“I” Statements vs. “You” Statements – Part 3

In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we discussed what “I” Statements were as compared to “You” Statements.  We offer a working definition and some reason to consider this as a life skill for everyone.  In Part 2, we showed two ways to construct “I” statements and why they are important to be specific in our intent.

In this final Part 3, I want to talk about using this awareness for self-defeating statements.

When someone is struggling or thinking self-defeating thoughts, these statements offer tremendous benefit.

So often it is our own self-talk that defeats us.  Statements like, You knew that would happen, You blew it again,  You just can’t seem to do anything right.

Does anyone else struggle with defeatist self-talk, or is it just me?

When we mentally think we should have done something better, or that we lost control of a trait that we wished we didn’t have, we can easily become self-critical.  All of us are vulnerable to this, but particularly kids because they often don’t have the background to think any differently.  Until now.

Life can be difficult enough without being our own worst critic.  When we use “You statements” on ourselves we destroy our self-esteem bit-by-bit over time.  When we use either the three or four part statement builder, we help ourselves to understand our feelings much better, which in turn builds our self-esteem.

So rather than saying, “You blew it again.”  you can say, “I found my temper again.  I don’t like it when I lose my temper because afterward I feel terrible and realize that I have now pushed someone who cares about me, away from me.”  Can we work out a different approach to help me with my temper?”  If we are saying it to yourself, reconstruct it to say, ” I am a work in progress and I don’t have to be perfect, but I want to continue to master this trait.”

When we re-word our own statements we also give ourselves some room to recoup or recover from a setback.  Over time, the “I” statement will come out before the “You” statement and one day you will notice that you haven’t said a “You” statement in a very long time.  I hope you find this life skill useful and will take the opportunity to have fun developing your own awareness with yourself and others.

Yours for better parenting,

Rich