This is a guest post written by Rick Goodfriend.
Anger Management communication skills by Expressing Yourself Without Using Blame, Shame Or Guilt
Anger Management Meltdown:
I could feel my face turning red, a churning in my stomach, my breathing rapid almost out of control as she walks through the door, 30 minutes late for our meeting. This is the 3rd time in 3 weeks she is late for our weekly meetings. I think that I’m going to explode, emotions on high alert, yet I say nothing. I’m afraid of what she might say or do. I have to be nice. We go on with the meeting yet I can’t focus because my anger is building, building, building. All of a sudden from nowhere I slam my fist on the metal desk and yell out in desperation, “Do not ever come to this meeting late again!”
Her face turns crimson, eyes are glaring silver daggers and she screams back… Well, I’m sure you probably could guess what she said. I used to be the person above, afraid to express myself, building to a high crescendo of anger and other negative emotions, not saying what I wanted to say out of fear of what the response might be. That has all changed. Today, I am enjoying the freedom of speaking my truth, yet in an honest, open and compassionate way. I am also much calmer putting my concerns out on the table. Guessing that the courage came to me because I was exhausted and tired of saying to myself, “I should have spoken up after it was too late to do so.”
Not Expressing ourselves damages our body and mind:
Expressing ourselves honestly is one of the most challenging communication skills in business or our personal lives. Yet not expressing ourselves can cause damage to us physically and emotionally by causing depression, anger, and stress. On the other hand expressing ourselves when we are not calm or are unclear of our intention may damage our relationships. Instead of getting what we want, we receive anger or alienation back, as in the example above.
Expressing yourself without blame, shame, guilt or fear:
I’d like to share the expressing process that I use to bring about a more peaceful shift in my life. Hear are some simple steps to express yourself clearly and honestly and enjoy getting what you want. I use the example from above to model this technique.
Calm Yourself? The easy method: Emotional First Aid
Yes, calm yourself before expressing. I usually jump into the frigid Pacific Ocean to calm myself. An alternative to getting wet is a powerful technique by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg author of “Nonviolent communication, a language of life”:
Take several deep breaths: Identify your emotions in the moment. Ask yourself: right now am I __________ (upset, frustrated, nervous, or aggravated, etc.)?
Identify what values are not being met? Ask yourself slowly; Do I want ______________ ( consideration, respect, love, space, rest, calm, trust or dependability, etc.?) Dwell on these values. Imagine what it might look like if they were being met. Try this “first aid” technique during the day. You will be amazed how calming it can be. In fact, try it right now. It only takes a few seconds. I have a word taped to my computer reminding me to do this calming technique hourly.
Now we can proceed to expressing ourselves.
Identify what you are referring to with a clear observation (O),something that is stated as a quote, seen, heard that both people might agree to. Usually it is something you heard or could see. A quote is an easy observation that will keep a judgment from being stated or a fact that both of you could agree on.
An example of an observation (O):
(O) When you arrive 30 minutes after the meeting was scheduled, 3 weeks in a row
(O) When you stated you would be here at 9:00PM
2: Identify and state which of your values or needs (N) are not being met. (consideration, respect, dependability, love, space, rest, calm or trust, etc.? There is a list of needs and values at the link below to help you identify needs.. You would add, I value __________
Example: (O) When you arrived 20 minutes after the meeting started, (N) I value consideration for my time
3: The Request is a way to meet our needs.I need to have a clear and doable request for the other to meet my needs? If you miss the request to meet your needs, the above will sound like a demand. Always express a request and need. Many times we request without the need and it also sounds like a demand. So to be safe, always express with a need and request. In the example, notice how the request might meet the need for the need of consideration. Asking for a request may look like: Would you _________________? Make it as specific as possible. Always add a time specific if possible.
Example: (O) When I see you arrive 20 minutes after the meeting started, (N) I’m wanting consideration for my time, (R) would you call me the next time you will be over 20 minutes late?
There is a catch, This is important:
After you express yourself there usually will be the reply from the other person, usually an apology or anger. Step 1 will support you through this experience to staying calm. In addition, ask yourself, am I really ready to listen to the other for understanding? You don’t have to agree with them, just try to understand their needs. Again ask yourself, are they wanting consideration, respect, dependability, love, space, rest, calm or trust, to be heard, etc.?
If your intention is to manipulate or only get you’re needs met, go back to step 1 and continue to calm yourself. If your intention is to really connect with the other, to understand their needs and also value yours, then you are ready to communicate. Listen to understand their side without getting defensive or angry. I know, easier said than done, yet after they have been heard completely, they will be more willing to listen to you. Again go back to step one to calm yourself if you need to.
Don’t be nice, just honest! No more using guilt and shame in your conversations:
Expressing yourself honestly and openly is a gift to yourself and the other. It does take courage and does not mean that you have to be “nice”, just honest. “Nice” is not always honest. Using the process above will help bring a lasting calm to yourself and the relationship. Most Important, it isn’t really the words that make this process work. It is the intention to want to communicate honestly with the other person and then listen to them. After the other person has been heard, they are much more willing to hear you and come to a consensus and agreement.
So, express yourself honestly and bring more peace, trust, and calm to your world and others. The old slogan is true, “Peace begins with you.” Use this model with your friends, children, family, customers and even your boss. Deep down, don’t humans want to trust and hear honesty from each other? By the way, after I expressed myself as in the model above, the other person apologized and has been on time for our meetings since. From practicing this skill, I have a renewed sense of freedom. A sort of space in my emotions which helps to free up my compassion of others.
Expert Listening Skills you can have now:
Listening skills is the other part of communication. Try to really stay open and understand their needs. After both of you have been heard, then the strategies to mend the situation will come easy. If you try to arrive at strategies before both of you have been heard, this process may become difficult. Wait for a sigh or notice a release of yourself or the other person before going to strategy. Try to be patient because the longer that both of you can stay in peaceful dialog, the more lasting and comfortable the results will be. This is anger management that works and will keep your emotions and conflicts at an all time low. One last tip: If the conversation starts getting intense, take a time out and go to the restroom to offer yourself emotional first aid using the easy method above.
Personal and business communication skills are never an easy subject, yet Rick Goodfriend wants communication with others to be easier, more satisfying. A CD written by Rick Goodfriend on “Calming Angry Customers, Instantly” is located at http://RickGoodfriend.com
Successful communication with anybody is possible with the proactive skills taught. Rick Goodfriend is also a co-creator and host of a television show on proactive communication and resides in Santa Barbara, California.
Rick Goodfriend is also a certified corporate speaker and can provide keynotes, trainings and consultation for your business or organization.
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