Do You Know the Art of Expressing What You Feel to Get What You Need?
There is an art to communicating relevant information to those special people who hold a particular place in your life. Many people find it difficult to express clearly their needs, wants, desires, and emotions in their personal relationships out of fear of rejection or ridicule. Fear, or the lack of knowledge of how to clearly communicate important messages to significant people in your life, can be a hindrance to your ability to get what you need out of your relationship. Incomplete or incoherent messages can block others' understanding of your statements and the reason the topic is a matter of importance to you. Knowledge of how you can perfect the art of expressing needs in relationships will help you to develop confidence in establishing your right to express what you feel to those who matter most in your life. You will also feel confident as you learn that you can say whatever you need to say as long it conforms to a particular style and vocabulary that is conducive to healthy and productive communication.
Let us break down the communication into four important elements that should be included in your messages: observations, thoughts, feelings, and needs.
This expression of communication provides information in a style that only conveys simple facts relevant to who, when, where and what you have personally experienced. No speculation, interpretation, or theoretical explanations is needed, just the straightforward facts that is observed by you.
The next step in communicating important messages about your needs should be those conclusions you reach upon consideration of the facts you observed. These are your thoughts that contribute to your understanding of the 'how' and 'why' of the observable facts. The style of communication in presenting your views can be provided in the form of beliefs, interpretations, judgments, or opinions. The statement of thoughts express values and your sense of identity.
The expression of your feelings will necessitate a degree of emotional intelligence (EI). Emotional Intelligence is the manner in which you evaluate, control, and perceive your emotions. Communicating your feelings can be especially difficult because of the complex and, at times, threatening and intimidating nature of sharing emotions. People vary in their ability to tolerate talking or hearing about positive or negative emotions. Those who have a high level of EI know how to maneuver through the tumultuous terrain of emotional issues to empathize and understand you. They have the ability to appreciate the uniqueness of your feelings and how these emotions form an integral part of your identity.
Your ability to completely express positive or negative emotions to get what you need out of your relationship is also a demonstration of high levels of EI. Clear expressions of feelings are solely about emotions and do not include evaluations, judgments, or opinions that masquerade as feelings. A statement of opinion masquerading as an emotion would be, "I feel that you could care less if I were to move to Washington." An explicit expression of emotion would be, " I feel like you don't care whether or not I move to Washington, and it makes me sad to think that I do not matter to you."
Since you have a Ph.D in knowing your needs, you have the right to express them in your relationships. Many people are taught that they should not ask for what they want because it is an act of selfishness. There are others who believe that their needs are universal, and others should know that they should fulfill those needs. These individuals often become agitated by the need to communicate their needs; as if others should have guessed what it is they needed without having to ask for it. They may communicate some resentment about having to express their needs. The expression of your needs can help your relationships to become more profound and grow as you express your needs in a clear and appropriate fashion. You will find that your relationships will become more supportive and satisfying as you avoid assigning blame for any miscommunication of needs. Clear and concise statements communicating what would help you or please you in your relationships would allow for the important people in your life to have a complete and accurate depiction of you based on the complete messages you have articulated to them.
Overall, you should avoid all messages that leave out essential elements of communicating your needs. To do so would cause anger, confusion, frustration, and mistrust in your relationships. You enrich your interactions with others as you engage in conversations that provide your observations, thoughts, feelings, and needs.
If you would like more information on communication in relationships check out the 'Daring You to Be YOU!' journal Evaluating Relationships.