The ‘I’ Statement

I believe this is one of the most powerful tools I was ever blessed with.  Thank you first counselor.  He taught me the power of the ‘I’.  I came to his office complaining, “He did that…..” “She did this……”  I didn’t understand that as long as I phrased all my thinking in what the other person was doing, I gave them all the control in each situation.  When I changed my words, I changed my recognition of who has the power.  When I changed to “I feel angry when….” “I feel hurt when …..” the responsibility shifted to me.  Used to be if I said, “He hurt me.”  The instant rebuttal was “No I didn’t.”  However, when I changed to “I feel hurt when you do this.”  There was no more argument, mostly.  There were still some people in my life that felt they could tell me how I should feel or guilt me for feeling a certain way.  I then referred them to my boundary that I decide if I feel hurt not you.  Yup.  I learned the power of the I statement.  I still have to check myself.  I practice in every conflict identifying my boundaries, my feelings, my needs, and what I can do about it.  I am constantly amazed how a simple shift in how I identify a situation with an I statement can defuse a situation.  Do I always do this?  NO.  I’m a work in progress.  I did spend many weeks with my counselor changing my thinking to match the new type of phrases.  Part of the success of using the I-statement is recognizing the emotion I am feeling.

 

I searched the web and found a couple of pages that I thought described I-statements in the way that I mean:

This first link breaks down the I-statement into parts, a very clear explanation, in my opinion.

http://www.austincc.edu/colangelo/1318/istatements.htm

http://www.humanpotentialcenter.org/Articles/IStatements.html

http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/i-message

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