Oh for a life of sensations rather than of thoughts! — John Keats
LINKING FEELINGS TO EXPERIENCE
Now that you have described and interpreted a behavior you’ve observed, keeping in mind to eliminate judgment from both steps, the next thing you’re going to do is to identify how you’re feeling as the result of the behavior and your interpretation of the behavior. Remember, it is your interpretation of the behavior that is creating how you feel. We choose how we perceive certain events, and if this is true, it stands to reason that we also choose, then, how we respond emotionally. By keeping out judgment, and by describing your feelings, you are creating a non-defensive communication environment. You are acknowledging to your partner that she or he has an impact on you, but you are taking responsibility for how you perceive and respond to your partner.
What You’ve Said So Far: I noticed you watching that woman as she walked by and then you just commented on what nice legs she has. When you watched her, and then when you commented on her legs, I assumed that you were feeling attracted to her.
Step Three: Linking Your Feelings. Now that you have set up the situation, describing to your partner the when (“when you did such and such” ) and the what (the behavior) and the why (your interpretation), it is time to share with your partner how you’re feeling about what took place. Before you begin this process, you will want to honor yourself and your feelings by taking the time to search your heart and listen to your own voice; if you listen respectfully, your heart will tell you how you feel.
“I felt insecure and sad, because I’ve been feeling unattractive lately. I felt scared that I might be losing you to someone you find more attractive.”
Observe: You’re not pulling any punches. This is a painful, deep, essence-level disclosure about your deepest feelings—and as such, this is a relationship builder of the highest sort. This time, you’re guarding against judging yourself. Your feelings are your facts: no apologies necessary (“I know I shouldn’t feel this way,” for instance, is judgmental and does not honor your essence).
A CONSCIOUS LIVING PRACTICE FOR TODAY – DECEMBER 8
Practice identifying your core feelings. You’ll find yourself going through layers (anger, resentment) to get to the essence (fear, insecurity, abandonment). Allow yourself to go all the way down into the depths of the how: how you feel.
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