Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Conflict and Empathy: Understanding the Other Person's Design-PART 2

Now that you have taken last week’s questionnaire (if you haven’t read last week’s article and questionnaire, go there now, before you continue on here), you can discover a little bit more about that person you are interacting with. Look at the results of your quiz, and see which section you answered sometimes and frequently the most often on. Read the section here that corresponds with that section. 

Take the quiz again with a different person in mind and see what you can learn about all the people in your life. 

If you chose sometimes and frequently a high percentage of the time in Section 1, you may be interacting with a predominantly Saturated person.

Lost Credibility
Invalid Opinion
Too Slow making Decisions
Only One Right Way

The Saturated Design is quality driven in all aspects of life. This focus leads them to develop precision and a drive to be the best. This design has high standards and can be characterized as a perfectionist.  They are adept at mastering societal rules and the established protocols. They are clear, logical thinkers and have the capacity to take in a lot of information and prioritize the three most important points or ideas.  Saturated people are natural leaders and display a great deal of authority. 

Interacting with a Saturated person may feel serious due to their controlled, sleek and still physical appearance. They do not engage in a lot of small talk, rather they will declare their purpose and desires. They articulate well and convey their ideas with preciseness and brevity. Saturated people are often described as intelligent and profound. Their sophistication and intelligence can be construed as intimidating.

Equipped with a keen, clear intellect, undeniable logic and a grasp of important facts, Saturated people often come across as having the need to be right. In reality, they are declaring the facts or the rules which support their protocol to ensure the quality of what they deem important. We must always remember that they are quality driven and they will declare and defend the protocol which ensures a quality outcome.

This is the jumping off point for conflict with a Saturated person because a quality experience may be different for each. For instance, one may deem a clean house as all important, while another may see a college education at the right university the most quality experience. At this point they may seem black/white or all-or-nothing in their opinions. When the significant other disagrees with what the Saturated person deems important, he/she may feel misunderstood or coerced into their plan. They may even doubt themselves due to the logic of the Saturated person.       

If you selected sometimes and frequently a large percentage of the time in Section 2 you may be interacting with a predominantly Whitened person.


Awkward Socially
Too Rigid
Work Too Much
Don’t have enough Friends
No Fun
Abandoned for no reason (avoid confrontation)
I have done something wrong
Too Serious

The Whitened design is socially driven. Whitened people love to connect with others in order to have fun and engage in exciting events.  Innocence is the beauty of the Whitened design. They are youthful and lighthearted. You can’t help but be happy and laugh when in the company of a Whitened person. They seem to grab the attention at social parties and gatherings because they are so enrolling. They appear to be the life of the party because they literally touch base with everyone in the room. They are intuitive and seem to be able to gauge what people are feeling and what they need in order to feel better and have fun. In a social group they can be the glue that keeps people involved and together. They are inviting and approachable. They have the ability to give people permission to let their hair down and have fun. They can be pleasers because they are so adept at tuning in to the needs of others. A Whitened person will also sacrifice for the group. They will put others needs before their own to keep the group together.  

Whitened people are extroverted and recharge by being with others. They are animated and cheerful. They are at ease in any social setting because they are unassuming and comforting. This bubbly, high energy and silly personality creates an emotional safety that others are drawn too.    

If your friend is predominantly Whitened you may feel like the fifth wheel at times and like you are a boring person. Sometimes you may feel too rigid and controlling. Some people may feel stuffy or too rule-bound, unable to cut loose. You may feel abandoned by a Whitened person if there is a confrontation because Whitened people hate tension and conflict. If there is a confrontation, a Whitened person may just move on to another social group. You may also feel that you are too serious or that you need to be the responsible one. In the end, you may feel like you are just no fun.

The Whitened person’s central focus is on connecting socially and having fun. This focus can be seen as frivolous and irresponsible, creating tension and conflict.   


If you selected sometimes and frequently a large percentage of the time in Section 3 you may be interacting with a predominantly Grayed person.

Simple Minded/Too concrete/Un-educated
Bad Manners/Uncouth
Inappropriate (rule breaker)
Unaware of important details in life
Don’t care

The Grayed design is process driven. The central focus is to be appropriate. These people study the details and process all contingencies. They enjoy the details and the romance of any process. Almost everything is an experience to them. They are deep in their thought processes because they leave no stone unturned. They worry and feel as deeply as they process. They see how everything connects and intersects. Multiple choice tests are difficult, because they can see how each choice may be able to work. They move slowly and methodically savoring every detail, seeing what might or could happen. They love reliving the experience and sharing their insights with others.

Grayed people are introverted and soft spoken. They are complex and idealistic in their thought processes. Their idealism often leads to inner conflict regarding propriety and the proper order of things. They are often accused of worrying too much because their processing may bring up several new concerns.

