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Expressing Feelings

 

Techniques Assertiveness > Expressing Feelings

Name the emotion | Controlled description | Supporting body language | Being expressive | See also

 

Expressing emotions, showing what you feel, particularly when it is a strong emotion is often socially unacceptable in many cultures and particular situations. You can, however, show that you are feeling something in assertive ways, communicating your emotion without imposing it in ways that upset others or display a lack of control. Done well, this can be very powerful.

Name the emotion

A simple first step is to name the emotion, showing what you are feeling with just the word that best describes it. This makes it unambiguous and impossible for them to deny. Only you can say how you feel.

I am feeling angry.

Controlled description

Rather than display the emotion with outbursts, coolly describe the emotion.  Normally, when emotions take over, rational control disappears. When you describe emotions, you demonstrate significant self-control, which has strong persuasive power.

Explain why you are feeling what you are feeling, indicating cause. This makes the description even more rational and effective. The cause of the emotion may be the general situation. It may also be the actions of the other person.

A simple formula you can use is:

I am feeling...about...because of...

For example:

I am feeling angry about not being able to defend myself because you have not let me do so.

Supporting body language

Emotions are often shown in body language. If you describe yourself as angry, it would be a mixed message to show happiness with your face while saying you are angry. As you are indicating controlled emotion in your words, the same should be reflected in your body. Hence if you are saying you are angry, a supporting face would be redder, with less blinking, lowered eyebrows, etc. To show that you are in control of yourself, however, this should be hinted at, not with appearances of extreme anger, etc.

Being expressive

You do not have to keep expression of emotions just for extreme situations. You can say how you feel at any time for any reason. The only caveat being a consideration for others and the extent to which they are able to comfortably accept how you feel.

Remember that you can express both negative and positive emotions. Sometimes we focus more on negative emotions, yet expressing positive emotions can be more powerful in motivating others.

I feel really happy that you have worked hard to complete this in time. Thank you.

See also

Emotions, Using Body Language

 

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