Feelings Conversation Tips and Strategies
Find Your Feelings: Learn Where Feelings Hide
- Explore your emotional footprint.
- How did you your family handle emotions?
- What feelings weren’t allowed when you were growing up?
- Which feelings were easily expressed?
- What was your role in the emotional life of the family?
- What emotions do you now find easy to acknowledge and express and with whom?
- Which do you find more difficult?
- Accept that feelings are normal and natural.
- Recognize that good people can have bad feelings.
- Recognize that their feelings are as important as yours and yours are important as theirs.
- Find the bundle of feelings behind simple labels
|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|
|Gratitude||Appreciative, thankful, relieved, admiring|
|Loneliness||Desolate, abandoned, empty, longing|
- Attributions and judgments can be all consuming, so find the feelings behind them. Saying, “I feel hurt when…” carries much less weight than:
- Judgment: If they weren’t __________, they would listen better.
- Attribution: Why were you trying to hurt me?
- Characterization: You’re just so inconsiderate.
- Problem-Solving: The answer is for you is to get your homework done.
Don’t Treat Feelings As Gospel: Negotiate with Them
- Negotiate with your feelings: Look at the thoughts behind them and decide if they really make sense. Our thoughts about our feelings can change the feelings.
- Don’t just vent: Describe feelings carefully and accurately.
- Don’t evaluate, just share.
- Express without judging or attributing blame.
- Don’t monopolize: Both sides can have strong feelings at the same time.
- Remember to say “I feel…” It avoids judging or accusing.
- Be sure to acknowledge other’s feelings.
- Don’t just hear them and then jump right into problem solving.
- Sometimes feelings are all that matter.
- Misunderstood or undisclosed feelings can sometimes be the only thing that is making a conversation difficult.
- Sometimes there is a lot of relationship or job related work to do that still has to go on. Even so, communicating effectively—about feelings or the problem—will be critical.