So, I assume you don’t feel your family is perfect. Me either, but as promised, I wanted to share a tool that can help you and your family work through those “less than perfect” times. Like any project (and sometimes I feel like my family is one), having the right tools can make the process experience feel a lot easier. A lot of our dysfunction and craziness in our family relationships come when we feel blamed. When I feel blamed, I feel attacked and feel pressure to own something that may or may not be my fault. I don’t know about you, but I don’t respond well to that, and I end up being defensive or withdrawing and making the situation worse. After we learned this tool many years ago during a counseling session, we have been able to navigate a lot of circumstances that previously derailed our family.
So here it is….
When overwhelmed by the need to express often intense feelings or emotion to another person, we use…
I feel _____ about ______ because _______.
What does that look like in a short example?
I FEEL frustrated ABOUT your work schedule BECAUSE we become disconnected and I really enjoy spending time with you.
Using I feel _____ about ______ because _______ allows us to accurately express our specific feeling, the central issue, and why it bothers us without making the other person the focal point. It also sounds better than “I’m tired of you being late from work. Your dinner is in the microwave”. Yikes!
What I love about this tool is that it invites the other person to be a part of the solution (even if they were part of the problem) without attacking, pointing fingers, and making rash emotional judgments based on our own hurt.
Using I feel _____ about ______ because _______ doesn’t always have to be in a negative situation! Actually, it is a fantastic tool to express great joy and excitement when engaging another person.
I FEEL excited ABOUT our family vacation to Disney BECAUSE we will make great memories with our kids!
Whether it is a good moment, or a tense one, this tool can really be helpful in communicating within all your relationships. Give it a try and let us know how it goes!
Do you have a story where you used this? Share it with us on FB or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.