We are going to lay out some ground-rules for Understanding and Handling our Feelings. And understanding someone else's feelings.
1. Feelings ARE. We feel what we feel. A feeling is a fact.
"How can you say you hate chocolate? Everybody loves chocolate ice-cream. "
2. All feelings are permitted. Behavior, however must be limited.
3. Feelings are transitory when expressed and heard - outside, to others.
A different spin on this is: Feelings are transitory when identified and validated by yourself, internally. Feelings tend to stay hidden and potent in our actions if we do not identify them or never express them out loud to anyone.
4. We can have 2 or more contradictory feelings at the same time.
We can love someone and be angry at them. We can hate, and also love, a job. We can be disappointed, we can be envious, when a terrific job goes to someone else - and we can also relieved, because it might have entailed us picking up and moving - or having to travel all the time, live in hotel rooms.
5. As a person respects all his feelings he learns to trust and protect himself.
As a parent respects all a child's feelings, a child learns to trust and protect him- or herself.
This is how we train our children to protect themselves and set boundaries, by paying attention to the little squidgey feelings inside themselves.
6. A person should respect his limits. We can behave a little nicer than we feel, but not a lot.
(Or maybe a lot nicer, but only for a very short while).
7. Feelings can be contagious. Don't catch another person's mood.
'I can't stand this! I can't stand this one more minute!'
A break down like this in front of a child will likely make the situation worse.
8. Don't take away hope. Don't prepare for disappointment.
Think of the person going into the hospital for tests or writing an important test. Sometimes people need encouragement.
9. Sometimes, focus to change a MOOD, instead of trying to change a MIND.
This in particular is about helping a child make a decision. . . ‘Does it feel like a pink dress day, or a jeans-jacket & tights-day?'
But think also of a distraught person, sad person. . .
We often get angry when we are troubled or stressed and someone is rationally trying to change our mind. Sometimes a hug will end an argument.
10. Use anger without insult:
DESCRIBE instead of EVALUATING.
1. ‘There's a cloth beside the sink to clean up that spill. ’ VS. You're so sloppy. '
2. ‘When you find that report, bring it to me a. s. a. p. ’ VS. Boy, you'd lose your head if it wasn't attached to your neck. '
3. ‘If you drag this over here, it'd look much better. ’ VS. ‘Boy you don't know much, do you? For god's sake, move this over here!'
4. ‘I want you to listen to me for a minute. ’ VS. ‘Boy you're so selfish. You never think about anybody else but yourself. '
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