I Feel Like…

Posted on February 17, 2021 by Nate Regier / 1 comments
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A lot of my work involves helping leaders navigate conflict that creates positive outcomes instead of degenerating into drama. This is Compassionate Accountability¬ģ, and it starts with being transparent about our feelings. Unless we take 100% responsibility for our feelings, which includes sharing them with others, our path toward win-win solutions will be obscured.

There is a right to share your feelings.

I feel [insert feeling].

No blaming. No hedging. No minimizing. No excuses.

Easier said than done. Sometimes it’s really difficult to identify our feelings, and even harder to express them in an appropriate way during conflict. It’s a lot easier to make assumptions, blame, or jump to conclusions about other people’s motives.

Conclusions masquerading as feelings.

Although it sounds very similar, beware of conclusions masquerading as feelings. It sounds like this;

“I feel like you don’t respect me.”

“I feel like I can’t speak up.”

“I feel like nobody cares.”

None of these statements are feelings. Whenever you insert the word “like,” what follows is not a feeling.

Like turns the word feel into a conclusion.

It could be your assumptions about a person, an opinion about what you are experiencing, or an accusation. These are conclusions, not feelings.

When I’m coaching leaders and they use “like,” I ask follow-up questions to get to the feeling beneath the conclusion;

“When someone doesn’t respect you, how do you feel?”

“When you consider speaking up, how do you feel?”

“When you think nobody cares, how do you feel?”

Next time you start a sentence with “I feel like…,” be aware that you aren’t sharing a feeling. If your intention is to be transparent about your feelings, then get rid of the “like.”


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1 Comments

Photo of Shary Tompkins
Shary Tompkins
Posted on February 17, 2021

Great article! I never realized the impact that one word “like” has on the entire impact of a statement. Thank you for nuancing that difference for me – I’ll endeavor to take on the practice of leaving out that word myself, and help others to do so by asking the questions you shared.

Photo of Nate Regier
Nate Regier
Posted on February 18, 2021

Much appreciated Shary. I’d love to hear how it goes.

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