communication Archives - Dr. Mary Pritchard

Processing Hurt Feelings and Negative Emotions

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It happens to all of us. We’re having a great day and then … we get in a fight with a loved one, someone says something hurtful to us, we run into an ex. Good, bad, or wish-that-never-happened, emotions occur. After all, we are all just energy, and so are our emotions: e-motions = energy in motion. So rather than getting caught up in negative emotions, I encourage you to learn to let them be energy in motion.

Easier said than done sometimes, though huh?

So how do you deal with these hurtful circumstances or negative emotions? I’ve developed a 5-step process that I use. Caveat: when you first start using this process, it does take some time. However, it gets easier and faster the more often you do it.

1) Write down (or tell a trusted friend) what happened – the key here is to focus on the facts. Don’t add your interpretation of events or assume you know what the other person was thinking or feeling. It should be something like, “He said this and I said that.” Don’t add in your emotions yet – that’s coming in the next step. Don’t skip this step either. It’s important to get it down from almost a third-party point of view so you can gain more clarity about what actually happened.

2) Write down how you feel and why – this is where you get to feel those emotions. All that hurt, anger, sadness – get it out. Then dive into the why. Why did what he said to you upset you so much? Dive deep here – yes, our emotions are reactions to what happened in the moment; but on top of that, they are often also reactions to things that have happened in the past. This “double reaction” serves to intensify the emotional experience for us and sometimes may feel like it’s been blown up bigger than it would have been otherwise.

3) Figure out what needs to be done and why (realize the answer may be “nothing”) – from a third party perspective (this is why doing this process with a trusted friend can be helpful), figure out if there is anything that actually needs to be done here. For example, if you received a rude email or text from someone, do you need to respond? Today’s video goes more in depth on this step.

4) What do you want to do and why – this is where you get to say all of the things that you really want to do (even if you think it’s not appropriate to do). If you want to say something nasty to that person, this is where you get to write it down (note: you are not acting yet, you are just writing down what you really want to do). Then dive into your why. Why do want to do that or say that? Is it because you’re feeling vindictive? Is it because you’re hurting and you want them to know how much they hurt you? Are you trying to “right” a perceived “wrong?” Get it all out.

Breathe.

5) Decide what to do – this is where you look back at everything you wrote and decide what action step will be for your highest good (or in alignment with your Soul). We may want to say something nasty to someone that hurt us, but that likely is not in alignment with our highest good/Soul’s purpose. I like to think of Byron Katie’s advice here. She encourages us to ask ourselves 3 questions:  1) Is it true? 2) Is it kind (to us and to the other person – note that kind is not the same as nice – I talk more about this distinction in today’s video), and 3) Is it necessary?

I hope this series of steps helps you gain clarity on how to process your negative emotions. Let me know how it worked for you in the comments!

Communication is the Key: The Art of Self-Expression

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Key to my heartDo you know why my marriage failed? One reason – well maybe two:

  • I wasn’t true to me
  • My ex and I didn’t communicate

Yes, we had our once a year “are-we-going-to-stay-together-or-not” talks that bandaided us through for a few days, weeks or months, but it wasn’t enough.

I think lack of effective communication is a problem a lot of couples face, and one that I fully own up to as a problem I usually create for myself. Yet, it’s hard to be effective about communicating when you’re taught growing up that what everyone else thinks is more important than what you think. This goes doubly when you’re told by your ex that he doesn’t want to hear what you have to say.

So how do you learn to communicate effectively, get your point across, and your needs met?

This is something I am learning – and will share will you further in the upcoming Finding Your Voice ecourse – but here is what it boils down to for me:

  • Speak the same language – no, I’m not talking about English v. German. In truth, I’m not sure how to do this effectively all the time, but my point is that both parties need to feel heard and understood and not just by using “I” statements to parrot what the other person just said. I am talking about true understanding – and maybe some empathy thrown in for good measure.
  • If you can’t speak the same language yet, at least speak – let me give you an example of my not speaking when I should have and how remaining quiet didn’t help. J I broke down in tears Saturday night from emotional exhaustion (see my previous two blogs and you’ll get why) and my fabulous, wonderful man brought me a heating pad. It was a reasonable assumption that I might be crying because I was in physical pain. I had been complaining about short cycling again and cramping for the previous two days. But in the moment all I could think was, “You have no idea why I’m upset and this definitely isn’t the kind of pain a heating pad can fix.” I completely own up to the fact that it wasn’t his fault that he didn’t get it. He couldn’t as I neglected to communicate to him why I was upset in the first place.
  • Ask for help – when all else fails, ask for help – from someone with experience in whatever area you are struggling with or from the person you are having communication issues with. Believe me; it’s easier to communicate effectively when you’re asking for assistance rather than picking a fight. But, of course, that assumes that you actually know what you want and need so that you can ask someone for help to get that need/want met.

So what did I want/need in that moment? What I needed most of all was my man. His time; his undivided attention. It’s been a stressful month and we both have been lamenting that we need a weekend to just do nothing. So what set me off Saturday night? His contemplation of hosting ecstatic dance every weekend at a local yoga studio. So much for our weekend of doing nothing. And that hurt. Of course the worst part about it was my withdrawal, my ‘suffering in silence,’ my refusal to speak my truth. My man’s not a mind reader after all.

I finally emerged from the bathroom where I had retreated. We sat down and I expressed my concern. He assured me that it wasn’t decided yet – it was something they were considering, but that we didn’t have to be there every weekend, even if the group decided to host a dance every weekend. In less than a minute, I felt better. Had I only communicated my feelings to him in the first place, I might have avoided a breakdown. Who knows?

What I do know is this: Speak. Get your needs/wants out there. And no, it’s not selfish. No one is ever going to figure out what you need if you don’t tell them. So do yourself and everyone else a favor and speak your truth. I promise you’ll be one step closer to walking in your power and embracing the Goddess you are!

What do you do when you’re struggling to speak your truth? How do you handle it and get your point across? We’d love to hear your tips in the comments section below.

Connecting in – Madisyn Taylor

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“Connecting with our heart before speaking allows us to communicate what is really going on inside of us. When we are so taken by our emotions it is easy for us to just start talking and let our feelings guide us. Although this is an important part of uninhibited and natural expressions of love, if we give ourselves just a moment or so to connect our heart with our voice, we will be much more likely to get our message across clearly and honestly. By letting your words come from your heart today, you will be able to demonstrate your feelings effortlessly and openly today.”

 

~ Madisyn Taylor