Getting Out Of Your Head

Have you ever been trapped at a party enduring a lengthy,overly cerebral discussion full of obscure facts and figures? Incredibly boring. The talk amounts to analysis to the point of paralysis. And throughout the entire episode,not one flicker of emotion escapes from this bland conversationalist. If you have,you just had an encounter with The Intellectual.

While I think men wear the intellectual mask more than women,some women are also over-the-top intellectuals who use their academic prowess as a smokescreen. The woman who hides behind this masks prefer thinking to feeling. She’s rigid in her thinking,wrapped up in concepts and analysis. Because she lacks an emotional connection(here comes those feelings again),she has difficulty relating to others at work especially if she is in a supervisory role. As well,her emotional void often causes problems within her family,where she may be perceived as cold and detached. People who wear the Intellectual mask are not generally big on hugging! This woman likes to be super-objective,living a life that is structured by rules and regulations. She can rationalize any situation to make a point,and in the process ensures that associated feelings are kept hidden. Women who wear the Intellectual mask may have developed the belief that showing emotion is a sign of weakness and therefore should be kept under control. The Intellectual prefers the boardroom and the classroom to the social world of people and their problems.

To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.

Eleanor Roosevelt

What about you? Do you ever get feedback that you are “too much in your head,” or overly analytical?

There’s nothing wrong with thinking. Infact,we do it everyday. It is an essential component for designing the type of life that gives you the most joy. However thinking should not be at the expense of feeling.Any behavior that becomes too extreme is unhealthy. A big part of our lives involves interacting with people,and developing relationships with these people requires both a mental and emotional stimulus. The woman who wears the intellectual Mask may feel fragmented by a deeper need to connect with others emotionally and the discomfort it creates for her. If you are struggling with this,here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Identify your emotions in general conversations. Become familiar with the all-important feeling words. I feel happy,I’m bored. I’m feeling angry. Instead of saying , “The new promotion I received is recognition for my ability to conduct accurate research.” You can say, “I feel honoured by this promotion because it recognizes my ability to conduct accurate research.
  • During conversations, use your mental acuity to discern what the other person is feeling. Make it a game,if that stirs your intellectual juices. Provide accurate feedback that shows you really understand what the other person is saying. And yes,that means taking a genuine interest, even if it is a new sensation for you.

Here are two examples of good “feelings” feedback:

  • Sounds like you are pretty excited about buying this piece of property.
  • That must have been really scary.

You can practice these simple techniques and it will create a healthy alignment between your heart and your head and you will become a lot more real to the people who know you.