Describing Own Feelings
Describing your own feelings helps others to understand how you feel so that they can respond to you with greater efficacy. although feelings get expressed in many different ways, usually people make no attempt to describe or identify directly the feelings themselves. When you merely express your feelings, the other person must try to infer your emotional state from a variety of cues. Since these cues are often ambiguous or even contradictory, the likelihood of misperception is great. When you directly describe your own feelings, however, the chance of misinterpretation and resultant action based on false assumptions are decreased.
Dissatisfaction and hostile feelings often indicate that faulty communication and misunderstanding have occurred. When these feelings arise, you and the other person should discuss how each sees the situation or the relationship. In this way, you may discover that your feelings come from misperceptions of the situation or misunderstandings of the motives of the other person. More accurate communication should cause the hostile feelings to abate. On the other hand, if your feeling of rejection are a response to the actions of the other person, he may want to change this own behavior. This desire for change is particularly likely if the other becomes aware that his actions are arousing feelings i you or others that he does not intend. In this case, you have helped him to reduce his "blind area" by providing him with a description of your own feelings.
There are strong norms in our culture against expressing emotions openly and also again acknowledging that you perceive the other to be experiencing the description of feelings the most difficult of the skills presented here. They often ask for guideline regarding the appropriate times to describe your feelings. One of the best criteria, with regard to negative feelings at least, is to ask yourself whether you are going to harbor anxious or resentful feelings against the other. You should share your feelings when you feel that you will be uncomfortable if you do not.
The aim in describing your own feelings is to provide the other with accurate information about your emotional state. It should not be an effort to coerce the other into changing his annoying actions so that you will not feel as you do. Do not threaten the other with your feelings. By reporting your inner state, you are providing information that is necessary if the two of you are to understand each other and improve your relationship.