The point of this step is two-fold:

  • to say things without blame, because as soon as you use blame, the other person simply cannot hear you. It sends them into some degree of reactivity (i.e. lizard brain), so they lose full access to language and logic.
  • to learn to notice the stories we’re telling ourselves, as opposed to what actually happened

So HOW do we do this? The observation step is to say what physically happened, just as a camera would see it, without any interpretation.

For example, where we might have once said “You left a mess in the kitchen”, we could instead say “When I see the unwashed dishes on the benches”. There are two major changes here:

  1. I’m saying what I see, not what you did. Try to leave the other person out of your sentence!
  2. I’m not using the word “mess” which is an evaluation rather than an observation

You’ll know you got it right when you can say it, and the only response from the other person is to agree – “yep, that’s what happened”.

Test it in your head and imagine their response before saying it out loud.

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