I feel that people are using “I feel” as a way to be pricks.

It all begins with a thought, and a thought can be changed.

There’s something I’ve been noticing about people who try to read & follow a lot of good self-help stuff. A lot of people are, more and more, using “I feel” statements when trying to work out problems. This is a good thing, it really is, when used & done properly.They see it a lot on TV and in books, so it’s becoming more and more common-place practice to use “I feel” statements. Or, more accurately, misuse “I feel” statements.

EG:

She says, “I feel you are not spending enough time with me.”

Does anyone else see where this is just being done completely wrong? Anyone? Well, let me break it down for you. This is not a real “I feel” statement. You might be thinking, but it starts with “I feel” which it does, but look at the rest of the statement. Where does it mention an emotion? I don’t see one. What I see is two statements mashed together:

  • “I feel…” This is a clear and basic statement. You feel. You are a human being with feelings. Wonderful. What’s your point? So is he. What does saying simply that really accomplish?
  • “…you are not spending enough time with me.” This is not a feeling. It’s not an emotion. This is not even a thought process, perspective, or point of view. It’s a guilt-trip and an accusation, plain and simple.

See? That’s not actually an “I feel” statement. An “I feel” statement is very different. But the real “I feel” statements need to change, too. It’s not enough to just feel. We also need to think. In fact, people don’t realize they do; they just don’t do it very often. See, we can’t have an emotion without some kind of thought to ignite it. You don’t feel lonely, so then think it must be because he’s not spending enough time with you; you are going about your life and, suddenly one day, you think to yourself, “he sure hasn’t been spending much time with me lately” and BAM! You begin thinking more about how he’s not spending time with you, and feeling more and more lonely and neglected. Somewhere along the lines, though, saying “I think” as part of the whole “I feel” statement process of problem solving became the equivalent to an accusation or translated into “You’re wrong” or “you’re an ass.” I have no friggin clue when or how.

Thing of it is, “I think” is nothing more than the intellectual equivalent of “I feel”. It’s a statement of thought processes, perspective, and/or point of view. That’s all. I think that’s not only just as valid, but just as important to finding a solution. Right now, so many problems happen between people because they don’t think. They feel bad, they react without thinking, they cause damage, they feel worse, they react worse without thinking, they cause more damage… over and over. People don’t think, or they only think and don’t feel, though the latter is a rare problem these days.

Here’s what I think a balanced “working-it-out” statement should look like, using the earlier example as a basis:
“I feel neglected and lonely because I think you are not spending enough time with me.”
Now, let’s break this one down to see why it “works”:
  • “I feel neglected and lonely” Ok, right off the bat, there’s progress. A statement of what her actual feelings are. This allows him to begin to understand why she has been behaving differently lately, and why her body language might have changed. This kind of communication is important in relationships.
  • “…I think you are not spending enough time with me.” Let’s be clear – this is not an accusation. This is not a guilt-trip. This is simply stating the thought processes that caused the feelings. She’s not accusing him of not spending time with her, she’s saying she thinks that; as in that is how it seems from her perspective.

So, now we’ve got a clear “I feel/think” statement. Yay! We’ve completed the first step to improving relations! So, what’s next?

I can just here a few people scratching their heads thinking, “What? They’ve solved the problem; the solution is easy, he needs to spend more time with her.” BZZZZT!!!! Wrong! Thanks for playing. We haven’t solved the problem, we’ve only begun finding the problem. The problem isn’t that she’s feeling neglected; that just signifies that there is a problem. So, now comes the real detective work – finding what was or wasn’t done to inspire the thought which created the feeling.

Oh, and I hear you over there at the back, thinking “Well, he made her think that by neglecting her.” BZZZT!!! Wrong again! No one can make you do, feel or think anything you choose not to. All anyone can do is inspire, convince, or limit your options. Lets say, as an example, the couple from our example have no kids, and he owns his own little retail business. Well, times are tough around the world these days, so rather than hire a new staff member that they don’t have the money to pay, he might take on more hours. She could focus on the thought of, “he works hard to keep that store open so we have food and a home.” She could then think about offering to spend the late shifts with him at the store, rather than home waiting for him. On the flip side, he could be spending a small portion of that extra time planning little romantic gestures that would remind her that he still cares and isn’t trying to neglect her.

She focused on him not spending a lot of time with her – why is that? Has he been out a lot? Has he been canceling dates more often of late? Has he been very untalkative compared to how he usually is? Asking questions can help narrow down what of his behaviors might have inspired the thought. This is where steps 2 & 3 are actually kind of the same and can be done together – brainstorming solutions. Is there anything he could do to help her not feel neglected when he’s not able to spend as much time with her? Was she misinterpreting things from him (behaviors, words) that could just need to be clarified? Is there ways she can proactively spend time with him, instead of waiting for him to come spend time with her?