The Grayed design brings a refinement and a grace to the earth; whenever we see these elements, we slow down and experience life. The Grayed person is meticulous and exhibits a depth of emotion and feeling, a tone which others, at times, may have difficulty following and matching. As a Grayed person shares their perceptions and relives the details of an event, the listener will need to be fully present and willing to explore a range of emotions and thoughts.

We miss a Grayed person when we discount or dismiss too quickly their worries, concerns or processing.      

If your parent or best friend is predominantly Grayed, you may feel at times that you are insensitive or uninterested, unable to stick with the length and complexity of the conversation. You may feel immature or that you have poor manners in social settings. You may feel like an embarrassment to them. You may also feel that you are uninformed or out of touch with important details. Due to the methodical nature of the Grayed design, you may feel impulsive or careless if you make decisions too quickly. Finally, you may feel uncaring because you are unable to follow the complexity of the Grayed person’s worries or processing. 


If you selected sometimes and frequently a large percentage of the time in Section 4 you may be interacting with a predominantly Blackened person.

Worry Too Much; Discount/Dismiss Feelings
You’re in the Way/Not pulling your weight
You can’t get your priorities right
You are Wasteful
Not Good with Money
Forced to do something
Too slow getting things done

The Blackened Design is task driven, meaning that they compartmentalize their schedules and work through their tasks, checking them off their list one by one. They are practical and pragmatic as they focus on completing tasks. Blackened people are tough and rustic. They love the outdoors and enjoy large muscle activities. They hate excuses and pride themselves on getting the job done on time and under budget. They are nurturing, but hate high emotions or dramatic flare-ups. In other words, Blackened people appreciate emotional stability. 

Blackened people are bold and strong but also reasonable and casual. Their strength and stability lends a sense of security and protection. They are conservative and resourceful, even to a fault at times. Their assertive, direct style allows them to be productive and efficient. While they enjoy structure, they are also informal and approachable.

Because Blackened people put tasks over emotions, this can cause conflict and insensitivity in relationships. If you cannot keep up, you may be left feeling weak, irresponsible, lazy, or unproductive. Due to the task centered orientation of the Blackened design, one may be left feeling discounted or dismissed entirely. In addition, you may feel like you’re in the way or not pulling your weight. If you disagree with the task at hand, the Blackened person may make you feel like your priorities are wrong or that you are being irresponsible. Another area of concern has to do with resourcefulness. If you are not frugal, you may feel wasteful or just bad with money. Finally, due to the conservative nature of the Blackened design, one may feel or be accused of being pretentious, flamboyant, or self-absorbed.


It is important as we interact with others that we seek to understand their design n and their central focus as well as having our own understood. When we increase our awareness of what is happening with the people around us we can have more meaningful relationships and interactions—as was mentioned last week, we can appreciate, rather than resent, the strengths and design traits of others. Remember, everyone is a masterpiece. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Conflict and Empathy: Understanding the Other Person’s Design-PART 1

Whether we like it or not, when we interact with other people they often influence the way we think and feel about ourselves. Sometimes as we experience another person’s strengths they unintentionally make us feel like we don’t measure up in some way. For example, someone who is extremely organized and efficient may make us feel like we are extremely un-organized and un-efficient, whether that is actually true or not. As you may have noticed in your life, these feelings can lead to resentment and conflict with that person.  

That is why learning to recognize the designs of others through Human Art is so important. When we are able to understand that person’s design we can identify and comprehend why we feel the way we do around them. As a result we can start appreciating, instead of resenting, that person’s strengths and beauty. 

In the same way, when that person understands our design (or vice-versa, remember we may have the same affect on someone else), they can be aware of how they may be making us feel—which can lead to improved communication, appreciation and understanding of one another. 

Now, think of a specific person in your life. It could be anyone. Someone you have a conflict with, a parent, sibling or spouse, a co-worker, or someone else that you interact with often. Download the attached quiz and answer the questions in all four sections about this person.  Repeat with as many people as you’d like, then check back next week for Part 2 to learn what your answers mean. 

Until then, remember, everyone is a masterpiece! 

Download the Conflict and Empathy Quiz 
(Note: click the download icon on the form to save it to your computer. Open PDF file and you can fill out the quiz on your computer! File can also be printed.) 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Color Trends: Moving from Winter to Spring

Sitting at my desk this morning I was receiving alerts about color trends from companies I work with that predict upcoming fashion trends. I love the theme or feeling they have all communicated this year for moving from winter trends into spring and summer trends.

One thing that is important to understand is these companies carefully think about color and how color trends affect or influence what is going on in the world socially. Some even take a broader view like politics or current events and how they are impacting us in our daily lives and then attempt to balance that theme with colors they select. A lot of thought and psychology goes into it.

