Lorraine McCarthy, Counsellor/Coach, Human Synergistics Australia
In writing about the styles in LSI 1 my aim has been to explore the idea that the way we describe ourselves shows the relationship we have with ourselves. That relationship is likely to be reflected in our self-talk. This has the potential to enhance or limit the satisfaction we experience in our lives, prescribes the way we behave and whether or not we are effective.
We know that when we feel listened to and understood, encouraged and supported, we feel more confident in trusting our creativity and uniqueness. If we describe ourselves as high in the Humanistic-Encouraging Style in the Constructive cluster, we are likely to give ourselves the best chance of sustaining our ability to access all of our functioning in any present moment (Self Actualising) and achieving our personal goals (Achievement).
Many of the items in Humanistic-Encouraging are framed in terms of others: 'supportive of others', 'encourages others', for example. If we describe ourselves as being this way most of the time we are likely to have the ability to be like this with ourselves. More importantly if we describe these items as being essentially unlike us we are hardly likely to be able to be so with ourselves. My premise is that the way we believe we behave in relation to others will most likely be the way we treat ourselves.
I love the LSI as you will realise. The insight it gives us if we are prepared to stick with it and ourselves is infinite. The learning is lifelong. Insight is always evolving as we grow. We can never say that we have done it now and move on. It is full of subtleties and certainly not black and white. In recent years I have been reflecting on the Humanistic-Encouraging Style more than any other. This is possibly due to a process of elimination. In the 34 years since I did my first LSI 1 it feels like I have worked through different styles one at a time, noticing, reflecting and seeking feedback to get clarity. I came to see that the defensive styles were self-defeating: Power, Perfectionistic, Oppositional, Avoidance and Approval, towards seeing the infinite possibilities offered by Achievement and to falling in love with the feeling of being Self Actualising.
I always believed myself to be essentially Humanistic-Encouraging 'seeing people as basically good'. Interesting learning over time has been that my positive regard could be conditional on how much I trusted and respected a person. I have been trying to make a conscious effort 'to take time with people' who might be behaving in a way I don't like and 'listen' more in order to 'understand' the reasons why.
Being unconditionally Humanistic-Encouraging with ourselves I believe is the key to our feeling peace and happiness in our lives. In my counselling work with clients my goal is assist them to feel compassion for themselves and their situation, to be supportive in their self-talk rather than critical. I notice in myself that critical and blaming self-talk leads to my feeling flat and unmotivated after a few days. To feel better I have to stop the talk, be gentle, understanding and supportive–of me.