Check out this power point summary highlighting the key points to consider when implementing “I-messages.”
Most of you, at some point in time, have found yourselves in confrontation with another person that left you feeling hurt or let down. And when you opened up the channels for discussion, you may have found that the arguments went on and on for what seemed like an eternity. There may have been a lot of yelling, and those involved may even have stopped talking to each other for days on end.
Such toxic conversations may have started with phrases like, “You broke your promise.” “You weren’t listening to me.” “You are so rude.” Or “Who do you think you are?!”
And I can pretty much guarantee that these responses provoked defensive or hostile reactions from your opponent. Your opponent may have felt like they were being blamed and so they started to deny their wrong-doing and possibly started to blame back. This familiar pattern easily sets the stage for a lengthy argument and continued conflict.
When people start using “I-messages” in their conversations with family members, work colleagues, or anyone they are in conflict with, they are generally rewarded in a variety of ways. Not only do the “I-messages” bring about changes in the behavior of the people involved, they also have the potential to foster positive changes in the relationships between people. Some even feel more confident when a kinder and healthier relationship pattern is used, and begin to gather the courage to tackle complex problems with greater ease. Others begin to accept that their needs are indeed important and start to express them more freely. People also report standing up for their own rights more frequently, as well as gaining a better understanding of what goes on in the minds and hearts of those around them. Many people have experienced that their use of “I-messages” in communication exchanges greatly reduced nagging and arguing. And they found it unnecessary to resort to using rewards and punishments to facilitate change. Others who use this “I-message” pattern report that they have become more open and honest in communicating with others, not only with spouses and friends, but also with work colleagues and supervisors.
Many people are surprised to discover how often the people around them demonstrate a willingness to help or make a change once they are respectfully told that they have hurt another. In addition, they are amazed that most people really do have the ability to find creative and appropriate solutions after realizing they had been causing a problem for you.
What is an I-Message?
“I-messages” simply state a problem, without blaming someone for it. This makes it easier for the other side to help solve the problem, without having to admit that they were wrong.
What does an I-Message do?
• has a high probability of changing the behavior of another person when you find that behavior unacceptable
• shows ownership and respect for self
• protects the self-esteem of the other person
• preserves the quality of the relationship between you and the other person
• helps the other person better understand what goes on between the two of you, allowing them to improve their performance
When can I messages be used?
“I-messages” can be used to explain your concern when you own a problem. Other types of “I-messages” can be used to share your views and feelings when there is no problem. However, “I-messages” should never be used to manipulate someone.
“I” messages themselves usually contains three elements:
(1) A description of the behavior, what actually happened
(2) The actual, concrete, tangible effects of that behavior on ME
(3) How I feel about the behavior and its’ effects
You may be very angry about the other person’s behavior, but you remain focused on the issue you are angry about. For example, let’s imagine you are car-pooling with a friend to work who has a tendency to be late. This, in turn, causes you to be late and fall behind at work. If you let your anger build up and fuel your behavior you might say, “I’m sick and tired of you coming late every morning and causing me work problems. How can you be such an insensitive jerk?” Such a comment might make you feel good for the moment. After all, your friend caused you pain. Right? Indeed, your comment probably would hurt your friend. And, in some cases you actually may resolve the problem in the process of this caustic exchange, but you also run the risk of stirring up anger or resentment in the relationship, which could cause some people to be deliberately late out of spite. You may weaken or even lose the friendship entirely.
Consider saying something like… “I get frustrated and upset (how I feel) when you pick me up late in the morning because (why I feel as I do) it bothers me to get a late start on my work and makes me feels rushed all day long. I would really like for you to pick me up each morning at the time we agreed upon (what the other can DO to make the problem better for you) so that I can get my work done adequately and have a smooth day. Thank you for considering my needs and point of view.”
“I” statements were originally developed by Dr. Haim Ginott, a noted psychologist who determined that statements starting with “I” tended to be less provocative than those starting with “you.” However, it isn’t necessary to always start a sentence with “I.” Rather, the focus needs to be on how you feel about a situation, which you clearly state, and not on how terrible the other person is for causing it. Along these lines, psychologist John Gottman, a respected relationship specialist, points to the importance of introducing our complaints in a “softer” non-critical, non-contemptuous way if we are to improve communication with others.
