So this is the final step folks, the final frontier. Just a couple of pointers and then you are ready to go forth and express yourself. Remember the first two steps: 1. Identify how you feel and 2. Decide if you want to express that feeling(s). The final step, step 3, is the actual expression of that feeling(s). Here are 10 points to consider to make the expression of your feelings as affective as possible.
1.Frequency: Often I hear “I don’t want to be the person who never shuts up…” You do not need to tell someone every little thing that you feel, all of the time, but you do need to tell them some of the time.
2.Importance: Decide if this is important enough to say something about. Have you felt this way with this person more than once before? Do you feel strongly about this?
3.Precedent: It may not be that what you have to express is so important but more that the timing is right. You want to change the nature of a relationship you already have. Or you are beginning a new relationship and in your past romantic relationships or business relationships you have not been direct about how you feel and now you would like to be.
4.The Right Time: Picking the time to express yourself is empowering. However, if you suspect that it may be difficult for you and the other person, you might want to ask them when they have time to speak. Other times it may be most helpful to wait until the situation arises again and then express yourself in the moment.
5.Danger Zone: It never really works out all that well to speak to someone early in the morning, late at night, when they are sick, extremely tired or feeling very overwhelmed.
6.Living in this world: All this preparation is great but the truth is sometimes you need to express yourself and the ideal time may not present itself. Be gentle. Go for it.
7.Goal: Consider the goal of your expression.
a)Sometimes you want to express your feelings only because you need to get them off your chest. “Suzie you need to be on time. Next time you are late you are fired”.
b)Other times you want to express your feelings because you really want the other person to hear and understand how you feel. Ex: “Suzie you have been late the last 3 out of 4 times that you have babysat for us. This makes us late. It makes us not trust you even though we really like how you take care of our children.”
c)Sometimes you want both. Ex: “Suzy you have been late 3 out 4 times this past month. This is making it hard for us to utilize your services. Is there something going on? Is there something that you and I could do differently that might help you get here on time?”
d)Sometimes you are done!: “Suzy your fired.”
8.Be specific: I have been angry at you for the last 4 days does not tell the person much about why. Give an example of something that they have done that has made you feel angry.
9.Be gentle: You can be clear, firm and gentle all at the same time when telling someone how you feel. If you are telling someone that you are angry about something that does not mean that you have to act angry at them while you are telling them, be mean, or raise your voice.
10.Go no further: Sometimes you do not want to express your feelings to the person you are feeling them about. Express them to a friend, draw, paint, write your feelings. If they are really intense try engaging in some physical activity: running, walking, hiking, sports, yoga, dance, etc. I find the more aerobic the better. Feelings carry a lot of energy when you expend your own physical energy it helps to expend the emotional energy as well.
Alright folks, that’s it, you are ready to express yourselves. And boy am I glad to be done writing about it. Similar to how it feels after you have expressed yourself. You are glad to be done with it and let it go. And you can because you took care of your business. You expressed yourself and now its time to get on with the next moment in your life and have some darn fun while you are at it! As always, make your way gently in this world, with yourself and others.
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Psychobabble4u signing off:)
(c) Cori Grachek,: February, 2010
If you have any questions about therapy, are interested in therapy or just have a more private thought or question that you would like to share with me I can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
**This is not and can never be a replacement for therapy