Use positive language in your relationships…
“Feelings, nothing more than feelings.” Anyone remember that old Morris Albert song?! Fortunately or unfortunately, it is burned into my soul! I confess that, back in the day, I used to sing this song out loud at the top of my lungs on a regular basis.
This past Sunday I had so much fun teaching about the importance of expressing feelings in our relationships to a group of 20 engaged couples in San Francisco at Reality SF. I’d like to welcome all of these couples to this New Roads email community. I encouraged each couple to build a foundation of kind, respectful, and positive communication in their relationship that far outweighs anything negative. One way to do this is to practice the “I feel” statement every day until it becomes second nature. I use this “I feel” statement in my marriage because it works!
The “I feel” statement is the secret sauce to any relationship…
I encourage you to use this “I feel” statement much like an actor uses a script. At first, an actor reads from the script at the initial table read, then carries the script around during rehearsals, and eventually leaves the script off stage as she simply becomes the character. In other words, build this practice into your character.
Practice “I feel” every day for 30 days…
Practice this script for 30 days and watch how it transforms your relationships. Be sure to use the active listening part of the script to reflect back the feelings of the other person. Check in with me throughout the next 30 days and let me know how you are doing with this challenge. Have fun with it and remember you can share positive feelings too!
I feel ____________________.
(Name the feeling/emotion – sad, angry, frustrated, disappointed…)
I feel this way when ____________________.
(Describe what the other person is or isn’t doing to make you feel this way)
I feel this way because I think _____________________.
My hope inside my control OR for myself is ____________________.
(Wants/Desires—Within my control)
My hope outside my control OR my hope for you is ____________________.
(Wants/Desires—Outside my control)
Example: I feel frustrated. I feel this way when you come home late from work without letting me know you are going to be late. I feel this way because I think you do not value time with me. My hope for myself is that I would have patience with you and appreciate you for working so hard. My hope for you is that you would set better boundaries with your employer and come home at a consistent time every day.
Reflective Listening (this is how you answer the I feel statement):
I hear you feel ____________________.
You feel this way when ____________________.
You feel this way because you think ____________________.
What you hope for yourself is ____________________.
What you hope for me is ____________________.
If you want to listen to a legit, non cheesy version of Feelings check this Sarah Vaughn version of it: