Every so often I am blessed with knowledge that changes the way I view my world. These moments are rare, but always welcome. This week I learned about a concept called the “Wise Mind.” I was skeptical upon hearing the name, simply because it sounds like something straight out of a Jackie Chan movie. Then my therapist urged me to try it for myself, and it’s been truly eye-opening.
So according to the Wise Mind model, there are three states of mind: Emotional, Logical, and Wise. Emotional and Logical are opposite, and they mean exactly what you would think they mean. Neither is better than the other overall, but each fairs better in certain situations. For example, you wouldn’t want to do your taxes while in the emotional state of mind, lest you set your forms on fire or throw your computer through a window. An emotional state would, however, be ideal for comforting a friend who is upset.
Picture the model as one of those Venn diagrams (the things with the circles) you hated doing in middle school. Emotion is one circle, Logic the other. The overlap is where you find the Wise state of mind. Wise is the ideal state for most scenarios. The decisions you make in Wise mind make sense, because they’re logical. They also account for the feelings of yourself and others, thanks to the emotional component. It would be great if we could all utilize the Wise state exclusively, but, clearly, that isn’t reality.
Many of us tend to spend more time on one side or the other. Your boss may come off as cold and heartless, because they emphasize numbers and planning over sentiment. That friend you have who is always dating the wrong people probably places more value in connection. Most of us are typically somewhere in the middle, but we can stray to either extreme from time to time.
For me, this information helped to identify long-term patterns in my behaviors. I seem to trend towards the emotional state (excluding some situations). Nobody who knows me should be surprised by this. My therapist told think back on some conversations I’ve had. What I noticed is that I apologize WAY too frequently. I always feel like I’m in the way, and I apparently ignore the information that says otherwise.
My goal for the next 2 weeks is to keep track of how often I respond to events in each state of mind. Then I can begin to check my feelings against the facts, which is a skill I have been struggling to pick up for several weeks. At least now I know where to begin.