How To Use The Three Bridges to Create Joy, Love, and Peace

How To Use The Three Bridges to Create Joy, Love, and Peace

Seeing and hearing are natural gifts for us. Look at the way animals use their senses to their advantage. They can sense safety, danger, play, and even food! We can use our senses to determine if someone is swept up in sadness, anger, or fear. And then, with the three bridges in mind, we can confidently know how to best offer help.

IDENTIFY THE EMOTION

Sometimes it's obvious what emotion a person is dealing with. Other times it's not.

With just a little practice, you'll be able to recognize the emotions underlying other people's demeanor, words, and actions. And rather than getting sucked into a knee-jerk reaction to their abrupt tone, negativity, or finger-pointing tirade, you can get to the heart of the matter and extend a communication "bridge."

By offering what they truly long to get but don't know how to ask for, you can help them shift their emotional state.

The Three Communication Bridges

Sadness

APPRECIATION

Joy

Anger

UNDERSTANDING

Love

Fear

REASSURANCES

Peace

In order to figure out what emotion is likely going on for them, if it's not obvious, ask yourself, "Where is their attention focused?" "What are they talking about?"

The Three Focuses

Focus   Emotion

THEMSELVES

    

Sadness

OTHER PEOPLE AND SITUATIONS

    

Anger

TIME (IN PAST OR FUTURE)

    

Fear

Their focus will be predominantly in one area, but two or three can be in play. If they exhibit symptoms of more than one focus, you'll need to offer more than one bridge to help them totally regain a centered state.  

An example of this would be someone who is anxious about a job interview and doubting her qualifications. She is probably feeling fear (anxious), and sadness. Her focus is in the future and she's also focused on not feeling good enough. She needs both reassurances and validation so she can get grounded, present, and confident.

IF THEY’RE FEELING SAD…

People feeling sadness (but often not crying) are most likely thinking or speaking poorly of themselves. They may be acting passively, clingy, or appear hurt.

What they need are genuine appreciations. In your interactions with them, you need to convey the idea, "I love you. You're great." Also, remind them of and praise their strengths and contributions.

IF THEY’RE FEELING ANGRY…

Folks striking out in anger and spewing "you’s" all over the place and filled with blame, negativity, and criticism, really just feel isolated and are in desperate need of understanding. They won't respond well to debates, lectures, or reprimands. The chances they'll hear what you have to say are slim to none unless you can genuinely connect with them first. You need to sincerely hear them out without reacting or taking what they say personally.

Focus on what's going on with them behind their angry words and let the attacks go flying by. Work very hard not to respond to their accusations. Silently repeat or say, "I want to understand their perspective" and just listen. It doesn't help to try to correct them up and you definitely shouldn't take what they are saying personally. Remember, you are just the misplaced target of their anger.

IF THEY’RE FEELING FEAR…

If someone is overwhelmed, anxious, or totally stressed out, chances are she's got some unexpressed fear stocked up. She need

s honest reassurances. Comfort, soothe, and repeatedly remind her that everything is and will be all right. Other reassuring comments are "We'll make our way through this together," "I'm here" or "I'll take care of it." Or offer her reminders of the objective reality: "Your boss really likes the work you do," or "You've done this successfully before."

WHY EXTEND A BRIDGE

You'll deepen your personal relationships when you become adept at recognizing the emotions of others. You can use this knowledge to communicate in the ways most helpful to them. What an amazing talent you'll be cultivating. For example, if you know that your husband is quick to anger, you can consciously and silently listen to understand his position, especially at times when he is upset or under stress.

If a workmate seems glum or down, you can recognize and validate her talents and skills a little more often. And when someone close to you is anxious or freaking out, appreciations and compliments are of little help at the moment. Instead offer them repeated reassurances.

BRIDGE YOURSELF

If you're unable or unwilling to offer a communication bridge, it's probably because your own unexpressed emotions are getting in the way. It's okay. You're human. To quickly reignite your compassion, take a brief time-out and handle your own emotions.

You can extend the three bridges to yourself. When you are feeling sad or down on yourself, give yourself appreciations. When you are feeling angry or frustrated, try to understand what's really going on for you and offer yourself empathy and compassion. When you are feeling scared, nervous, or anxious, reassure yourself by repeating, "It's okay. I can make it through this."

According to Attitude Reconstruction, we can rewire our own thinking and bring ourselves back to feeling joy, love, or peace. This is done by making a list of Reliable Truths -- what we know is true about ourselves, others and situations, and time when we are clear. Then we can repeat them vigorously and persistently when emotions arise. (Here is a link to an article that offers you reliable truths and how to internalize them.) 

©2017 by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
All Rights Reserved.

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Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life
by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.

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About the Author

Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T., author of: Attitude ReconstructionJude Bijou is a licensed marriage and family therapist (MFT), an educator in Santa Barbara, California and the author of Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life. In 1982, Jude launched a private psychotherapy practice and started working with individuals, couples, and groups. She also began teaching communication courses through Santa Barbara City College Adult Education. Visit her website at AttitudeReconstruction.com/

* Watch an interview with Jude Bijou: How to Experience More Joy, Love and Peace