How often have we began a conversation with our family members, colleagues, friends with the goal to discuss, only to have it turn into a debate?
The whole thing just feels like a bullet train wreck – it is out of your hands, it requires a life of its own and people involved become angry, angry and all sorts of unkind words ensue.
There are many factors why this can happen. In this sharing, let’s keep a focus on using language to prevent an explosion.
This is what I teach my clients: Use the word I versus You. Owning our feelings/emotions/behaviour and taking responsibility for the situation.
Whether it’s a work discussion or a discussion regarding relationship and household matters, some form of emotions/feelings will certainly surface. We are humans, and we come in little packages that include all of the good feelings and all the bad feelings. Sometimes, for some of us, our feelings (good or bad) are so hidden and stuck deep inside that they don’t get expressed until a discussion with others ignites a spark within. For some others, we’ve got no control over our emotions that they get sparked anytime and anyplace.
One of the keys to bear in mind if we do not need a discussion to turn into a debate is that we maintain our attention only on ourselves and the words we’re using. This is a certain guarantee.
Nobody likes to be accused of something, even if they did do it! This is just the ego protecting itself and needing to come up tops in each and every human scenario. So if we don’t need to put ourselves in a position where things get volatile, avoid saying YOU too much and more importantly stay away from the blame game!
Take possession of our own feelings/emotions that surface: I feel so sad, I feel so angry etc.. When we say what we are feeling instead of expressing the feeling in a manner that will come across as if we’re using another party as a punching bag, things will explode.
Do you see the difference between saying what you’re feeling versus expressing what you are feeling?
We say, I’m feeling so mad about this circumstance.
If we express this anger, this is the way we could express: Why did this happen? How could something so stupid happen? Why do you do this? How can you let this happen? etc.. .
When we take possession, we’re saying we are accountable for how we feel, and we have to give other people an opportunity to say what they’re feeling too.
I’m feeling so angry about this situation. I am certain that no one intended it to be this way…
I am feeling so angry about this, I’m not sure it wasn’t your intention to hurt me, but I felt quite hurt when I had been talked to this way…
I’m feeling so mad about this, I do not know if they intended to do this on purpose, but I can’t help but feel so angry because the reality isI feel so helpless in this situation…
The thing is using the I word will surely make us more emotionally vulnerable, BUT at the same time, in addition, it helps the other party to see their particular vulnerability.
So the next question a few of us may ask is: what if the other person doesn’t respond in kind but goes in an attack mode while we are being vulnerable? Stay calm and remain in the exact same position of owning feelings/emotions and understand that we have taken the greater stand in this circumstance. One person can’t start an argument, so if we don’t feed it, it is going to die off. A discussion can still occur if both parties have calmed down if not a discussion at another time is the best way forward.
Remember this: Discussions enable us, arguments weaken us.