As I read each one of these reports they all seemed, to some degree, to touch on how this winter had its fair share of heaviness, even amongst the light moments. Examples might be the constant flood of wars threatening…Shootings...Grief of any kind. So in order to impact us in an effort to balance things out the colors that are being used moving forward have a lightness to them. The thing they all have in common is a peacefulness that runs through your sub-conscious mind and floods your body when you are exposed to them. They bring a lightness that has the ability to balance that heaviness out. Sometimes we are not even aware of what it’s doing for us, other than we are drawn to the color and love how it makes us feel.

When thinking of trends it is important to bring in good colors for that particular time and it is equally important to put them together in great combinations. Here are some to consider:

Sky Blue with a Quiet Gray

The color blue represents the intangible—free movement and free thinking. It promotes positive introspection that leads to inspiring thoughts. It can't be controlled. It has its own system of finding order and it works. Trying to control blue is like trying to fence in the ocean; you can try but it won’t last.

With the blue you add a calming or quiet grey. This can be matte or metallic: matte if you want it more Grayed or Blackened and metallic if you want it Whitened or Saturated. The grey quiets things down. It promotes security in oneself. It's a confidence that cannot be molded as much as it just authentically exists. It's like quick silver. The more you try and squeeze it in your hands, the more it drips through your fingers. But if you let it just be, carefully holding it still in the palm of your hand, it stays as it is in a mass that doesn't change at all.

My suggestion is to make the majority of the outfit in the greys and add the blue as an accent. Bring in small amounts of another color in socks or makeup, or even a tie or scarf.

Quiet Brown or Taupe with a Small Hint of Red (but make the hint count)

The brown represents the core. The core of anything. It is the place or person we all come back to because it makes us feel grounded. It's like a wise old medicine man. It is not forceful or dominating. He has so much to offer as far as wisdom, support, and emotional insights but he doesn't go around selling anything. He patiently waits for you to seek him out, then gives you all he has to offer as far as support and security. This is the feeling brown gives us.

Red is passion and physical activity. It tend to get things moving and gets us moving and can't help but extract our true talents with all that passion it brings when we see it. When you add small doses of red it bring bursts of inspiration and movement, moving things forward in small steps that have big and substantial results and effects.

Some of the best ways to marry the red with the brown is with lipstick, fingernail polish, socks, ties, jewelry or backpacks or bags.

Accent Must Haves

Anything mustard. But with a zest or spice added. So think of how you like your mustard when adding it to a dish. Are you a plain mustard person? Use that color. Do you like jalapeƱo mustard? Use that color. Maybe you are a horseradish person. Then wear that color as an accent. Just depends on how spicy you are feeling that day. Match it to your accessories. 


Another important accent color is a clay color. Think of when you buy pottery; the richer the pottery you like, the richer the colors you will select.  Remember, we want them light feeling. So when you pick them, pick them in more neutral colors for the Grayed design, rich and light for Blackened, light and clear for Whitened, and bright but light for Saturated. Go look at a pottery display or exhibit and look at the variety of colors. This light clay accent is fabulous for shoes, boots, saddles, jackets, sweaters, and is even great for lipstick. Bracelets—men's or women's—are a great way to bring this color on. Be adventurous and wear a clay colored watch or ring.


Have fun with this! You do not need to change your entire wardrobe, but add a few pieces in these colors and it will update the basics that you already have in your closet and help move you forward this spring. Wear what feels good to you. Remember, if you love it when you see it then it is probably your design.  And, as always, remember everyone is a masterpiece. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Valentine Validation: The Love Designs

I remember Valentine’s season in elementary school. I would always look forward to decorating my Valentine’s box. You know, the one that started with the leftover shoe box.

When you were in kindergarten it seemed to be a contest of the kindergarten moms more than the kids to see who had the cutest one (I seriously think that very thing started the evolution that ended in what we now refer to as Pinterest). By the time we got to the fourth grade it was half the moms’ competition and half "Oh just throw something together!” By fifth grade the teacher is doing them in class just to get us to participate and by sixth grade it was a required assignment—some of them even showing up with tin foil around a box with a heart on it; frantically put together in kitchen the night before or even the morning of. For me though, it was a fun thing regardless of the year.

The real magic of the box, though, was bringing it home and running to your room as fast as you could to open it up and see what romantic surprises were inside (Ok, mostly we just wanted to see which ones had candy in them). I, however, was a little different. I would run in, dump them on the floor, and excitedly search to see if there was that one thing I thought would be the measurement of whether it was going to be a good Valentine’s Day or just another day: the conversation hearts.

Every year, there they seemed to be. It wasn't the taste I craved, it was what was on it. If I related to the messages I read, somehow I felt like I would be validated in some way. Phrases like, "cutie pie," or “hug me,” “kiss me,” “be mine”…It seemed like whatever was on those hearts that someone had carefully dropped in my valentine envelope (the ones you can lick all day long and they still won’t seal!) was somehow a message from the universe to me as an indicator of how my Valentine’s Day was going to be defined. Sometimes I would even think that they would even be able to describe how much I was loved that day or even on rare occasions my youth made me think that that one heart had the power to validate my day and the kind of person I was.

