To live healthfully and seek emotional healing, it is often necessary to express yourself, however expressing your feeling properly requires some care.
Message you send to others around you extend beyond verbal conversations. In fact, body language often represents most of messages communicated. We often discern someone’s feeling through face, eye contacts and gestures. Certain looks may quickly silence you or arouse your emotions. For example, you can easily see from people’s eye whether they’re smiling sincerely. Our inner states is written all over our faces and often also expressed through crossed arms, tense shoulders and frown. You should be aware that we can communicate through behaviors and actions. We may also convey messages through indirect actions, for example, working overtime instead of taking your spouse out for an anniversary dinner, cooking a meal you spouse doesn’t enjoy and “forgetting” to do something you were asked to do.
In these situations, you should accurately analyze what others could say to you through both verbal and nonverbal communications. Think about what it would be like if the problem is resolved with different behavior and actions. Once you’ve found the perfect solution, work to achieve that aim. You should discuss the problem directly, consensually and openly.
Words can both build and destroy. Verbal abuses may be cause emotional wounds that heal far longer than physical wounds. Every word that we say contains emotional connotations and we develop unique associations to environment. For you, the word “work” may mean achievement and fulfillment, but others may consider it as drudgery and boredom.
These are examples on how words are used negatively:
• Criticize others: “Why you never speak intelligently? You’re just unbelievably stupid!”
• Counter attack: “How could you do this to me? You’re thoughtless!”
• Cause guilt: If you really love me: You’d visit me at least each week, like a good son!”
• Blackmail: “I work all day just to keep the house clean, if you won’t do as I say, no one gets dinner today”
• Sarcasm: “Ah, you really do such a good job today even I don’t have clean socks for work.
Positive uses of words:
• Let people express themselves: You shouldn’t interrupt others and assume that you can easily understand what others have to say.
• Show empathy on others’ perspective: You words should contain understanding on others’ thoughts and situations.
• Show respect: You may not agree to others’ opinion, but you should use proper words to respectfully disagree on certain subject.
• Express your feeling in a good way: You should express your feeling in the first-person sentence, for example, instead of saying “you make me so furious”, say “I feel angry each time you do that”.
• Seek solutions: Make specific requests, for example, “I would appreciate it if you do this each day”. You can also use words to ask others for their opinions, which can help to refine your solutions. If you and others have a disagreement on a solution, seek common grounds or alternate solutions that can benefit everyone.
• Send clear messages: Never contradict yourself when saying the next sentence. You should avoid generalities and try to be specific.
Expressing yourself without using anger
Anger happens naturally, however it can cause problems and make everyone feels uncomfortable:
• Some people think that it is wrong to feel angry and try to suppress it; as the result anger can be diverted inward and cause depression.
• Some people have no control over anger, which can frighten and turn away everyone.
Anger can arise when things don’t happen according to your expectations. Words like “ought to”, “must” and “should” may indicate anger. Based on the object, you can angry with:
• Yourself: Many times we don’t come up with our own standards.
• Others: It may happen when others fail to do something according to your expectation or someone do something bad to you unexpectedly.
• Life: Your toaster may be broken, morning traffic may crawl to a halt and your boss may give you a hard time at work.
Anger may arise due to a threat to emotional or physical security, it is necessary to acknowledge the problem and prevent it from overwhelming you. You need to replace words such as “ought to”, “must” and “should” with “I would prefer”. Such as:
• “I would like to come up with standards that I have set, but I will accept it if I fail despite my best efforts”
• “I would prefer that my employees did what I asked them to do, but I will manage if they fail despite their best efforts”
• “I would prefer that my life will work smoothly, but I will survive if things are not so perfect”
The most important word in these sentences is “will”, that ensures you will accept imperfections.
Responding to others’ anger
Managing to others’ anger requires composure and calmness. You will find that compassion is easier to achieve if you understand things that happen beneath the anger.
You can solve conflicts peacefully, by using these approaches:
• Acknowledge what you value most in a relationship or in a person: You should find things that you appreciate in a person and say this during a conflict, for example “I appreciate your concern, but it would be better if…”
• Don’t assume that it is easy to determine what others will do or say.
• Treat others appropriately: How you treat others is what they’ll become. If you interact with people as if they are inconsiderate, stupid and frightening, you may reinforce those behaviors.
• Always consider how others may be feeling: You need to not only listen to what they say, but also to the messages and emotions that underlie the sentences. Although the person appears to be aggressive, he may be vulnerable and hurt inside.
• Acknowledge correct statements: You shouldn’t pretend you’re right if you aren’t and don’t get defensive for wrong things, it isn’t worth it.
• Probe for information gently: The person may have so many pent-up pressures and his anger is not really directed at you. Perhaps, things have just gotten really wrong for him and unfortunately, you happen to be the nearest person at that time.
• Ask for relevant questions: When you talk to an angered person, you should ask relevant questions, but they shouldn’t be related to the problem directly. If asked properly, these questions can defuse anger by diverting focus.