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Now that you’ve identified what you’ve seen or heard (what you’re responding to), let’s focus on what’s driving the situation. If you want to share something, there’s a reason for that. You probably are upset or concerned about something, or confused or impatient, or maybe even disappointed or hurt. You could also be excited or grateful.

Knowing how you’re feeling about a situation is very helpful. It supports self-connection and clarity. It points to why you’re having the conversation in the first place. If you’re feeling confused, for example, you’re probably wanting clarity. If impatient, you probably want movement forward. If you’re hurt, you probably want understanding, reassurance, trust, or connection. If you’re excited, you might be wanting celebration!

Sharing how you’re feeling also helps to take the blame or shame out of the situation, making it easier for others to hear you and for you to share what’s happening. 

Note that we’re not saying here that someone else made you feel this way. Your feelings are your feelings.

In fact, it’s what you heard or saw (step one) and what you’re telling yourself about what happened that are actually acting as the stimulus for your feelings. 

By sharing how you’re feeling, free of judgment or blame, you’re simply sharing helpful information - information that is compelling for others.

As humans, we are naturally empathic. So when we hear a feeling - excited, appreciative, angry or confused or whatever the feeling is, it naturally gets our interest and attention, usually far more than hearing an evaluation or judgment. Feelings can invite interest, connection or concern. Judgment or blame invite pushback, defensiveness and disagreement.

Take a moment to reflect:
Think about something you’d like to share with another person. 

How do you feel - including in your body - when you think about what happened and what you want to talk about. 

What sensations do you notice? What emotions?  

Be sure to choose a word that’s really a feeling, rather than a word that can be used after the word “feeling” and is actually a judgment. For example, you can say, “I feel unappreciated!” but “unappreciated” is actually an evaluation. What it actually means is that the other person is not appreciating you. If you’re telling yourself that, you’re probably feeling hurt or disappointed. 

Here are some feelings that might be up for you, if there’s something you want to bring to someone’s attention: 

Confused

Impatient

Frustrated

Hurt

Disappointed

Sad

Angry

Deflated

Concerned

Irritated 

Discouraged

Depressed

Disheartened

Mad

Unhappy

Stressed

Anxious

Worried

Eager

Excited

Pleased

Energized

Appreciative

Grateful

Curious

In our culture, feelings often get a bad rap. No one wants to be seen as “too emotional” or “out of control.” But being reactive about our feelings happens when we’re not connected or paying attention to them. When they’re ignored, glossed over or suppressed, they can get even bigger and harder to handle, like an elephant in the room.

Note too that some of these feelings are “happy” or “neutral” feelings—such as grateful and curious. Those kinds of feelings can come up too when you want so share something. 

Ultimately, I consider all feelings to be “positive.” That we’re feeling something is a neon light, telling us that something matters and is important to us and that we’re alive. That awareness and the ability to name it is empowering and liberating. 

Take time to reflect:
How do you think it will help you to give feedback by sharing how you’re feeling? 

Which would you rather hear? How someone is feeling or their judgment and blame? 

Read more:
The list above is a short, sample list. To download a fuller list of feelings, click hereYou can also find here a faux list of feelings, that can sound like feelings but actually are evaluations.