Well, they didn't of course, but I do think the people who created those Conversation Hearts were on to something. It wasn't the heart or the message as much as it was that the messages that I got in my envelope really appealed to the way I like receiving expressions of love. In other words, those messages or gifts are said or done in a way that speaks to my authentic self and are in line with the way I truly need to love myself. At Human Art we call it your "Love Design."

When we talk about our “Love Design,” it is not so much the way others give it, but in the way you receive it. Here is an example: My husband, Rod, is Blackened. He is a “get ‘r done” kind of guy. He knows part of my love design is being surprised. He has a habit of sending flowers on special occasions (which I can’t even tell you how much I love that), but he also tries to incorporate that surprise element (and does it so well) because he knows I love that also. He hits the mark so much because he tries to get outside of himself to make it an experience that I would love.

It’s perfect, but even after all these years that “get ‘r done” guy shows up. He just can’t stop himself from buying me something practical like a hammer. When this happens, I might be a little disappointed by the “romance” part of it, while at the same time greatly appreciating the gesture part of it.

The gesture part of it. If we are emotionally healthy and understand intimacy we will get it. In this situation, I would extract any evidence of my “Love Design” being present in the gesture and be grateful for it. I could have latched on to the disappointment in the lack of romance, but instead I found my “Love Design” in how I received it; such as being "surprised" at how much he paid attention to what was broken or needed in the house. What was “broken” is that every time I designed something and wanted to hang it I couldn’t find a hammer and would get so frustrated. This would happen day after day that particular year (you would think after a few times I would remember to get a hammer, but for whatever reason I wouldn't). I was able to feel genuine surprise in the gesture that he paid attention to me day after day; and that was romantic. Not in a flowers and new pretty shoes way, but in a "someone is observant and watching after me” way. So just like I was looking for in the conversation hearts, the message in that hammer gift could validate me and make me feel loved, because I was able to extract my “love design” from his gesture to feel loved in the way I feel it best.

It is what I was searching for in the candy hearts all over again, but this time I know it is not the universe validating me it is myself accepting intimacy and romance from someone who is truly trying to show me. How I feel about it is determined by what evidence I am seeking when I receive it. It is also true that though I found romance in the gesture, I love the flower and pretty new shoe years better! It’s like getting the coveted "I Love You" conversation heart and it’s pink!!!

So this year on Valentine’s Day, recognize it as a two way street. First we try our best to give our valentine (whether it be husband, wife, mother, friend, children, etc.) a gift that is truly in their “Love Design”, and second we make sure we are accepting our valentine expressions from others by finding our “Love Design” in the gesture.

The Love Designs

Saturated: "Wine and Dine"
Hit the mark. The mark is determined by what they deem quality. Whether it be a diamond or time spent with them, that is their quality. Let them deem it, then you quietly provide it without drawing a lot of attention to them. Hit that mark. Let them sneak away and quietly enjoy it. They love when you simply leave it somewhere for them to discover it alone and to take it in with no one watching.

Whitened: “Surprise Party”
Watch them all year and anticipate their needs. Listen to what they say they love, then surprise them with it. They will love it. They are social, so the more friends and loved ones you involve the better. Also the more polka dots the better!  

Grayed: "Romancing the Details"
Think thoroughly before you decide what to do for them. Listen to the details of what makes them truly feel heard. Then don't rush the process. Point out every detail— the more details the better. Then deliver your Valentine expression to them through a process. Explain the story of how you arrived at that expression. Bring them along in the process, it will be more fulfilling to them. Abrupt starts and stops to the experience make it less fulfilling and romantic. They love when you lean into the process with them.

Blackened: “Check it Off”
Just take their to do list, their responsibilities, or whatever needs to get done and do as task for them. It is the best for them. Seriously, take out the garbage or paint a wall. Lift their load by doing a project they need to get done. It is the most romantic thing that you could do for them. The important part is to tell them which task you did and why you did it for them. If you don’t say anything, waiting for them to notice, it just becomes one more thing on their list that they have to do when they have to tell you that they noticed what you did.

Think of it as if we have moved into a grown up version of conversation hearts. When we get the one that resonates with our authentic self it just feels more romantic. Isn’t that the point of Valentine’s Day in the first place? We all want to feel accepted for who we are. We have an innate desire to be loved for who we really are. We have a need to be celebrated for the person we are. We all need a Valentine. It can be a partner, it can be a parent, it can be a friend, it can even be a coworker. It can even come from inside and be from yourself. It is important who it comes from but it is most important to love yourself enough to accept the validation when it comes. Remember, everyone is a masterpiece.