Don’t focus on just the objective facts. Feelings have to be part of the conversation.
At the same time, having them explode is problematic. They should not be bottled up.
Unexpressed feelings block our ability to listen. They distract us while listening.
Unexpressed feelings can lead to low self-esteem. We wish we would stick up for ourself.
Relationships are about feelings. Not expressing them makes the relationship hard.
Find Your Feelings: Learn Where Feelings Hide
Explore Your Emotional Footprint
Many of us grow up with rules or traditions about which emotion is OK to have and which isn’t. These may not be explicit. Just stuff you picked up.
Which emotions do you find easy to express? Which are difficult? Maybe you try not to feel anger? Or suppress/ignore guilt?
Emotional themes are different in different relationships. As are the emotions you are willing to express.
Accept That Feelings Are Normal/Natural
They are not a deficiency.
Good People Can Have Bad Feelings
Example: You may feel rage instead of sadness at a funeral.
Your Feelings Are As Important As Theirs
Don’t put their feelings above yours. If you do, friends and others will notice and manipulate you. Do not signal that your feelings are secondary.
Find The Bundle of Feelings Behind The Simple Labels
One emotion may overpower the others. Untangle and look at all of them.
Some feelings are below:
|Love||Affectionate, caring, close, proud, passionate|
|Anger||Frustrated, exasperated, enraged, indignant|
|Hurt||Let down, betrayed, disappointed, needy|
|Shame||Embarrassed, guilty, regretful, humiliated, self-loathing|
|Fear||Anxious, terrified, worried, obsessed, suspicious|
|Self-Doubt||Inadequate, unworthy, inept, unmotivated|
|Joy||Happy, enthusiastic, full, elated, content|
|Sadness||Bereft, wistful, joyless, depressed|
|Jealousy||Envious, selfish, covetous, anguished, yearning|
|Gratitude||Appreciative, thankful, relieved, admiring|
|Loneliness||Desolate, abandoned, empty, longing|
Ding The Feelings Lurking Under Attributions, Judgments and Accusations
Attributions, judgments, and accusations aren’t feelings. Often after the contributions discussion, we feel a void and fill it with blame. What we need to do is fill it with our feelings.
Don’t Treat Feelings As Gospel: Negotiate With Them
- Rule #2: Get all your feelings into the conversation.
- Rule #1: Negotiate with your feelings.
Our initial feelings exist. But mentally explore the story - yours, theirs, etc. What is the story missing? Usually your feelings will change as a result. This is part of the negotiation.
Consider your assumptions about the other person’s intentions.
Consider your contribution to the problem. Can we describe the other’s without blaming?
This is all hypothesizing. But it may change your feelings.
Don’t Vent: Describe Feelings Carefully
1. Frame Feelings Back Into The Problem
Step 1: Realize the feelings are important. And they do not need to be rational. It is OK to be embarassed by them.
2. Express The Full Spectrum Of Your Feelings
You can and should express the positive feelings as well!