Checking Your Tank

Checking Your Tank

Sheila’s question prompts prudence in Checking Your Tank based on decision-making--Thinking and Feeling--#3 area of preferences from the Temperament Type Indicator (MBTI).  For clarity, I’ve added Head-Logic Thinking and Heart-Logic Feeling.  Sixty percent of males prefer making Head-Logic decisions and 60 percent of females prefer making Heart-Logic decisions.

“How can I make Robert say what I want to hear,” Sheila demanded. “I clean, cook, do laundry, take care of the kids, work fulltime and am totally exhausted by end of the day, but he rarely says that he appreciates what I do at home, and the heavy load I carry at work or even that he’s glad to see me.”

I projected to Sheila that Robert probably has no idea that she felt undervalued by him and taken for granted that has resulted in her having a dry emotional tank, a condition that is easily remedied with their understanding of the difference in Thinking and Feeling decision making.

Sixty percent of males and 40 percent of females innately prefer Head-Logic Thinking. They don’t need to hear praise, thanks and approval and it’s difficult to give what you don’t need. Thinkers major on considering concrete facts and figures, making decisions and expecting approval. Since their first answer is ‘no’ and their second answer is ‘no’ they can come across a bit cold and uncaring. But that is far from the truth. They primarily want trust and respect from others. They are not easily persuaded. They prefer to make impersonal decisions. Thinkers feel weak when making warm feeling decisions. They rarely cry.

Sixty percent of Females and 40 percent of males innately prefer Heart-Logic Feeling. After considering a decision to be made, Feelers want to first get approval from someone else. They insist on harmony, often say ‘yes’ when they mean ‘no’ just to keep the peace, and are easily persuaded. Feelers feel mean and apologetic when they have to make unpopular decisions of ‘no’. They are easily hurt and cry easily.

All Feelers—female and male--rely on others to provide what I call the six A’s: acknowledgment, attention, acceptance, approval, affirmation and affection.  When they do not receive regular doses of approval, etc. at times, they may experience dry tanks. They assume that all people like to hear what they hear and share what they like. Just as it’s difficult for Thinkers to give what they don’t need, it’s difficult for Feelers not to give what they need. Take a minute to ascertain which decision preference describes you.  Thinkers can access Feeling, but it wears them out.  Feelers can access Thinking, but it wears them out.

Sheila wasn’t getting the approval that she wanted and needed because Robert didn’t have a clue that she was waiting to receive something from him that he didn’t need. Had he known that she needed regular approval and affirmation for what she did day after day, he would certainly grant it.  So, Sheila will need to be bold enough to express what she wants to hear: “I would like you to say something about how hard I worked today”, “Did you notice that your laundry was done?” “I would like to feel special to you and have a date.” The list can go on and on.  Head logic Thinkers are usually glad to comply with a reasonable request.  Heart logic Feelers cannot change Thinkers into Feelers, but they keep them apprised of their emotional needs.

I learned about empty tanks as I was busy helping others. Jim, a Head-Logic Thinker, taught me how to learn to say ‘no’.  He was attentive, loving and kind but an experience taught me what I’m passing on to other feelers who are aware that their tanks are getting low.  I vividly remember at the end of a long day of counseling ending at 9:30 when Jim walked into my office to let me know via body language that it was nearing bedtime.  I said “Boy, I’m so tired!” to which he quickly replied, “Well, who makes out your schedule?”  I felt hurt and said, “I don’t need a sermon; I’d rather have a hug and hear you acknowledge that I work hard.” He was quick to take me in his arms and apologize for being insensitive. His warm hug was all the affirmation that I needed. He often came home from meetings worn out and tired, but he never complained or asked for any special affirmation or sympathy.

I remember a session with Jill, a softhearted and unhappy wife and her Head-Logic husband when she shared “Phil sent me a Valentine and signed it, Phil. He doesn’t write ‘love’ or ever says that he loves me anymore.” Jill sniffed.  Phil kind of gave an embarrassed hitch of body language and looked at her tenderly and said, “I told you I loved you when we got married, and I haven’t changed my mind.” It was difficult not to laugh, but that statement is held by many, especially Introverted Thinkers.  “Thinkers need to be reminded about the intrinsic importance of loved ones reading and being told, “I Love You”. Thinkers also like to receive love messages but since they don’t crave them, they rarely request them.

Telling someone what you need to hear or that you need/want a hug isn’t being overly needy or proud, and expressing your inner need to your significant other is a type of humility in admitting you need something you can’t give yourself. Priming our own tanks is our responsibility.

When soft-hearted people who are used to interacting with friends and family and regularly receiving approval, praise and a sense of value have been cut off from people due to illness, locked inside because of weather, or as many of us recall the ravages of Covid isolation, their emotional tanks experience dryness.  When you feel lonesome or needy, call a friend or make a visit. Even introverts, who need only one person at a time, depend on others to give them approval and the six A’s.

Even though Feelers depend on the majority of approval and praise to flow from their spouses and family members, every Feeler is responsible to activate other sources of affirmation from relatives, friends, workmates, club members, etc. Sometimes, spouses who supply emotional support become ill and others will need to fill that need.

We can use our need for approval, praise and the other A’s as we encounter others as family meets, we visit neighbors or are involved in classes, meetings, organizations and we recognize other feelers who need affirmation, attention or praise for something they said or did.

Many Feelers in responsible positions of decision-making are wise to observe how Thinkers speak, explain situations, ask questions or make decisions. Difficult or uncomfortable decisions have to be made by parents, grandparents and children.  Helping young people learn the difference in decision-making will go a long way in equipping them to adjust to the various situations and people they’ll encounter.

Everyone requires extra understanding and patience from others at times. It’s a good idea to be ready to come to the aid of those who need encouragement and affirmation.  We become better people when we intentionally help those we know or don’t know.  When you are feeling undervalued, consider who you could call who may be lonely and need to hear a friendly voice.

I received so many inspiring responses to Who Knew, I’m considering doing a follow up. So, if you have an experience to share, use my email above.

A person’s wisdom yields patience; Prov. 19:11. (NIV).

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Col. 3:12. (NIV).