Successful sharing of feelings forms a large part of connection and loving; it is central to maintaining a good relationship. Without taking the risk of being open about our feelings, relationships can become stale. Some people’s feelings flow easily; showing them seems less natural for others. (Extrovert and Introvert)
Feelings, whether negative or positive, are best expressed in single words (or multiples of single words). While mutual understanding of opinions and thoughts is very necessary, feelings expressed in single words, offer direct connection. Describing a situation or explaining does not reveal your feelings so directly:
Description and Explanation
Expression of Feelings
The children’s behaviour would make anyone angry.
Right now I am irritated and cross.
Having sex is good for us.
I feel relieved, warm, secure.
That boss of mine should have been strangled at birth!
I am full of powerlessness and rage.
Feelings must be received properly in order for connection to be complete. Receiving involves two forms of voiced empathy:
I really hear that sometimes, because of me, you feel “wounded and numb”.
So you feel “loving” towards me.
After all that happened with mother I guess you now feel hurt and raw?
I imagine you often feel a bit lonely?
Note the question marks – If you are guessing, don’t tell people how they feel, ask them.
Here are some feeling words that might help those who find that sharing emotions does not so come naturally.
Beware of provocative words: “disrespected”, “misunderstood”, “bullied”; they often end in ed and are polluted with your opinion of the other person. Similarly, “loved”, “appreciated” and “understood” are important and positive but try also to search for the feeling that being “appreciated” etc brings about within you, it might be “secure“, “warm“, or “safe”.
When a feeling has been sent and received properly we are in close connection; this is a piece of intimacy.
With thanks to Getting the Love You Want By H Hendrix,
Staying Together by S Quilliam,
On Becoming a Person by C Rogers
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