Skills for Sharing Thoughts and Feelings
Being able to effectively share the thoughts and feelings that make up your internal experience is of vital importance for healthy, productive, and positive communication between romantic partners as well as in any other type of interpersonal relationship. If a couple can effectively communicate their experience with one another, the process of problem-solving is expedited, leaving more time for the sharing of positivity that makes a relationship intimate, exciting, warm, and productive.
Firstly, you must state your views subjectively, as they are your own feelings and thoughts, not absolute truths. Additionally, be sure to only speak on your own viewpoints; no partner likes to be told what is in their head and it is up to him or her to determine and communicate his or her own feelings and thoughts. It is also important to express your emotions and feelings, as opposed to just factual ideas and observations. Place emphasis on cause-and-effect, where objective events and situations lead to subjective reactions. When expressing negative emotions or concerns, also include positive feelings you have about the person or situation to help balance emotional output and prevent the situation from escalating negatively. When specifically talking about your partner or their behavior, state your feelings about your partner, not just about an event or situation. (i.e. “I love you and I understand that you want what’s best for both of us, although when you did this it made me feel angry with you.”)
When it comes to being open and communicative, specificity is critically important. The clearer your viewpoint is and the more your partner understands your perspective, the easier it is to come to a solution and prevent irrational behavior and negative escalation. Being specific also requires you to focus on singular ideas at a time. It is much easier to communicate with a back-and-forth approach, where you express and elaborate upon a single emotion and its catalyst, and then allow for your partner to respond. This approach makes dealing with large or complex problems much less difficult and cultivates an environment where it’s easy to listen.
It takes time to build these skills, and anything that takes time to grow or accomplish requires patience. Be sure to use these skills as you build them in order to let your partner know that you’re working hard and doing your best, and be mindful that your partner has their own experience that comes with their own unique set of problems you may not fully understand.
“Skills for Sharing Thoughts and Feelings” was written for D’Arienzo Psychological Group by our 2019 summer intern and Stetson University Psychology Major, Thomas Henley