Feeling Talk: "I Anger Myself", "I Delight Myself"It's All An Inside Job
2011 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.
0. Emotionally reactive and verbally blaming:
At this pre-level one is emotionally reactive and blaming others for his or her
emotional experience. "You are" statements, such as, "You are angering
me" and, "You made me love you," are characteristic. The person
often feels overwhelmed, out of control and taken advantage of, much like being
in the role of a victim. This is akin to someone acting as if they were a billiard
ball being knocked around the billiard table of life by other billiard balls in
the form of people, circumstances, feelings, thoughts, behaviors and oneself.
The view is expressed in what can be called the dreaded "to me's, on me's,
at me's, upon me's and made me's!" Other than acts of victimization, this
is pure nonsense. One can create a great deal of emotional drama in their interpersonal
life. Such behavior tends to be off-putting to others and drive them away. One
might estimate that at least 70 percent, and as much as 90 percent, of the world
operates on this level at the present time.
1. Triggers are named and
linked to emotions: At first level the person is able to identify the trigger(s)
in their environment that are linked with their feelings, mood and emotional state
and make an "I statement" about it. For example, "When you look
away while I'm talking with you, I get angry and upset," and "When you
look into my eyes like this, I feel so warm and secure." The person attributes
their bodily feeling feedback to something outside themselves, such as another's
behavior, mood, attitude and words. At this level there is the conscious awareness
that you are "letting", "permitting", and "allowing"
another's behavior to influence your feeling, mood and emotional state. For instance
you may say, "I sure could let myself react with anger to your cold distant
behavior," or "I can easily allow myself to join you in your joy."
This stage is a preliminary step toward "feeling straight" given the
heightened awareness level and making an "I feel" statement in locating
themselves as the one experiencing the feeling, instead of projecting and blaming
one's feeling state onto others, circumstances and situations. Possibly some 5
percent to 10 percent of the world operates on this first level of straight feeling
talk at this point in our development.
2. Triggers are perceived as "set-ups"
for specific feelings and choice is present: At this level one perceives specific
behaviors, attitudes, thoughts and situations as "set-ups" or "lead-ins"
for specific individual (or collective) feeling/emotional states given past conditioning.
For illustration, a woman may perceive a male interrupting her speaking and then
verbalize, "Boy, I see this interruption as really setting me up to feel
hurt, wounded and angered. Instead of going ballistic, which I oh so easily could
do, I request you acknowledge your behavior, own it, clean it up with an apology,
commit to not interrupt again and allow me to complete my idea, thank you."
At this level there is the conscious awareness of "letting", "permitting",
and "allowing" your feeling, mood and emotional state to be associated
or linked with (not "caused by") another's behavior. For example you
can say, "I won't permit your nasty words and upset behavior to ruin my good
time out tonight," or "I can permit myself the pleasure of soaking up
One able to sincerely communicate in this fashion and
operate on a level of honesty regarding past emotional conditioning of emotionally
hot "set-ups" and "lead-ins" usually commands attention, respect
and to be taken seriously. This is the pivotal stage in weaning from the untoward
distorting influence of our ego mind in turning a feeling into a mood or emotion,
while recovering our ability to notice and feel a feeling all the way through
our bodies to decode what it is telling us. It would seem that only a small percentage
of the world, perhaps 2 or 3 percent of the world operates on this level of straight
feeling talk currently.
3. Feelings are perceived, verbalized and processed
in a "straight" fashion: On this high level the person is willing
to be on-purpose with their feeling life by perceiving and accepting the outer
set-ups and lead-ins as "just what's so" as well as cognitively holding
the feeling feedback as all theirs. For illustration, the person in the above
example might say, "The truth is I'm making myself hurt and angry
over what I perceive as you being rude and unaware. I would really prefer if you
would acknowledge stepping on my words, apologize and let me finish." Other
illustrations of taking complete ownership (not responsibility) of your feeling,
mood and emotional state is saying, "I'm really delighting and enjoying myself
in this conversation!", "I can see how I'm just frustrating myself over
this darn lawnmower not working," and "I totally own getting passionate
over my vision of our new house."
At this level one is able to acknowledge
what we all do in helping orchestrate our feeling lives. "I'm making myself"
and "I am creating myself feeling" are honest forms of straight feeling
expression. "I'm upsetting myself over" and "I'm letting myself
feel joy over" are an honest form of being feeling straight. While emotions
deriving from past conditioning held by our thinking ego minds may arise, it can
be ever more swiftly identified, witnessed and surrendered over and over again.
transformational approaches can be helpful in processing through and releasing
the "emotional charge" on incomplete past traumas as well as functionally
and affirmatively "writing over" past survival decisions. The ability
to own and take responsibility for how you perceive, verbalize and process
the feeling feedback present is what's critical-not for the feeling itself.
One can only guess how few people, possibly .1 percent of the world, operate on
this level of honest feeling talk at the present time. Of course, the pre-level
and all three levels of straight feeling talk are absolutely available to everyone
with awareness. Awareness practically translates into bringing a willingness
and follow through in actions for growth and development of Awareness and Consciousness.
so long as there is a separate "I," that is, the imaginary self or ego
thinking it is your identity, it is only that "I" that is being allowed
to upset or anger or hurt itself; who you are simply goes on for the ride witnessing
it all. On the highest level, there is no "I-thought" or "self"
present, only feelings as bodily feedback on our inner and outer environments.
Listening in presence opens up life.