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Posts tagged ‘expressing feelings’

Effective Communication: I-Messages or You-Messages

SOURCE:  Dr. Jimmy Ray Lee/Living Free

Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”

Ephesians 4:29 NLT

Expressing our feelings using I-messages is a key to effective communication. You-messages put the other person on the defensive, but I-messages have a much greater chance of getting through.

I-messages tell what you feel or how the other person’s behavior is making you feel. I-messages …

  • Deal with facts, rather than evaluation
  • Help communicate honesty and openness
  • Are much less likely to harm the relationship
  • Do not attack the self-esteem of the other person

Imagine this situation: A teenager has developed a habit of breaking curfew. He/she has just done it again.

You-messages a parent might use: “You are so irresponsible.” “You are disobedient.” I-messages: “I worry about you when you’re out so late.” “I get so tired because I can’t sleep when you are late.” “I care about you and feel it is my responsibility as your parent …”

Which messages are more likely to be heard? Which would add to a wall of defensiveness?

These are important skills to practice in the big and small communications of our lives, but especially when we want to express those deepest feelings that have been hiding behind our “Sunday smiles.”

Father, help me be wise and honest in communicating my feelings. May everything I say be good and helpful. In Jesus’ name …


These thoughts were drawn from …

Concerned Persons: Because We Need Each Other by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min. 

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FEELINGS: Keeping Them In or Letting Them Out

SOURCE:  Adapted from an article by Karl Benzio/Lighthouse Network/Stepping Stones

When The Laughter Ends…

Most of us have some degree of trouble admitting our true feelings and expressing them, especially if we are struggling with life-interfering problems. But throughout the Bible, God encourages us to be in touch with our feelings and to know them. Then, once we access our feelings, He doesn’t want us to keep them hidden inside.

Jesus set an example for us: He had emotions and he expressed them. He cried. He got angry. He was sad. He was extremely concerned and sweated blood in the garden before His arrest.

We often hide the way we feel behind a defense to keep our real selves from showing through. Inside we may feel angry, or fearful or sad. But we hide those feelings by joking … or acting superior … looking important … using sarcastic comments … being silent … deflecting attention to something else … anesthetizing it with substances or food … or employing some other defense. We often try to cover our sadness with laughter, but when the laughter ends, the hurt or loss remains. Eventually, hidden shame and sadness are roadblocks to hope and healing.

An important tip: Hiding our feelings gives them dysfunctional control over our lives. Unexpressed anger, fear, hurt, unforgiveness, bitterness, humiliation, and guilt have a destructive influence on everything we do. Inside we have only a small box to hold these feelings … and it can overflow quickly. When it does, those feelings bleed out and ooze into our real everyday functioning. That is a fact. Often it leads to passive-aggressive behavior.

Your choice is very simple.

1: Express your feelings as they happen, in ways that are controllable, functional, measured, healthy, respectful, and useful to you while they match the situation.

2: while you are trying to hold in your feelings they will start to overflow from that little container you have inside and ooze out in ways that are uncontrollable, dysfunctional, and random, sabotaging your efforts to deal with the situation at hand and hold you back in your psychological and spiritual growth pursuits.

Unfortunately, this last scenario is what usually happens, reinforcing the false belief that expressing our feelings is destructive. So we falsely learn to be afraid of our having feelings, expressing feelings, or letting others express theirs.

Today, ask yourself this question: has your “cover-up” helped? Or have you learned first-hand that when the laughter ends, the grief remains?

Your suppressed feelings will come back to undermine your happiness and relationships. Admitting your negative feelings (in the right way) can be a turning point for you. Be honest with yourself … and with God … and then with a friend. Being real will open the door for healing. Journaling your feelings as they come up is a good step towards having better command over your emotions. Whether you express your feeling in a healthy and appropriate way or you them and they ooze out in dysfunctional ways is your decision, so choose well.

Dear Father God, I’ve been hiding my feelings for a long time, but I know now it’s time to be honest. Help me to be real. Help me to have a better awareness of my feelings and more control in expressing them. Set me free from their grip. Help me,  not be afraid of them, but to see them as Your gift to me. They are my warning system, and a very good warning system. Soothe me and increase my awareness of Your soothing. Help me to share my real feelings with my loved ones, and give me restraint as I express them. I pray in the name of the One whom You sent to be my perfect emotional role model, Jesus Christ – AMEN!

The Truth

Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when laughter ends, the grief remains.

Proverbs 14:13

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

Ephesians 4:26,27

Unresolved Anger Has Poisonous Roots!

SOURCE:  Adapted from  Lighthouse Network

When you feel angry with someone or something, do you express your feelings … or do you hold the anger inside?

People who bury their anger usually believe they are doing the right thing by appearing calm on the outside and not blowing up. The reality, however, is that unresolved anger will fester and develop into resentment, bitterness, or even depression.

Some people respond to anger by immediately holding it in, and then releasing it or letting it go a short time later without hurting themselves or others. We can do this by playing ball or scrubbing the dishes while calming down, and then having an honest conversation with the person who upset us. When we handle our feelings like this, the results are often beneficial. But if you tend to hold your anger inside and grow resentful, ask God to help you share your angry feelings with people as they occur. We don’t want to share in a rage or with unkind words. We just want an honest but controlled expression of our feelings.

The Bible teaches that we shouldn’t carry anger overnight. Get it settled before going to bed. Otherwise, it’s likely that resentment will grow. We see various Bible passages in which God and Jesus expressed their anger or displeasure, but did so with a heart, motivation, and method that were healthy and purposeful.

Anger is just a God-given warning system … letting us know when a real or potential problem exists. Thankfully, until you actually do something about the underlying problem, your brain will continue to warn you. Not addressing the problem is what allows anger to grow, fester, and come out in harmful ways. Or it can be directed inward and lead to negative self-talk, low self-image, depression, isolation, or self-loathing. The negativity against ourselves may include cutting, excessive piercing and tattooing, addictions, or promiscuity.

Perhaps you are already experiencing bitterness because of unexpressed grievances from the past. The answer: when anger starts to warn you, acknowledge the hurt … forgive or ask for forgiveness … address and solve the original problem. You won’t have to work hard at letting go of the anger … because, when the problem is resolved, that original anger will quickly melt away.

Holding on to bitterness can damage your relationship with God, relationships with others, and your peace of mind. It even harms your health, especially your heart, blood pressure, digestive system, and brain chemistry. Being a problem solver, and forgiving and being forgiven can change all that. Ask God … He will guide and help you.

Today, if you notice that someone is angry, ask them, “You seem angry or upset. That anger is warning you about some problem. Can I help you work on or solve that problem?” Ask yourself the same question as well.  What you do with your emotions is your decision, so choose well.

Prayer

Dear Father God, forgive me and help me deal with the resentment and bitterness I have been carrying. Give me the strength and wisdom to move forward by acknowledging the hurt, controlling my anger, identifying the problem, solving the underlying issue, and forgiving. Thank You for the wonderful way You designed me. Help me understand that design better so I can be a great steward of my mind and free will. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the best mirror for my eye exam, Jesus Christ;  – AMEN!

The Truth

Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many

Hebrews 12:15

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