Thinking Out Loud

Looking in the Mirror

When Joanne looks into the mirror she imagines seeing someone else, not because she wants to be someone else but because she wonders what it’s like to be another person. This “technique” is something she does as contemplation—a way of putting herself in another person’s shoes.

Joanne is very creative and an artist, a sculptor. Through the medium of clay she brings life to three-dimensional form, trying to capture an essence of whatever she’s sculpting. She looks into things (people, objects, etc.) and identifies with them in whatever way she can.

So in her personal life—in personal relationships—she sometimes looks into the mirror, imagining the other person, and experiences a connection through the visualization. It’s a powerful way to use her visual-spatial processing strength to gain insight and understanding as she navigates human relationships.

Another aspect of Joanne’s visual-spatial world manifests by turning her head. She told me, “When I look left I can see what the situation looks like. It’s different than thinking about it and trying to analyze something logically.” She wondered if that made sense to me. That’s a tricky question to answer because my visual-spatial abilities are very limited, but intuitively I could easily see the value and validity of Joanne’s experience. She went on to say, “Looking left gives me perspective and helps break any negative, repetitive feedback loop I’m experiencing in my head.”

Talking about our “quirky” inner experience often feels awkward, with a fear that we’ll be judged as weird or even, perhaps, crazy. With the Communication Styles Framework as a structure, though, this type of discussion happens with greater emotional safety. Our minds are creative, whether we are an artist or not. The associations that occur in our brains are (by definition) unique, and our processing strengths drive this process.

Joanne has strong visual-spatial and kinesthetic strengths. These strong “muscles” are integral to how she absorbs information internally and how she expresses herself, how she communicates. We each have unique strengths that serve us well. Learning about our strengths and how they work for us can open a pathway to problem-solving tools rooted in our natural abilities. The CS Framework offers a practical analysis tied to our direct experience and helps us do just that.

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