Communication 101 for Daughters and Mothers – #9 Share How You Feel (eek!)

By Val Boyko • October 28th, 2011

One of the toughest communication skills from Dr Susan Campbell is to  “Speak our pain without blame”.

Sharing how we feel is a very vulnerable place for most of us. We are revealing our true selves, without knowing how the other person will respond. When we share how we feel we open our heart.

sharing feelingsEven although it can be a scary place to be, sharing how we feel with someone also brings intimacy and heart to heart connection.

Through vulnerability we are able to access more love and connection.

It takes courage to share how we feel.

Which may be exactly the opposite of what we learned growing up.

If we are told as a child not to be a cry baby, or to be a strong little girl, we learn to suppress our feelings and think its being brave! I know that suppressing feelings is the opposite of being brave. It causes us to contract rather than open up, and withdraw from others rather than truly connect.

Like any new learning, it take practice to become competent!  A good place to start is to practice using these words from Susan Campbell:

“Hearing you say that I feel…..”

Here are some “feeling” examples: sad-disappointed-mad-happy-appreciative-resentful-hurt-upset-furious-afraid-curious-awed-impatient-angry……

Using this phrase means you are taking responsibility for how you feel, rather than reacting and telling the other person how they should be. You are sharing your pain without blame. You are expressing your true self in that your heart

You can also use this phrase when you feel happy, appreciative or good about something. Its a step forward in expressing your true self.

Val’s Comment: “Be careful in using words that sound like feelings, but are actually thoughts based on how we interpret the other person’s words. For example: I feel ….. put down, ignored, misunderstood, neglected, cornered, cheated, let down…… Can you see how the focus is on the other person rather than owning your own feelings? It puts the other person on the defensive. If you want to explore more then I really recommend the book “Saying What’s Real” by Susan Campbell and “Non Violent Communication” by Marshall B. Rosenberg.


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  • COMMUNICATION QUIZ - Can You Make These Statements?

    Ask yourself if you make any of the following 15 statements. Find out if you are expressing yourself fully and are communicating with openness and presence.
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