Talking about our feelings can be tough stuff! Our Psychologist (Provisional) Erica Kovach has some helpful information to make it a bit easier.
Expert Tips for Talking About Feelings Part 1
Communicating about our feelings is a skill that takes practice! And sometimes our best attempts fall short of being helpful. I hear a lot of people describing feelings in ways that contain some unintended pitfalls. In this series of posts, I will share some specific communication pitfalls, and options for ways to avoid them.
Common way to bring up feelings: “I can just tell you are angry with me!”
Can you tell what pitfall we can run into here? It’s mind reading; assuming we know someone’s internal experience. We are both projecting our own interpretation on to them, and potentially reducing someone else’s complex experience to something oversimplified. When talking with another adult, unless that person has clearly communicated this is their reality, you may want to try these alternatives:
Identify a behavior and check-in about its meaning: “I’ve noticed you have been acting (quiet, distant, short) around me lately, and I want to check in about what you’re feeling.”
Share what you know for sure, which is your personal experience: “I’ve been feeling anxious since last night and have been telling myself you’re angry at me for (x, y, z). Is that true? If so, can we talk about it?”
Little changes like checking-in about assumptions and sharing our own experience will improve the likelihood of a productive conversation about feelings. If you are struggling with communicating your feelings, this is something a counsellor can help you with!
Thank you so much, Erica. Great info 🙂
Erica would love to work with you. She works with Adults and Youth 16+.
Cheers to GREAT communication,