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.