Feelings Versus Thoughts and Beliefs
Feelings and thoughts are different, but also are one and the same. They are like the head and tail of a coin. We react to events with both thoughts and feelings. Feelings are emotions, and sensations, and they are different from thoughts, beliefs, interpretations, and convictions. When difficult feelings are expressed, the sharp edges are dulled, and it is easier to release or let go of the bad feeling. If we only express our beliefs about the event and not the feelings, the bad feelings linger and are often harder to release. Whenever someone says, "I feel that..." the person is about to express a belief, not a feeling.
Guidelines For Expressing Feelings
Try to be specific rather than general about how you feel. Consistently using only one or two words to say how you are feeling, such as bad or upset, is too vague and general. What kind of bad or upset? (irritated, mad, anxious, afraid, sad, hurt, lonely, etc.).
Specify the degree of the feelings, and you will reduce the chances of being misunderstood. For example, some people may think when you say, "I am angry" means you are extremely angry when you actually mean a "little irritated".
When expressing anger or irritation, first describe the specific behavior you don’t like, then your feelings. This helps to prevent the other person from becoming immediately defensive or intimidated when they first hear "I am angry with you", and they could miss the message.
If you have mixed feelings, say so, and express each feeling and explain what each feeling is about. For example: "I have mixed feelings about what you just did. I am glad and thankful that you helped me, but I didn’t like the comment about being stupid. It was disrespectful and unnecessary and I found it irritating".