When it comes to feelings, we’re getting two seemingly conflicting messages:
“Feelings are not facts”
“Your feelings are valid”
So which one is it?
“My partner doesn’t respect my feelings” is a complaint I hear often. So is “I don’t know why he’s upset, that’s not what happened!” In today’s video, I breakdown what “feelings are not facts” and “your feelings are valid” really mean. You’ll learn some personal development steps you can take to understand yourself better. Understanding your feelings can lead to more healthy communication in relationships. Plus, you’ll get some practical relationship tips to help your partner understand you better and to help your partner respect your feelings.
Your feelings — whatever they are! —can be a powerful tool to help you live into your best life.
Ok, so which is it:
“Feelings are not facts” or “Your feelings are valid”?
Both, actually. Here’s why:
Your feelings are valid in that they are what you are feeling.
You are actually feeling them. That is true. That is valid. Don’t let someone try to convince you that your feelings are not real.
At the same time, your feelings don’t necessarily reflect the reality around you and/or they might not be a rational, helpful, or appropriate response to what happened.
But that doesn’t change the fact that in the moment, you’re feeling them!!
So when you’re all up in your feelings, what do you do?
Start to name the story your feelings are telling you
— and recognize that that might be what’s really going on or it might not be. You might not be able to know yet. You might not ever know for sure.
Come down from heightened emotions.
When you are in the throes of your feelings, you are not going to think rationally. This heightened state is also physically stressful on your body. This isn’t about quickly “getting over” what happened — we can still take that seriously! Think of it instead of taking care of yourself now so that you can deal with what happened more effectively.
Take some to “self soothe”
This is just a fancy phrase for “do things that make you feel better.” That could be taking a few deep breaths, going for walk, dancing it out, or even eating some ice cream. Here are 7 ways you can deal with uncomfortable feelings.
Use your feelings to figure out which needs aren’t being met right now
Ask friends, family, and/or partners to help
You don’t have to go through this alone. Ask your friends, family, or a partner for some support.
This is a time to remember the importance of friendship. It’s not reasonable or healthy to expect one person to meet every single one of your needs. Have a group of close friends and family that you can be vulnerable and lean on is so important.
When you’ve got some distance: try to figure out what your feelings are telling you
Were you unsafe? What needs to change to keep you safe? What can you do? What can you ask others to do?
Are you feelings alerting you to a pattern? Has this happened before? What can you do with that info?
Did what happen touch on something from your past — was your reaction in large or small part in reaction to some past, unresolved hurt? What can you learn from that? How can you feel that old wound as well as this current one?
Observing without judgement and figuring out what you’re feeling are the first two steps in nonviolent communication. From there, you can more effectively ask for help in getting what you need from those you care about and those you’re in conflict with.
I put together a short video series all about using nonviolent communication to improve your communication and get your needs met. Watch below if you want more skills to improve your relationships.