When expressing how you’re feeling, I’ve realised that it’s key to state this in the purely personal tense. This avoids any reaction from others who might not feel how you do, and it opens the door to discussion about the different ways in which we all perceive the world.

For instance:

‘I’m cold.’

As opposed to:

‘It’s cold.’

Even if it’s -25 it’s possible that someone else might not, for any number of reasons, be the feeling col. The point is, neither of you is wrong; you’re both describing the way your body is responding to the climate.

It’s been my experience that certain people in my life have, for whatever reason, decided to deny me my own feelings. What does this look like?

Me: ‘It’s so cold today!’

Other person: ‘It’s not cold, what are you on about? You don’t need to put that woolly hat/scarf/big coat on.’

Because I’d been programmed to listen to the opinions of others, and ignore my own self, I would go out without the hat/scarf/coat, be freezing cold and thoroughly miserable.

This type of thing can be considered gaslighting, which is a whole other discussion. But generally, to give people the benefit of the doubt, it’s simply a lack of awareness that we all exist in our own unique states, and that not everyone else experiences the world just as we do.

To get around this is, and to open up curiosity about the other, getting into the habit of speaking from the ‘I’ perspective is a very useful practice.

Give it a try and let me know how it feels.