The most free and easy way to be honest with others is to share your truth and perspective without an emotional charge or judgement.
The saying goes…
“You can share anything with anyone from a calm, judgement-free state and people will be able to hear what you say without resistance. You can share very little, if anything, with people from a state of emotional charge or judgement — and not get emotional reactions or other types of resistance back.”
There are distinctions between having an emotional charge, being emotional, judgmental and empathic:
- emotional charge: you speak or act from a state of emotion such as anger
- being emotional: a condescending term people use when describing people who express an emotional charge, especially if the emotions change from one hour/day to the next
- judgements: assessing someone/something as good or bad
- being empathic: being sensitive to one’s own and other’s emotions and relating to them
To share the perspective in this blog, I’m making assumptions that:
- we each have our own truth from our perspectives
- it’s valuable to honor and share our truth with others
- it’s important to listen and honor other’s truths
- judgements (vs discernment) limit our ability to see what’s factual in the moment
What Do You Do?
Most people share news (that’s either sad, exciting or anything in between) from a state of emotional charge and/or further judgement. In fact, if you feel an emotion, it means you’ve judged something as good, bad or otherwise.
An example: let’s say you’re a doctor and you need to give your patient some bad news. You feel terrible about not being to help more and you go to see your patient from that state. Because you feel terrible, you share the bad news from a state of emotional charge and judgement that the news is “bad,” which intensifies the conversation. The patient is more likely to “hear” or respond to the emotions and judgement rather than the news. That creates likely misunderstandings and judgements, as well as the spread of emotional charge through emotional contagion.
There’s a distinction between news and bad news. News about one’s medical/health situation is what it is. Judging it as “bad” makes the situation more difficult to sort through. In either case, you’ll need to find a solution.
It’s not to say that doctors (or anyone) should not feel when they share news with patients, rather they can get to a calm inner state and then share the news. You can get to a calm inner state by breathing deeply, meditating, taking a walk or even assess what you’re judging about the situation and make appropriate shifts. Again, whenever you’re feeling an emotional charge, it means you’ve judged the situation as good/bad and you’re reacting to that. Results are mere results until we judge them. So, as a doctor, you may judge yourself as a “failure” because you’re not able to help your patient more. Maybe you think you should be able to solve every medical / health problem to be a good doctor. But, if you thought that you always do your best and that’s the best that good doctors can do, you can see yourself with a judgement-free perspective and see the situation without involving your own goodness or badness, so to speak. You are likely to empathize with your patient and feel sad they have to experience bad news, pain and the like, yet you won’t have to hold onto the unpleasant emotion that will drain your energy over time.
When you speak from a calm, neutral state, the information that’s shared is more “clean” without emotional charge and judgement and can be heard more readily. The focus will then go to how your patient feels and the medical / healthcare options available. Since there is only one person “emoting,” so to speak, or having an emotional charge (the patient), the discussion is less intense than if both you and the patient were upset. This allows a more “clean” way of communicating, without invalidating or undermining any emotion(s).
It’s never good to ignore your emotions or stuff them down. It’s always good to emote, listen to and learn from your emotions. Yet, timing matters.
For example: I can be frustrated that my project isn’t working, yet take a jog to let go of that frustrated energy. I come back to the office and feel more calm. I talk to my colleague about my frustration from an even keel, a calm tone, without talking about the frustration FROM a state of frustration. In that instance, it’s easy to talk about and learn from emotions, and in essence, I can talk to my colleagues all day about them without exhausting anyone. Instead of focusing on the emotional charge, we can focus on solutions to the frustration.
IF, however, I talk about my frustration FROM the state of frustration, my colleagues will get tired (and likely, frustrated!) and things will spiral into a less energized feeling with little attention to solving the frustration.
Test and expand your own freedom to share your truth:
First — assess what you tend to do. Do you speak from an emotional charge or a neutral state? Can you tell the difference in the moment of the emotion?
Second — get feedback from your family, friends and colleagues. Ask them if you tend to share news from an emotional or calm state. Ask for nuances…maybe you share news from an emotional state when you’re angry, but not other times. Sleuth around to learn more about yourself from others’ points of view.
Third — draw out your common triads (the internal architecture of the human experience) to decompose what you actually think and feel when sharing your truth or specific news. Notice what you learn about yourself and reflect on it without judgment.
Fourth — draw out an ideal triad — the one you want to use when you’re sharing your truth or specific news without an emotional charge and judgement.
Fifth — practice calming yourself before sharing news and see how it works for you — how it feels and how the others respond to this approach.
Enjoy the process and feel free to share your experiences with us! 🙂
[Image from Freepik]