Feelings are Non-Negotiable

by Jo-Ann Downey

in Relationship Communication Skills

Post image for Feelings are Non-Negotiable

Have you ever wanted someone to feel differently?  Have you ever told someone they should not feel a certain way? How do you feel when someone does not acknowledge, accept or value the way you feel?

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Feelings are Non-Negotiable

If someone is feeling a certain way, the feeling is real.  You know the feeling is real because they are experiencing the feeling – it’s here!  Feelings are not negotiable.  You may genuinely want someone to feel a different way; however, it is selfish and illogical to try to change reality to match your preference.

Do not be in the business of trying to talk someone out of their feelings!

When someone tells you how they feel, sincerely saying “I hear you and I hear what you are saying” is powerful. This statement encourages an honest, non-judgmental, supportive and positive experience for both parties.  It is a remarkable statement because you focus on hearing them, hopefully they feel heard, and you are not agreeing or disagreeing with them.

Willingness, Flexibility & Choices

To experience more positive relationships you can choose to create the best possible environment for success. If someone tells you they are frustrated when you do a certain thing, you can choose to be considerate of (not responsible for) their feelings.  You may not agree with how they interpret a particular situation; however, you can choose to modify your behavior in ways that are reasonable (to you), caring and sincere.  It is not about trying to manage, control or be responsible for someone’s feelings. It is about genuinely taking someone’s feelings, needs and feedback under careful consideration.

Mutually and maturely sharing feelings, with the goal of a positive outcome, is a cornerstone to relationship success and personal growth.

Feelings & Responsibility

Even if you consciously create an environment that is favorable to more positive outcomes, you are not responsible for the feelings of others.  You are only responsible for your feelings. What does it mean to be responsible for your feelings?  You acknowledge, feel, accept (without judgment), understand, manage and appropriately express your feelings.  A tall order indeed, but worth it!

∞ Very Smart Girls know that feelings are non-negotiable
∞ Very Smart Girls are not in the business of trying to talk people out of their feelings
∞ Very Smart Girls do not talk themselves out of their feelings

photo credit: Geir Halvorsen

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