Can it be that it is it really yourself that is in those words, in the form of emotions which you either don’t know that you’re having or that you’re afraid to express?
Catchphrase = Awareness
When you speak, how aware are you of why you are saying what you’re saying?
If you’re like me then, sometimes–especially in close personal relationships–you’re not very aware of why at all.
And how good are you at tracking down the feelings that you’re having; the ones which are fueling your words? Again, maybe not so good?
It is undeniable that, in general, when we speak, we are feeling something. And it is also undeniable that many of us aren’t very good at knowing what we’re feeling and, therefore, why we’re saying what we’re saying.
One of my fundamental questions to myself when I speak (when I remember to ask) is this:
“Who are you really talking about here?”
Another question I might ask is:
“Why am I speaking?” (not—”I shouldn’t speak”—but, “What is my intention here?”)
For so many of us, speaking out loud involves multiple agendas, both conscious (known to us) and subconscious (unknown to us), but we are usually only aware of the conscious agenda. We often fail to realize the subconscious or preconscious agendas of what we are saying or about to say:
Conscious agenda: I need to tell my spouse that I need my book, calendar, key— whatever— back.
Subconscious agenda: Ever since my spouse lost, gave away, sold, destroyed my (insert item which was important to you here), I really don’t trust him/her anymore with my stuff.
Therefore, when I finally speak to my spouse about giving me my stuff back, I might say it in an accusatory or irritated-sounding way because of the actual, true agenda at hand, i.e., that I’m conflicted about trusting them.
Or how about this one:
“I really don’t think we should go to your family’s house this year for Christmas. It just stresses me out.”
“YOU’VE been stressing me out and I’m not willing to deal with both you AND your family this year.”
You see, it’s very important for us to study ourselves and what we are really feeling.
More specifically, it’s important for us to study and to learn to recognize our emotional derivatives—i.e., the flavor, look, or sound of the subconscious agendas in our words, based on feelings we are having but not fully acknowledging to ourselves.
How to Fix This
So why don’t we simply acknowledge or register our emotions to ourselves so that we can know them consciously and therefore find a way to communicate them more directly and healthily?
It’s because somewhere in our lives, either as children or in our earlier adult lives, we learned to hide our emotions from ourselves.
And we did this because those emotions—and what we might say or do (or did say or do) with them—as well as the repercussions of all that saying and doing—was too frightening for us, so we learned to just stuff them.
The body, of course—by which I mean the mind, heart, subconscious, etc.—doesn’t just get rid of strong feelings, so we are left with indirect communication based on these emotions. In other words, we speak, but know not what we are really saying.
So the next time you find your mouth moving and words coming out, try asking yourself this very important question:
What am I feeling right now?
And go from there.
This will serve you well in helping determine who is really in the words that you speak.
Anthony Ferraioli, M.D.
Author, Don’t Get Married! (Unless You Understand A Few Things First)
Cobwebs and Ugly Wallpaper