The Power of "I"

August 27, 2014

“I” statements are a wonderful means of communicating because they maintain a respectful attitude toward the receiver while enabling you to say how it is on your side.  In healthy two-way communication, practicing these statements not only helps your assertiveness, but also increases your self-confidence in the process.

 

First, to properly grasp the benefits of using “I” Statements, it would be best to examine the opposite “You” statements:

 

You didn’t…

You never…

You haven’t…

You always…

 

Now, imagine how you would feel hearing someone say these things to you. Angry? Hurt? Ashamed? These statements do little other than put the receiver in a defensive position and create emotional distance between both parties.

 

Let’s take the example of a “you” statement:

“You were supposed to change over the laundry! You are stressing me out!”

 

Did you sense the finger pointing? Now, let’s look at how this could be changed over to an “I” statement in a few simple steps:

 

Step 1 is the foundation of great communication. Stop what both of you are doing, turn off distractions, and make eye contact. This turning towards each other creates a connection of the heart as well as the mind. It is important that if you are feeling flooded with overwhelming feelings, to take some time out to self-soothe before beginning.  

 

Step 2 is to identify your feelings about the situation. This isn’t always easy, and takes practice without being blameful.  

“I’m feeling overwhelmed with how much cleaning needs to get done today.”

 

Step 3 is to simply state your need.

“I would really appreciate help with the laundry.”

 

Using “I” statements creates an opportunity to better understand each other.  Remember to take it slow. At first, using “I” statements will feel strange, but with practice you will feel better connected to each other as well as create an atmosphere of empathy around day-to-day situations!

 

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As a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor, a Gottman Method Couples Therapist, and a Canadian Certified Addiction Counsellor, I provide compassionate, confidential, non-judgemental, and insightful counselling services to individuals, couples, and families in Vernon, B.C.

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