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Instead of Masking True Feelings, Use I Feel Statements and Grow Your Emotional Vocabulary.


Masking true feelings is sometimes seen as a form of protection. It can feel safe. But in reality it creates isolation. Sure there are times you might not be ready to talk about your emotions but avoiding talking about them or hiding them consistently from those you love or those who love you can be devastating. Remember hiding fuels isolation not connection.


Sharing emotions can be difficult. Maybe you are afraid to hurt someones feelings, maybe you are afraid of judgement from others. Maybe you feel your emotions are unreasonable or irrational. Whatever the case may be, know that there is so much power and potential for connection by sharing your emotions.

How does growing your emotional vocabulary help you feel more connected in your relationship?


Using “I feel” statements seems pretty basic and sounds like something you mocked when hearing about it in your high school health class, but they can actually be very powerful.


1. I feel statements allow you to take accountability for your feelings. When you says “I feel defeated”. You are not shaming anyone else for “making you feel” a certain way. You are owning and defining your feelings. Owning and defining your feelings is the first step to making progress and working through those emotions.

2. I feel statements allow open communication to continue by letting you share the WHY. Instead of someone else asking why you feel that way, saying “I feel defeated because . . .“ gives you the chance to share what is going on. When someone else asks “why do you feel that way?” There is potential for you to become defensive and shut down.


When communicating about feelings there is a lot about tone and body language that comes into play. You can avoid some reading in to unspoken body language and tone by using “I feel” statements and then starting into your WHY instead of waiting to be asked.


As a listener keep this in mind. If they don’t immediately follow up with the WHY, ask “do you want to talk about it?” instead of asking “Why do you feel that way?”


3. I feel statements make it easier for people to connect with you. When you are defining your emotion use specific vocabulary. It is easier to connect with someone who tells you that they are feeling overwhelmed than it is to connect with someone who tells you that they are feeling sad. General emotions are harder to empathize with. Invite connection by using very specific words.


You may not always be sure what emotions you are feeling, maybe you don’t have word for it. You can practice with an emotion wheel like the one shown below.


Encourage your loved ones to start sharing their “I feel” statements throughout the day. Practice using specific words.


It is important to learn to empathize with emotions that may not have a why. If there doesn’t seem to be a why or maybe you aren’t sure of what the why is yet, it is still important to share how you feel. Make it ok in you relationship to sometimes just say “I feel discouraged.” And leave it there. The listener: “Do you want to talk about it?” “Not right now, I will be ready after lunch to talk about it”


The more you share emotions the better you will get at empathizing with others and the more open you will become with sharing your emotions.


Sharing emotion allows for so many opportunities for connection. Instead of masking your feelings find ways to share specific emotions that those around you can empathize and connect with.


-I feel statements allow you to take accountability for your feelings.

-I feel statements allow open communication to continue by letting you share the WHY.

-I feel statements make it easier for people to connect with you.


It is important to learn to empathize with emotions that may not have a why. If there doesn’t seem to be a why or maybe you aren’t sure of what the why is yet, it is still important to share how you feel. Make it ok in you relationship to sometimes just say “I feel discouraged.” And leave it there. The listener: “Do you want to talk about it?” “Not right now, I will be ready after lunch to talk about it”


Encourage your loved ones to start sharing their “I feel” statements throughout the day. Practice using specific words. The more you share emotions the better you will get at empathizing with others and the more open you will become with sharing your emotions.





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