At this point in This Year of Living Non-Judgmentally, I am making some assumptions.
Of course, I make assumptions — and unhelpful judgments — all the time*. That’s a habit I doubt I will completely break (even if I’m reducing that habit this year).
Here’s an assumption I’ve been making about this blog:
By now, I would have defined all my VIC’s — Very Important Concepts.
Au contraire, mon frere**.
When I was writing yesterday’s post, I assumed that I had already defined the concept of “I-Statements.” However, my blog-post-search indicated that the best I had done, all year, was this reference, on Day 26 (“What we can and cannot change”), when I was making the point that we cannot change other people:
It also really helps to clearly state the effect that other people’s behavior has on you, and to express your needs and wishes, and even name consequences, at times. (I’ll write about “I-statements” in a future post, I’m sure, which is a handy-dandy prescription for more effective interpersonal communication.)
That was it. Nada. No discussion or definition of “I-Statements” since then, for 218 days.
But who cares?
I can define it, now:
An I-statement is a statement that begins with the word “I”. It is frequently used in an attempt to be assertive without putting the listener on the defensive. It can be used to take ownership for one’s feelings rather than saying they are caused by the other person.***
And here are some I-Statements I want to make, today:
- I want to let go of self-labels which don’t help.
- I’ve gotten feedback, from other people, that I am NOT some things I fear to be, including: Too sensitive. Too self-centered. Too indecisive. Not responsive enough.
- I AM sensitive, focused on myself, and indecisive at times, and
- I AM imperfect in my responsiveness, and
- I have shame, sometimes, about how many times I use the word “I”, when I’m communicating, but…
- I still rock!!****
At this point, I’m remembering Garry Shandling, the comedian, talking about “I-Statements” in a monologue on Saturday Night Live:
I met a new girl at a barbecue, actually, a very pretty girl. Blonde, I think. I’m not sure. Her hair was on fire. And all she talked about was herself. You know those kind of girls – “I’m hot. I’m on fire!” You know,”Me, me me!” “Help me! Put me out!” Jesus. Some sort of Hollywood chick.
I wish I could find that bit, so you could see and hear Garry Shandling do that, hear his delivery, his intonation.
But I can’t.
What I CAN do is end with another I-Statement (in honor of a 50th anniversary):
Thanks to Martin Luther King, Garry Shandling, dreamers everywhere, and to you, too, dear readers.
*”All the time” is an example of All-or-Nothing thinking, but who cares? I’m using it for emphasis.
** Another comedic quote: Mel Brooks, in The 2000 Year Old Man.
*** This is, according to Google, from the Wikipedia definition of “I-Statements.”
**** I considered using other “bragging” statements here, like “I’m awesome!” (quoting a member of one of my therapy groups), but this is what I feel most comfortable saying, today.