I wrote down three things I am grateful for this morning.
I feel happy.
I ate breakfast.
I spoke lovelies to my partner.
I have MOD II of III for iPEC© training. I am super excited and looking forward to breaking some serious ground for myself. I am even more excited that I planned Monday to be a beach day. I am living life completely different ever since I began this coaching program back in July.
These are all “I” statements but not the ones I wanted to speak on.
Visualize with me. You have a situation that didn’t pan out warm and fuzzy. You acted on your emotions when you got into a heated discussion with someone. Think of what that person looks like and who they are. What did you feel? What emotions came up for you? Under what pretenses did you say what you say? What unspoken communication did you opt for? Hold onto these thoughts and consider your responses for later in this article. For now, something amusing and relate-able.
There was a relationship niche webinar for school which I attended last week and I still feel laughter waiting to bubble up. What the trainer shared was a snippet of their coaching session. They recounted an early client case involving a couple. Ground rules were established to use “I” statements communicating dissatisfaction with the client’s partner’s behavior rather than their character. The client says to their partner, “You are a jerk for not taking out the trash.” The coach said, “Please reframe that in the form of an ‘I’ statement and remember to comment on their behavior rather than their character.” Client says, “I feel like you are a jerk for not taking out the trash.” Unbeknownst to everyone in attendance of the webinar, I burst out laughing and it felt great. I really appreciate the story the trainer shared and it really spoke to me because I have done the exact same thing that client had done! I do that all the time: attack someone’s character and place the blame on them for getting me in my feelings.
The order of operations that we are taught is to immediately react and if the other person doesn’t acquiesce to our dissatisfaction or unspoken communication, we want to cut ties. Well, what if I asked you what brought you to feel the way you do? What emotions are coming up for you when in the heat of the moment? What is really pushing your buttons here? Get ready to retrieve your visualization from earlier.
A couple I coached when I first started would point fingers and place blame and state that the other person is doing ‘this’ instead of doing ‘that’ because ‘that over there.’ I ask, “How do you know this is true?” Sometimes, we do not realize that we are ignoring what is right in front of our face: we do not actually know because we do not ask. Recall what you envisioned early on in this article. Consider applying this procedure and re-envision how the interaction turns out:
- Reframe your thought and speak it into existence: When ______________ happens, I feel _________________________.
- I would like more/ less of(less / more of) ________________________ from you because __________________.
General ground rules can be openly discussed and there is absolutely no shame in communicating expectations. Having expectations is normal and being attached to outcomes of those expectations not being met is what we have all experienced; it is not a comfortable place to be in and it is completely understandable why you may be feeling disappointment and frustration.
When it boils down to it, what could YOU be doing more of and what could you be doing less of? What is it costing you to ignore, blame or cut off another person? Using “I” statements and emphasizing a behavior you or another as being a block for you can shift your perspective and see what is actually going on.