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I am whatever YOU think I am until YOU get to KNOW me. This is true for everyone else too, of course.. so don't make assumptions about anyone or pass judgment; ask questions. You might just make a new friend.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

¿HAVE YOU EVER?


Have you ever heard someone start a sentence with "I feel...", but then include no "feeling word" in the sentence? (For example, "I feel we ought to go to the movies.") They might say, "I think we ought to go to the movies." or "I feel inclined to go to the movies." or "I want to go to the movies." However, what is the emotion in the first sentence? Unfortunately, many parents do not know how to model and name feelings for their children; and our society and institutions mirror that lack; and herein lies the disconnect between most of humanity and their emotional life! When people with unhealthy emotional boundaries communicate, they say things like YOU MADE ME FEEL ANGRY! or YOU MAKE ME SICK! or YOU MAKE ME SO HAPPY. They have BAD BOUNDARIES, and regardless of how they feel, can try to hold others responsible for their emotions. Healthy communicators say things like I FEEL ANGRY WHEN…or I FEEL SICK WHEN…or I AM SO HAPPY WHEN…They simply describe how they feel, but DO NOT hold others responsible for it. Now it is OK for each one of us to feel the whole range of our emotions - to feel any feeling - but its how those feelings motivate our behavior that really matters. In addition, we have the mistaken idea in our culture that when someone shares their feelings, behaviors must change. We do not act as though it is OK to hear HOW someone feels, and just stop there. Many of us are afraid that if we do not change our behavior in response to another’s feeling, he OR she will stop liking/loving us. In general (as a society), we are so uncomfortable with feelings, that we will try to shut the other person up, or change our behavior (if they whine and we feel compelled to), instead of simply creating a safe space for their soul, and having that be enough.

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