Focusing Tip #793 – Why change the way we talk about our feelings?

Focusing Tip #793 – Why change the way we talk about our feelings?
April 20, 2022 Ann Weiser Cornell
“The words you recommend seem awkward, are they really necessary?”

Focusing Tip #793 – Why change the way we talk about our feelings?

Is there a way of speaking about your feelings that makes them easier to feel and get to know better? Read on…


Elizabeth writes:

I listened to a webinar by you, and you recommended saying “I sense the presence of anger within.” That seems awkward; is it really necessary? I wanted to say, about myself, “She’s angry.” But that seems like dissociation.

Dear Elizabeth:

Allow me to gently suggest that you may have mis-heard me. My famous recommendation is to say, “I am sensing something in me is ______.”

In this case, it would be: “I am sensing something in me is angry.”

“Anger” changes to “angry” because the noun “anger” gives a tone of permanence, whereas the adjective “angry” reminds us that this feeling is here right now… and may not be in a moment. Feelings change. That’s what they need to do. So it’s best to speak in a way that makes it easy for them to change.

You might want to pause and feel the difference right now… “I have anger” … “I am sensing something in me is angry.”

Something in you is angry — not all of you. But also not none of you. So it’s not dissociation. (That’s one thing I love about this way of being with ourselves!) It’s not “someone else is angry” or “I’m not angry.” Something in me is angry.

“Something in me is angry… and I am going to spend some time sensing that.” Not dissociation at all.

Yes, it’s true that “I am sensing something in me is angry” has more words than “I am angry”. In that sense it is awkward. It also might seem odd — although I have read interviews with ordinary people who talk this way!

But feel what happens when you shift your language like this. You get bigger. You are more than your feeling. It’s still here, but it’s not dominating or overwhelming you. Because of that, you can have a relationship with the feeling, a relationship of kindness, compassion, and curiosity.

And from that comes change — in the direction of being more completely yourself!

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