Sunday, November 20, 2016
The Two Levels of Human Life
I am always amazed when I witness a couple arguing the same issue they have been for all their married life. How can this be, that two adults who raised kids together, ran households and businesses, etc. can’t come to a resolution about something as simple as “What’s for dinner?” How can that get so gnarly so fast?
There are lots of reasons for that state of affairs, mostly it’s old stuff, but for this post I want to focus on one aspect. It is usually the case that one partner is “rational” and measured “while the other is “emotional” and erratic. We tend to chalk it up to the difference between the sexes. It often looks that way. I have come to believe that it is more about the differences in the levels of human interactions.
There are two levels in each of us; there is the thinking/doing side and the feeling/being side. Each aspect plays an important role in the trinity of success, which is; a feeling processed through the intellect and then translated into behavior. Unfortunately we have so emphasized the thinking/doing side that the feeling/being side has basically been consigned to the dustbin in most of our lives.
The thinking/doing side is about all the things we accomplish and get done. The feeling/being side is about our hopes and dreams, our values, our feelings, our self-esteem, namely all those invisible, intangible, immeasurable parts that, in fact do measure our happiness and well-being.
As we grow up, most of us got all our accolades and kudos from what we do, like grades, sports, and music or just for being “good”, while our internal lives are ignored or disregarded as a nuisance. So by the time we are teenagers we have become human doings, as opposed to human beings.
In the example above, the couple keeps trying to solve their feeling issues by thinking it through. That often works for a little while, but soon enough, they will be right back to the ten-year-old arguments. So it would be a good thing for them to begin “thinking” about their “being” parts. Perhaps drag them out of the dustbin and feel what this is really about.
This internal divide is a result of all the decisions we made growing up, to be safe from scolding and shame and discomfort. It is a matter of discovering what those decisions were and making new ones from the adult that eases those old patterns.