Have you ever found yourself in a conversation, perhaps a heated conversation and using words that only seem to add fuel to the fire? It happens often and there is a way to help reduce the force of the words.

It takes a shift of position, a shift in the language and the reference you are using. Notice I used “you” in that sentence, and that alone may cause some negative feelings.

The shift in the language that could take place is this:

Frame the issue,

When you ____________________________ (do something that is disagrees with your values)

I feel ________________________________(describe the feeling – upset, angry, …)

Because _____________________________ (why do you feel that way)

What does that do for the other person? Does it help them see why you may be upset with the issue? Does it change the plane of reference – a shift from them to “you”.

Often heated conversations are about transferring blame without transferring understanding. Will the format used above help inform the listener of the issue without transferring blame?

2 responses to “Shift

  1. It depends on the context and the circumstances as well as the equation between the participants. It is extremely difficult to generalize here. The trick is developing one’s own equanimity to such a level that one is in ‘action’ mode rather than ‘reaction’ mode. This is possible with increased ‘awareness living’ which is an offshoot of regular meditation.

  2. Good point! Context is very important.

    I should have framed the issue to show that in situations where there is the persistent feeling of blame in the discussion that there is an avenue to shift the context away from blame and towards personal ownership of the feelings.

    The shift is away from a perceived attack to expression of feelings or emotions that are owned individually and when shared help increase understanding by both parties (assuming it is a two party discussion).

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