Here’s a simple test of our emotional intelligence. Can you sense and feel…what is common with these thoughts? They all seem to be what we all think, but there is a hidden truth in these statements and a hidden key. What could it be? Make a note of these thoughts in yourself and catch it if they occur.
You hurt me
This is boring
He doesn’t listen to me
It’s so hard for me.
Things always go wrong for me.
This always happens to me.
It’s so hard for me.
My life is such a struggle.
Why me? Why does this happen to me?
I can’t really trust others.
You just don’t understand.
It’s so hard for me.
If only he is more patient and understanding.
If only he/she is more faithful.
Its all because of my childhood and my parents.
All these thoughts are ‘victim’ statements, it assumes an inflictor and gives control to the inflicter and assumes that till the inflictor changes, the situation will not change. And even if it might be true that there is an ‘inflicter’ in truth, most of our emotional health gets upset because of the fact that we focus on the ‘infliction’ and the ‘perpetrator’ and thereby our victimhood and our helplessness. Once we get into a victim state, our unconscious tendency is to believe truly that we are helpless and refuse to do anything powerful even if we could. Keeping a good state of mind and respond to it in a way that empowers the situation becomes difficult in a victim state of mind.
The moment we blame, people become defensive and will resist changing and will make it worse for us. The moment we blame, we stop acting on it with what you could, to change the situation. The moment we blame, the situation becomes more prone to worsening than making it better for both parties. The same holds good, even if we blame our ‘genes’ or the system or the government.
Let us now try out some alternate thoughts…they are all statements which are OPEN tending to dig into our inner wisdom to draw out alternate thoughts and responses which might empower us to act within our circle of control and influence. And they have the power to bust our multiplying negative thoughts and help us stay serene. These simple alternate thoughts if chosen with consideration, can prove to be powerful.
These thoughts can let us accept people and situations as they are and focus more on what we can do in a given situation. We can then stop wasting our energy in complaining and holding others responsible for our misery. It enables powerful self-responsibility in all situations come what may, yet its all so simple and easy. Here is how you could change your language. First step is to catch yourself using ‘victim’ or ‘blame’ statements and then to change them in your own mind at the least. As you keep doing this, your language in your communication will begin to be automatically empowered instead of blaming.
1. Acknowledge and accept your feelings.
2. Use ‘I feel hurt’ , instead of ‘I am hurt’ or worse ‘you hurt me’.
3. try not to focus on the assumed cause of your feelings
4. Enable empowering the situation, changing the situation.
5. Assert yourself, express how you feel so others know but do not blame or give responsibility or power to others over you. When you say you are responsible for your feelings and yet you want to protect your boundaries, there is no greater power that you could assert over the situation.
6. Express your feelings and make sure you give others space to modify their behaviour if they can and if they want to.
7. Ask people questions that opens them up to think and do what they can to change the situation. Avoid making people jump to the defensive.
8. Use ‘I wonder’ or ‘ I am curious’ self-talk to know and acknowledge your feelings to yourself.
9. Ask questions to yourself and others, starting from ‘how’ or ‘what’ instead of ‘why’.
10. Influence others, try not to control others. Accept others, try not to expect from others.
Here are some examples
You are not listening to me
( I wonder how I can communicate effectively)
This is boring to read or do.
( I wonder how can I make this interesting )
You hurt my feelings.
( I wonder how I can gently assert my boundaries to this person. I wonder how I can evoke kindness and see this person with love. )
Can you believe what she did to me?
( I am curious to see what are the feelings that are passing through me. How can I straighten this situation for myself. )
If you straightened up your act, we could get along.
( I wonder what I can do to get along. )
I want an apology.
( I am curious to know what is the feeling that passes through me. I wonder what I can do to express my boundaries to her and feel different ).
I want her to acknowledge that what she did to me was wrong.
( I am curious to know how I feel. I wonder how I can let go of wanting to control her behavior and influence my own.)
I am sick and tired of .…
( I wonder what is there in it that can make me love it or see some joy in it. I wonder what I can do to influence the situation. I wonder if there is an opportunity hidden here? )
I don’t appreciate that.
( I wonder what I am missing to see that I can appreciate.)
I don’t have enough time.
( I wonder how I can manage my time better )
When you do that, it just drives me nuts.
( I wonder what that can tell about ME. I wonder what about it is actually useful for me in someway ).
I can’t help it–it’s just the way I am.
( I wonder what next step I can take NOW, to keep changing the way I am. )
If only he/she would/wouldn’t
( I wonder what I can do about it to ease the situation )
It’s all his/her fault.
( I wonder now what is the right thing I can do )
If only he is more patient
( I wonder how can I be happy even if he is impatient )
Enjoy and take care,