It would be nice if we never had relationship problems, but we do. Learning to manage such problems is our best hope. Using “I-messages” to communicate our concerns is one way to handle everyday interpersonal difficulties. Communicating our annoyance, irritation, frustration, and anger in a more controlled and respectful fashion is truly an effective outlet for these negative feelings. And in the process, we are less likely to cause reactions that may serve only to perpetuate our problems.
Here is a link to a great resource with more information about “I-messages.”
There are many modern conceptions of love. Love is the way lovers relate to each other. They may view love in more than one way at a time or may view love in different ways at different times. For example, you may love your husband because he is the father of your children, or you may love your husband because he is always there for you.
Ludus or Ludic love is the kind of love that is played as a game, refuses to become dependent on any one person, and does not encourage another’s intimacy. You have to have two essential skills with this type of love — you must be able to juggle several partners at the same time and manage each relationship so that no one partner is seen too often. Don Juan is an example of this “love ‘em and leave ‘em” type of love.
Pragma love is love for practical reasons. You assess your partner on the basis of assets and liabilities. Economic security is important. In the movie, “As Good As It Gets,” Melvin (Jack Nicholson) has a pragmatic love for Carol (Helen Hunt). For Melvin, Carol puts up with his compulsiveness, and for Carol, Melvin gets a doctor to care for her son.
Eros love is found in modern times. It is the love of passion and romance. Rose and Jack in the movie, “Titanic” had Eros. Eros is the most common type of love between college students. The longer a couple stays together, though, the less the passion and romance. The high level of passion and romance found in this kind of love is hard to maintain on a daily basis. We find that over time, love remains, but it is in a new form.
Mania is the intense emotion and sexual passion of love that gets out of control. It is possessive and dependent, and one must have the beloved at all costs. An example would be when your husband comes home and tells you that he wants a divorce, and you kill him so that no one else will ever have him. (Don’t do this!)
Storge is calm, soothing, nonsexual love devoid of intense passion. It is based on respect, friendship, commitment, and familiarity. This is what Eros usually turns into the longer a couple stays together. The partners deeply care about each other, but not always in a romantic and lustful sense. Their love is more likely to endure than a fleeting romance.
Agape love is selfless and giving, a love that expects nothing in return. It is a nurturing and caring love, where partners are concerned only about the welfare and growth of each other. The love parents have for their children can often be described as the agape love style.
Romantic love is described as being profoundly tender or passionate affection for another person, strong emotion characterized by intense feelings, a strong desire to be together, to have both positive and negative emotions, strong feelings of sexual attraction and desire for physical contact, and unselfishness or altruism. There are a variety of romantic loves, also. Limerence is the romance love type where one is obsessed with their loved one. Narcissistic love is the love of self as reflected in the other person. Infatuation is a state of passion or attraction that is not based on reason.
The one type of love to base a marriage on is Conscious love. This type of love sees the other person realistically, not blinded by passion or emotion. If a marriage is only based on romantic love it may not be sustained as romantic love fades over time.
Love also has a biological basis. Sexual arousal produces intense physiological changes in the body and these changes facilitate attraction. Increased levels of dopamine and noreinephrine in the bloodstream bathe the pleasure center with chemical messages after being triggered by the neurotransmitters, which are activated by visual cues. Serotonin secretion is stimulated by romantic love and results in a feeling of intense pleasure. Companionate love or conjugal love produces endorphins or a sense of tranquility. These endorphins are less emotional, passionate, and exciting, and are characterized by companionship, calmness, comfort, and security.
Friendship love or companionate love is when two people like each other and have a relationship. This is a good basis for marriage because it can be sustained.
Altruistic love is the unselfish concern for the well being of another. Eric Fromm describes love as an activity that is primarily giving and not receiving. He thought love had four basic components:
1. care – a woman who says she loves flowers and therefore waters them
2. responsibility – as a response, not a duty
3. respect – for the individual that you want to see develop to their full potential
4. knowledge – knowing the other person realistically
Are love and sex the same thing?
Freud said that they were.
Reik said that sex was a biological function, and that love was an emotional satisfaction.
What do you think?