We made it to June, and the end of another school year is here! In these busy days before we launch into summer, there seems to be an endless list of work to be done, meetings and events to attend, and people wanting to have important conversations. When we are pressed for time, our communication may not be at its best. Miscommunications and misunderstandings happen. We move so fast that it’s a challenge to think about what we are feeling and what we really need from others. It’s even a bigger challenge to take the time express these thoughts and feelings to someone to get clarification and, ultimately, connection.

At Soul Shoppe we use a tool to help us express our feelings and needs in a way that helps us keep our relationships healthy. It supports us to be heard so there can be more understanding with the people in our lives. Too often we don’t take the time to identify the words needed to share our true feelings about an experience. That can lead to resentment, unexpressed hurt, sadness or anger — and these feelings create a wall of separation between ourselves and the people we care about.

Welcome to the I-Message. The I-Message tool consists of four steps, each with its own small risk, where you have to get a little bit vulnerable and do things slightly differently in order to build stronger connections –both to ourselves and to others.

I feel … (usually a feeling word)
When …
I need … (what do YOU really need?)
Will you please …

And here’s how it might work in real life. We recently talked with a person who was having some challenging feelings with their spouse. They were upset that their spouse was sitting on the couch doing nothing. Initially, what they wanted to say was, “Will you get off the couch?!?” in a voice filled with attitude and accusation. We asked this person to talk more about what they were really feeling and what they needed, and they shared that they wanted connection. With that in mind, they created this I-Message:

I feel lonely
WhenI don’t have connection and attention
I need some time with you
Will you please let me know when we can connect?

Imagine that request came to you. Would you be receptive to that message and open to building connection? Probably. Entering into this process is about taking responsibility for ourselves. When we own what we feel and ask for what we need, we empower ourselves without disempowering someone else. That’s so much better than getting surprised by what we are feeling and not getting what we need!

We invite you to try out the I-Message the next time you feel yourself in a reaction. Take a step back and pause to notice and name what you are feeling. What happened just before the feeling? What do you need now? Then put it in the frame of an I-Message and say it to someone. Notice the response you get and how connection opens up. Most of all, notice the difference you feel within yourself. Every time we take the time to get in touch with our own feelings and have the courage to voice our needs, we take a step closer to creating the connected, loving relationships we want in our lives.

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Scheduling Now for the 2018-19 School Year

Are you thinking about bringing Soul Shoppe’s award winning programs to your school? Get in touch! Contact us for more information or to book for the 2018-19 school year. Find out what others have to say about the impact our programs have had.