people who are friends, business associates and romantic relationships to be willing to be patient when we make mistakes or find out what does not work. The more nonjudgmental others can be about our process, the more we can trust them and be likely listen to them. It helps if they perceive themselves as somebody who wants to know how things work from the inside out. In this situation, they can talk about their experience in a way we understand. The more individuals talk in abstract terms, the less we are into listening or trusting what they say.

When others understand who we are, they validate and accept our actions as they are and honor our secondary centering, for this awakens our full power. As Act Second individuals, we will act to precipitate attack if feeling defensive (we do not want any negative feelings or thoughts blind-siding us) or will act to amplify the initiating thought or feeling, believing we will not be understood. The kinesthetic, action-oriented or moving secondary focuses attention outward, on external objects, particularly when we eliminate defensiveness. We call this skill “fascination attention” because of its focus on detail. We are incredible observers of the way objects and mechanical processes work. The more defensive we are, the more we hide our thoughts and feelings behind physical performances that others admire. Many athletes and dancers feel uncomfortable revealing their thoughts or feelings in public.

HOW TO ACKNOWLEDGE VALIDATION STAGE

We encourage Think Second individuals thought processes by asking Content questions to increase interaction and support them in expressing their thoughts. With Feel Second individuals, we acknowledge our desire to want a deeper connection by giving permission, providing a safe environment, and holding space for them to share their feelings. With Act Second individuals, we show support for their process by taking action with them, for example taking a walk while communicating. If we acknowledge the secondary centering of others, encouraging and supporting: thoughts with a Think Second person, feelings with a Feel Second person, and actions with an Act Second person, we will validate the communication process with a positive motivation. Otherwise, they will get stuck “spinning” and will not participate.

Third Stage : Completion – Release and Relax

Without reaching the Completion stage, we are destined to energetically “spin our wheels” in the Validation stage. Focusing on the Completion stage allows us to liberate the energy of the Validation stage, thus completing the cycle and providing balance. The important thing is to relax and regenerate before initiating a new cycle of communication. Many individuals spend minimal time in the completion stage, not believing we deserve to relax and regenerate. This makes it difficult to see the energy of this third stage manifesting or embodied in people.

THINK LAST – EMBODY ASSESSMENT

When we are Think Last, others tend to judge the way we engage as impulsive and non-thinking because it is not understood in the United States. This is because there are so few Think Last individuals in this area. Others do not understand that we wait until the end of our process to think about what we have learned from each situation. When we regenerate and relax it allows us to think deeply about what has just occurred. At this point we make decisions about what we are willing to choose next. Conscious individuals will recognize that when we initiate the thinking process we have made up our minds about what we want. Unconscious individuals keep repeating themselves with the hope that their perspective will prevail.

This usually sabotages our communication process because we do not need anyone to tell us what they think no matter how it might appear to them. The more we reflect on whether a choice has served us, the easier it is for us to make this decision the next time. In this way we are always improving the way we make decisions so each new decision is easier. We need to recognize that our physical and feeling wisdom becomes progressively clearer and we make the best decisions if we do not judge ourselves negatively. As Think Last individuals, we enjoy retrospectives where we can consider how to improve or apply principles to grow or act more effectively or feel congruent. In this situation, our thinking process is primarily used to evaluate a certain course of action to determine if we want to engage it more.

FEEL LAST – INTEGRATE FEELINGS

When we Feel Last we relax and get into our feelings, which allows us to accept the decision we have made. When others understand this, they too will relax because it is just a matter of working out the details. Unfortunately, when they do not understand, they maintain a state of tension that tends to neutralize our enthusiasm for the choice we have made. While many others may judge us as unsentimental or lacking an emotional connection, the truth of the matter is that we want circumstances to be safe enough so we can express ourselves emotionally. We tend to make very assertive clear decisions about people based on the circumstances and our perceived needs. When others attempt to control us based on emotional motivations before we have decided to engage them, this interruption will likely prevent us going forward.

When others provide a focused mutual solution that is present in a way that is physically consistent, we feel drawn to complete the process by affirming our point of view. Otherwise it is not critical to share our perceptions. Trusting the process allows us to relax into how we feel in a way that enriches our experience. When our partners understand that we have to satisfy our objectives before we can get into expressing our feelings, they will provide us with what we ask for and the human connection that we desire. As Feel Last individuals, we enjoy laid-back environments where we feel safe enough to integrate our feelings, so we can enjoy expressing our emotional truth. In this situation, we experience the degree of joy in the sequence of activities, so we can determine if the process was worthwhile. If so, we begin anew.

ACT LAST – ENJOY THE FLOW

In the United States, Act Last is the prevailing pattern, which reflects the fact that most individuals in this country feel or think before they act. With an Act Last individual, conversations with others become the way we explore various possibilities. The interaction and ebb and flow of information and feelings become the context for the connection. Think or Feel Last individuals definitely need more action up front to solidify the interaction. Act Last individuals need to get to know the people before we are willing to reveal anything of a personal nature. Discussions about the circumstances or a situation where we are seeking advice become the way to explore how we interact and whether we can trust each other. Act Last individuals are willing to take action by committing themselves to the process on a deeper level and when they have made a choice and want to relax into the outcome.

We Act-last individuals enjoy doing things only after our feelings and thoughts are in congruence and have been expressed. Act-last is the predominant modality in the United States, which is also why so many individuals have partners with the same tertiary centering process. In this situation, everyone relaxes by doing things together.

HOW TO ACKNOWLEDGE COMPLETION STAGE

The best way to acknowledge the Completion Stage is by realizing the importance of this step in our process. If we don’t relax and regenerate we do not complete our Communication Process. For the Think Last individual relaxing might mean reading, or talking about their thoughts. Feel Last individuals relax by processing and releasing emotions, expressing and sharing how they feel about what is happening or what they are going through in life. For Act Last it could mean taking a run, playing a game, dancing, or going on vacation. Luckily most of us know what we need to do for ourselves to relax, so if we are not sure of how to support someone else, we can just ask them!

SIMULTANEOUS AND EQUAL

A Simultaneous and Equal Communication Process reflects a capacity to integrate our thinking, feeling and acting to respond fully and embrace our inner wholeness without the usual disconnectedness. Most individuals separate sensations and feelings creating distortions in the way they see the world and promoting an inability to take appropriate action because either our sensations or feelings predominate and eliminate our ability to integrate the opposite. Whenever we embrace just one perspective, we unconsciously project the opposite (external to us) and seek an external connection to offset our internal disconnection. When we are Simultaneous and Equal we can be present with both our sensations and feelings neutralizing our attachment to appearances and promoting an inner sense of aliveness, which empowers us. We then can respond to both our own internal states and the actions of others without reacting in the process allowing us to be responsive and able to relate our actions to our emotions and thoughts. When we are operating Simultaneous and Equal emotionally, we are integrating our feelings and emotions in the moment.

Applying Our Communication Process Understanding: Seeing Different Types

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© Copyright 2016, Larry Byram. All Rights Reserved.

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