This week, I have a new challenge for everyone. I challenge you to use "I" language. If you're not sure what the heck I'm talking about, read on -- this is powerful stuff.
What does it mean to use "I" language? Simply, it means when we talk to others we use "I" when speaking about ourselves, and not "you."
Benefits of "I" Language
For example, here's someone sharing about their divorce before learning to use "I" language: "Divorce is so difficult. You give so much, and then you find out it wasn't appreciated. It makes you feel hopeless and like you don't want to trust anyone again."
In this case, "you" language can be a way of denying or not owning our own experience. And it takes away the deeper benefits, the healing and life lessons that "I" language directly provides.
Here's the same person sharing the same story, using "I" language: "My divorce was so difficult. I gave so much, and then I found out it wasn't appreciated. It makes me feel hopeless and like I don't want to trust anyone again."
"I" language allows the person to more fully experience the truth of their situation, which can lead to greater self-awareness, healing, and growth.
Plus, if you're speaking about your own experience, you should refer to yourself and not the other person! It's your experience, not theirs! Using "I" language is a way of facing and owning our own experiences.
Practice and read the following "you" and "I" statements out loud.
"You" language: "When you respect and honor and take care of yourself, you are more able to do the same for others."
"I" language: "When I respect and honor and take care of myself, I am more able to do the same for others."
Using "I" Language in Conflicts
Another great use of "I" language is in conflicts, especially in business or marriage partnerships.
For example, here's a couple in conflict using "you" language: "You said we'd do this together, but you never take out the garbage or clean up around here. Can't you just do what you say you'll do? You are just like my ex."
This type of "you" language can put your partner on the defensive immediately and be hurtful. Not the best way to resolve the issue.
Here's the same person using "I" language: "I'm the only one whose been cleaning and taking out the garbage. I thought we agreed to do this together. I love you and I wish we could work this out."
"I" Language Empowers Us
"I" language is ownership language. It reinforces our responsibility for our inner choices and outer actions and reinforces that we have dominion over what we feel and how we respond, especially in challenging emotional situations. In summary, it increases our self awareness, empowers us, and is a catalyst for positive growth and healing.
Try stating the previous paragraph using "I" language!
"I" language is ownership language. It reinforces my responsibility for my inner choices and outer actions and reinforces that I have dominion over what I feel and how I respond, especially in challenging emotional situations. In summary, it increases my self awareness, empowers me, and is a catalyst for my positive growth and my healing.
That's your challenge this week! Start using "I" language instead of "you" language when you are talking about yourself and your own experiences.
As the poet Robert Frost wisely stated, "The best way out is always through." And "I" language directly supports us in getting through life in a more empowered way.
Your Life Coach,
Copyright 2012 Maddisen K. Krown M.A.
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