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.