Healthy conflict without casualties requires a lot more than simply being aware of your emotions. It involves taking full responsibility for them as well. Many people are happy to identify and share their feelings, but not always willing to own up to them.
Leading self and others out of drama with compassionate accountability starts and ends with emotional responsibility.
Here are four truths about feelings that may challenge you, and are guaranteed to increase your integrity and authenticity if you apply them.
Your feelings belong only to you
They do not belong to anyone else, and might not be shared by anyone else. Don’t assume others feel the same as you do.
Your feelings matter
Owning them and sharing them is an act of self-respect and assertiveness. It doesn’t make you weak. It makes you authentic.
Your feelings are your responsibility
Nobody else is responsible for your feelings. Not even the person or group with whom you are having conflict. They may have done something despicable which needs to be dealt with. Still, they did not cause your feelings.
Your feelings are a unique product of how you interpret what’s happening around you
You bring a unique set of experiences, history, values, and filters to any situation. The next person may have a completely different emotional response. So don’t blame your feelings on anyone else. Owning your feelings means owning the unique aspects of you that influenced those feelings.
Here are some examples of common feelings statements that violate one or more of these truths. See which ones you can detect.
“You really hurt me when you said that.”
“I can’t be responsible for how I feel. I just feel it.”
“I shouldn’t share how I really feel. It won’t matter anyway.”
“I don’t want to make you mad.”
Here are some authentic feeling statements that show emotional responsibility.
“I feel defensive because I want to be perceived as capable.”
“I am angry because I have invested a lot in this project.”
“I feel uneasy because I don’t know how to respond.”
“I feel anxious because I’m comparing this to a previous experience that turned out badly.”
Your feelings belong to you, they matter, they are your responsibility, and they are a unique product of your life. Take more authentic ownership over your life by recognizing and owning these truths.
Things to Ponder
- What attitudes or beliefs do you hold that work against these truths about feelings?
- What could change for you if you believed and acted on these truths?