I've had a few events pop up in my life lately. All of them rather touchy subjects. All of them brought out the need for *I* statements.
What is an I statement? It's a statement that expresses your feelings, but doesn't place blame. There are a few subjects are too touchy to make broad, generalizing *you* statements (religion, politics, child bearing/rearing, money) without pissing off some of the people that you are speaking with.
The idea came home last month, when chatting at a support group got rather accusatory. I waited until things quieted down, and suggested using *I* statements when expressing feelings. "I get rather up set with this group of people because....." "I get frustrated when...."
I wish I had started putting this into practice years ago.
At one point, I wanted children. The failing marriage kinda killed that. But the nail in the coffin were the mothers that thought that they knew the "one true way" of parenting. Like if you don't do it that way you're wrong! I'll never forget the one day a friend posted something to Facebook, and I commented, saying that a friend did..well... whatever she did.. and that it worked for her. I was then informed that what she did was awful! And that it damages kids in the long run.
Now if the answer was posted as "I have done research about that, and it leads me to conclude that the practice is not right for my family, but I'm glad it worked for your friend," it wouldn't have been so off-putting.
It's just that one piece of advice. I hear tale of my pregnant- and mother-friends getting bombarded with conflicting advice. Like the advice is some holy grail and to not take it is equal to child abuse.
Well, I've done the research. There is no one true way. For ANYTHING. There's only the way that works best for you, or jives with your personal set of beliefs.
So now, some *I* statements.
- I understand that your (religion, political view, moral position on a controversial topic) may be what you truly believe, but it isn't want I believe. Now we are welcome to have a civilized discussion about it, but you will not change my mind. Please do not get upset when I argue my position, this will be a discussion, not a sales pitch.
- I understood that you've done the research on (insert child rearing/childbirth method, and that it works for your family. While your information is appreciated, it may not work for every family. And yes, I have done the research, and have made my decision that I do not what children. If I change my mind later, there is always foster children.
- I understand that coupons will save your money, but I have tried that, and it never has worked for me. If you know of any other money saving strategies, I'd love to hear them.
- I'm very sorry, but when you quote scripture, and only quote scripture as an answer to me in our discussion, this is where the discussion ends. I do not believe that you are truly listening to me when you only quote the bible as an answer.
And the most important
I do not believe that you need to agree with everything that I say and believe for us to get along.
Try it. Switch to *I* statements when having discussions (or arguments). See how it works for you.