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John W. Travis, M.D. & Regina Sara Ryan
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Sharing Feelings

Share the fact that you are feeling angry - or sad, or afraid - with the person or persons involved, and let them know how you see the situation. Remember to take the other person's feelings into account. Ask them how they see things, and if they want to share what they are feeling. This is an important step, as it keeps you from assuming that you know how other people feel and it helps to clarify the situation so you know you're both talking about the same thing.

Be effective, rather than right! As we will discuss at length in Wellness and Communicating, it helps to realize that whether you are right or wrong is not the real issue in working through a feeling" situation. The real issue is, will the problem be effectively addressed? As to who is at fault, really, that's a waste of time. To be effective may require that you "get off it," and fast. In other words, you drop self-righteousness and aim at understanding the other.

Decide what you're going to do. After the other person has shared her feelings, and you've each had a chance to see the situation from another perspective, you're in an ideal place to apply your best problem-solving skills to the situation. Strive for a win-win solution - one that allows both or all involved to maintain dignity and self-respect while getting their needs met as much as possible.

Not all problems or people are easily dealt with, nor will every sharing session have a happy ending. Be patient with yourself and others. This feeling domain is often a scary place for those unfamiliar with the terrain. Try to stay focused on one issue at a time. If you try to deal with everything about your relationship in one session, you're bound to be frustrated. If you demand that others feel as strongly or deeply about something as you do, you're setting yourself up for disappointment.

<< Previous Why Anger? | Back to Feeling | Next >> Why Are You Angry?
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