Communication Tips: Part 2
Communication Tips: This is the second of a six part series on Communication
- When in Conflict
- Expressing Emotion
- Engaging your Spouse
- Engaging your teen
- Establishing Boundaries
- Saying sorry – accepting responsibility for your actions
Communication Tips Part Two: Expressing Emotion
How many times have you skipped through your day with the energy of happiness? You know what I mean, saying hello to strangers, doing something nice for someone, singing in your car.
We all have had this from time to time depending upon events or circumstances in our lives. A new job, a job well done, pride in a loved one’s achievement, a great relationship, a scratch and win. All good stuff that impacts us in a positive way.
Consequently how many times have you stumbled through your day with the anchor of anger, upset or sadness? You know what I mean, clinching your teeth, avoiding people, cursing in your car.
We all have had this from time to time given the stresses of life. Complicated relationships, conflict, STRESS. All things that impact us in a negative way.
Emotions are powerful forces in our lives.
For the positive emotions, people generally can express them openly. It seems relatively easy with the energy that happiness carries for example.
For negative emotions however, expressing them freely is not so simple. Perhaps it is a fear of confrontation, embarrassment, potential relationship damage, hurting others close, feeling unsafe, unimportant, the list goes on.
Some people think that expression of negative emotion is a risk not worth taking. They internalize and try to manage on their own. However leaving intense emotions locked inside is detrimental to your health as it will impact upon your body via stress i.e., high blood pressure, anxiety, headaches etc.
Some people will not think, rather they will react to their anger with outbursts, agitation with others, blame, sarcasm and on and on and on. The result of reacting in anger can be increased conflict and even more stress.
So then what in the heck do we do with negative emotion??????
Try the “CRIE” approach outlined below.
Step one: Calm
The first step in expressing emotion is preparing yourself to express yourself in a healthy and non attacking way. In order to prepare yourself, you need to calm via self care mechanisms i.e., working out, walking, journaling, yoga, music, consulting someone you trust, whatever it takes to calm you.
Immediately reacting with anger, sadness, rejection etc as the energy behind you will not result in a positive outcome. You need to reflect on your upset and why it is so powerful for you. It is only then can you present it to the person or persons involved
Step two: Inform
Inform those around you that there is an issue important enough to raise with them. You need to make sure they understand the discussion has to be free from interruption i.e., phone, text, people dropping in. The time and place needs to be set in order to provide the atmosphere needed to express what you need to with that person or persons.
Step three: Express/Educate
It is vital to understand that expressing emotion is not complaining or accusing. It is communicating what you feel and why. You want the person or persons involved to understand you and the only way to do that is to help them “get it.”
A good way to begin the discussion is outlined in the example below:
“This is important to me and please understand I am not trying to fight or argue with you, I just need you to know how I feel.”
This type of introduction may ease the other person or persons before the discussion begins.
Some examples of positive expression are found below:
- “When you made fun of me at dinner, I was embarrassed and then I got mad. Do you understand how I would feel that way?”
- “I was really hurt when you said my opinion did not matter, do you really feel that way?”
These examples illustrate your feeling along with the reason for that feeling. The hope is that the other person will understand and respond accordingly. However, if there is a negative response to your discussion, you will need to apply some of the techniques from our first Communication Tip around CONFLICT.
Expressing yourself to a support about something unrelated to them:
- “Losing my dad is very difficult and I don’t know what to do or where to go, I need your help.”
- “I’m going through something right now that is hard to explain. I only know that I am edgy, sad and tearful. I need your support so please know it is not you or the kids, I just need some time.”
When people understand and are informed, they are more open to helping or giving you what you need.
So there you have it in a nutshell, the importance of expressing emotion. We hope this little tip will help in acknowledging your emotion and the importance of expressing yourself to others.
NOTE: re-read the ten steps of confrontation found in the first part of this series entitled: When in Conflict. It may help you in expressing emotion to others.
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