The Magic Formula for Expressing Hurt Feelings

by Melissa Karnaze

Erlenmeyer flask and test tubesIf we could all just be more emotionally honest with ourselves and others, the world would be a much different place.

Sounds easy, right?

Then why is it so hard?!?

Well, being straightforward about your feelings is a challenge when you grow up in a culture that polarizes emotions as out to get you and paints them as the take-down of your logical, rational mind (which is an irrational fear).

But no matter how dysfunctional your cultural programming is, you can still reprogram your beliefs about emotions and their role in your life.

This formula is good for you

You’ve probably already learned from elementary school about the easy way to express your feelings without putting anyone else on the defensive in a mean way.

It’s a magic formula helps you put your feelings back into perspective by reminding you that:

    • Your feelings form your reaction to a given situation
      and
    • It is your response ability to work with them independently, and if need be communicate them constructively — whenever someone else has given you cause for pain or any other uncomfortable feeling.

The formula is:

I feel this when you do that.

Or, for when you need to try extra hard to get the other person’s attention:

When you do that, I feel this.

Sometimes it’s more productive to finish the statement with “because…”

But if you’re lucky enough to be talking to someone who cares about you, who won’t argue with or deflect your feelings, then the conversation that follows will fill in that “because…” if it was fuzzy to begin with.

Magic won’t solve all your problems, but will get you started

And if you’re not so lucky, well you can healthily deflect right back, and be on your way, knowing that you at least had the courage and the follow-through to confront the problem and begin finding constructive responses to your pain.

Because in the end, your pain is yours. You must deal with it alone. It just helps you deal when you communicate your pain to those who have given you cause for it.

It doesn’t mean they will see how their actions hurt you or understand your point of view — but it will mean that you chose to react peacefully rather than in retaliation, which can happen consciously or subconsciously so.

That retaliation accounts for most of the mess that our world finds itself in today.

Change the world with magic

So use the magic formula. If it seems silly or petty at first — good.

You may have found your roundabout ticket to success; take your time to judge it if you have to, and to reflect on how tough, together, or adult you want to appear.

And soon enough, you’ll see that using magic is the most adult thing you can do.

It’s a simple formula, but it’s not always easy.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Steven Aitchison September 23, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Hi Melissa, this is a good article on emotions and expressing them. I think a lot of people would benefit from this as we don’t know how to express our feelings well. I would say males have an especially difficult time expressing emotions because of the role they are seen to have in society.

Thanks for sharing the magic fomula.

Melissa Karnaze September 24, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Steven, thanks for the comment. I agree that males are generally raised to have difficulty expressing their emotions. It’s a sad situation, but I think parenting and society in general are evolving so that this gender gap isn’t so strong.

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