In my last blog post, “Your Words Create Your Reality – Part 1”,  I spoke about a client who said, “I’m just anxious in relationships”.

Through some simple inquiry and deconstruction of that statement, I illustrated how by shifting the language we use, we can create a new way of experiencing ourselves in relationship and release ourselves from our own self-created limitations.

Today I’m going to introduce another way we can gain mastery over an unwanted emotional experience.  

There is a model in psychology that I’m really fond of called Parts Work that assumes each and every human is made up of multiple parts or personas. 

Each of these parts can have different thoughts, perspectives and emotions.  

This is a beautiful model to work with ourselves as using this kind of language can allow us to get some distance from our emotional experience. 

Here’s what I mean…

Let’s go back to the statement my client made.  

“I’m just anxious in relationships.”

Using this parts model as a foundation, a more accurate statement would actually be:

“A part of me sometimes feels anxious in relationship.”

Notice how this simple shift does three things.

First, it creates an opening.  

If a part of you feels anxious, then that implies that another part of you does not. 

Second, this language creates objectivity to the feeling.  

Rather than being wholly encompassed by anxiety, you’ve suddenly created distance from the feeling.  

You’re talking about it, witnessing it as a part of you rather than your whole self.

Third, you now have a chance to build a relationship with that anxious part of yourself that needs reassurance rather than identifying with it.  Oftentimes you may compound the negative feeling you’re experiencing by creating more guilt, shame, blame or even anxiety around HAVING anxiety.

“I can’t believe I’m feeling anxious again! What the hell is wrong with me!?” (this creates anxiety + shame)

A more useful approach might be…

“A part of me is feeling anxious right now.  That’s curious, I wonder what that part needs to hear or see to feel safe?” (notice how this helps you move from anxiety into curiosity)

By using this approach to work with your feelings, you can learn to navigate your emotional experience like a black belt.

Not only that, you also create the capacity to communicate through and around intense emotions in high-flame situations with the people that matter to you.

For example, it’s much easier for me to stay resourceful and flexible in communication when I say “a part of me” is feeling something versus letting my whole self be engulfed by negative emotion.

Notice the difference between these:

“I’m (sad, furious, confused)… can we talk about it?” versus “A part of me is feeling (sad, furious, confused) right now.  Can we talk about it?”

Now, imagine your lover saying these two statements.  

Which one feels more approachable?   

Which one feels like there is space for a productive and connective conversation to occur around? 

Most likely the second statement.    

This simple shift in your language can be the difference between a blowout fight and a conversation that connects you and your partner.  

Again the second statement automatically assumes that if there is one part of you that feels (sad, angry, confused) then there IS another part that doesn’t feel that way, allowing for communication to stay online and resourceful. 

Pretty interesting, huh?

So over the next week, I’d like you to practice speaking about your experience to yourself and to others using this simple tip and see for yourself how it can make a difference.

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