And, lastly, take the solutions you both feel will be the most likely to work for both of you, and put them to the test. There’s no reason to keep focusing & dwelling on how it made you feel, not to the extent that it keeps affecting the relationship. Sure, sometimes feelings don’t run their course as easily or quickly as thought processes, but recognize that your feelings are just that – your feelings. If you’ve got a solution that works, and you’re both working at it, just do what you need to (within reason) to let those feelings run their course and then let them go into the past. Don’t hold them against your significant other when they are following through on the solution you both agreed to. And on the other side, don’t allow your spouse to guilt-trip you into joining her in feeling bad just because she’s not willing to let go of those feelings.

People wonder why relationships seem so hopeless and dead-end these days. Truth is, it’s because people feel too much, don’t think enough, and are being too lazy to make the effort for them to work.

Maturation of Human Culture… or lack thereof.

Recently a friend of mine changed her Facebook relationship status from ‘in a relationship’ to ‘single’. Now, normally, this would be nothing big worth writing a whole rant blog about, and this in and of itself is not what I’m ranting on today. What I AM ranting on was one of the replies. One of her friends replied with:

good!! You’re young and you need to have fun without worrying about anyone else. These are the party years – enjoy 😉

Ok, since when did University become “the party years”? Continue reading

Sex, flirting, and being single

I’m getting sick & tired of flirting. To be more specific, I’m getting sick & tired of being single & getting flack that all starts from flirting.  Casual flirting bugs me now. I dunno when it changed for me, but I’m tired of the tease. As far as I’m concerned, if you have no interest whatsoever in sex or a relationship, then don’t flirt with me. This means I’m just not gonna be nearly as flirtatious as I used to be; there’s a lot of women I used to flirt with, even up until recently, that I either know I won’t be in a relationship with or have no desire to pursue a relationship with. I’m not just talking about verbal flirting, either. A few of my University friends recently had an “Anything But Clothes” party, and a couple weeks before, others had a “pants-less” party. I skipped both, even though I Continue reading

Love is simple. Relationships take effort.

Too many start this way but never bother "finishing"

I was reading a fascinating article about how Love is not a given, and felt an urge to add my 2 cents on the same line of thought. Yes, I’m going to sound a bit angry & frustrated; that’s because I AM!

Too many people today, both men and women, think that when they are in a relationship or a marriage, that it means they can “relax” and not work so hard to keep the relationship & their spouses affections going. NEWS FLASH! They can leave your sorry ass at any time. Loving someone isn’t like winning a prize that you can display on your shelf; it’s like a small campfire that is just difficult enough to tend that it takes 2 people working at it in just the right amounts in order to keep burning strong. I can’t tell you how many people I know who are either breaking up, broken up, considering divorce, or gotten divorced, all because their spouse has either given up & stopped caring about continuing to deserve their love & affection, or never really bothered in the first place. I’ve even had long-term relationships where the woman I was with was assuming she was meeting my needs (never checked, just assumed), and felt I wasn’t doing enough to meet their needs. And needs can be anything from 1 or 2 big things to several small things; they’re still needs, no matter the “size”, and no less important. Continue reading

Unconditional Love is not what people think it is.

Love is absolute, unconditional acceptance. You either love someone or you don’t. There is no in-between.” -JN

My thoughts: True, but you can love someone and still leave if they are damaging mentally, emotionally or physically to you or others around you. Love the person; deny the behaviors that are damaging. If the person won’t let go of those behaviors, then let go of the person. It’s called “Tough Love“. And yes, itfrikkin hurts, but you can’t “save” them; they MUST save themselves. To think you can “save” them or “change” them is not love, it’s selfish; do you love them simply because they are unhealthy and you “can save” them? If/when they do decide to change, you can’t decide how they change, either; are you sure you’re ready to accept whatever changes they make? If you stay with them when they’re toxic, abusive and/or damaging, it’s because you are getting something out of that damaging relationship you don’t want to let go of. What will you have when that relationship is gone because they finally changed?

Loving someone unconditionally does NOT mean you’ll let them treat you & others like shit and just take whatever damage they cause & pretend it doesn’t exist or is nothing. It means that you will forgive them unconditionally for their mistakes when they stop making them, and will help them learn to not make them. It means that you love them enough to respect yourself and your own health, as well as theirs, and not let them continue to damage your life, even if to prevent them from doing that means removing yourself from theirs until they are ready to give an honest attempt at change for the better. It means you respectthem enough to accept that you cannot make or force them to change, andmust let them decide to make those changes themselves, and you can onlyguide them or help support their decision to change for the better.