For example, …(if a person says), “I feel like I can never count on you,” that was a belief — not a feeling. When someone says a belief about you (disguised by “I feel like” or “I feel that”), you will likely begin to feel defensive, frustrated, and hopeless because, in the moment, there is nothing you can do or say to change that person’s belief. The other person will see your defensiveness and feel dismissed or unheard. Both of you will feel hurt and disconnected, and emotional intimacy is weakened.
However, “I feel insecure” or “I feel hurt” are authentic feeling statements that you can hear and validate. You will likely feel regret that your actions have caused these feelings and will probably express sorrow over the ways you have hurt the other person. As the other person hears you validating his/her feelings (“I can understand why you would feel that way”) and expressing regret (“I’m so sorry I let you down”), he/she feels heard and valued. Emotional intimacy is strengthened.
–Melissa Haas, Emotions 101
See last week’s blog on the IFAB Statements: “I Feel… About… Because…”