North Carolina Social Security Solutions: Communicating Your Feelings and Needs More Effectively

November 23, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

In several posts on this North Carolina social security disability blog, we’ve discussed how important it is for sick and injured people to stand up for themselves, make their voices heard, and communicate their feelings and needs in clear, concise, powerful ways.

Unfortunately, many of us have been so poorly trained in how to communicate that we blunt our ability to get the help we need — not just from friends and family members, but also from important resources like a North Carolina social security disability law firm.

Why is it so difficult to communicate? Why, despite all of your powerful and painful needs, can you not get them met?

Part of the problem might be the actual language you use – how you structure your requests, criticisms, and even your self-talk.

In modern American society, we tend to conflate observations with judgments and feelings, and we tend to deny responsibility of our own feelings when we say things like we “should do x, y, z” or “we have to.” We also say things like such and such person “made me feel” sad, angry, happy, lonely, etc. In this language of self-denial, we automatically make ourselves the victims. If an Administrative Law Judge hands down a verdict we don’t like, we give the judge power over us by saying he or she “made me furious” or the decision “made me helpless.”

Furiousness and helplessness are states of the mind. Certain actions or events can trigger these states of mind, but the feelings’ roots are internal. Until we learn to separate objective actions from internal reflections about those actions, we are doomed to give up some control and power.

Let’s apply this philosophy to a real life situation. Let’s say that a judge gives a ruling that you don’t like. Instead of saying “the judge made me angry,” or “the judge is idiot” – statements of blame and judgment that really don’t get you anywhere – reflect on your own feelings about what happened. You might say: “boy, when the judge handed down that ruling, I felt humiliated and angry, because I have a need for money to pay my bills and also a need to resolve my North Carolina Social Security Disability situation.”

Notice how, in the second way of thinking about it, we have detached the objective reality (the judge’s ruling) from your feelings (frustration, humiliation), and we have also unearthed two crucial needs – a need for money and a need for resolution of your SSD situation. Now that you know those two needs, you can think strategically about how to meet those needs. In other words, you are no longer helpless: you are empowered.

More Web Resources:

Separating Observation from Feelings

Non-violent Communication

 
 

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