You can say anything to anyone!

Today I was watch­ing a class with DeRose and he said that: “You can tell any­one any­thing, the decid­ing fac­tor is only HOW you say it.”

And this got me think­ing… is there a way i can teach my stu­dents (and myself) to improve HOW they say it?

Well, if we are going to improve, we need to first under­stand why we would fail… I would sug­gest that the key fac­tor which influ­ences HOW we com­mu­ni­cate is emotion. 

Very quick­ly just to frame our dis­cus­sion… One idea about liv­ing beings is that they have many lay­ers in which they exist. One is a phys­i­cal, a very dense, skin, bone, flesh lev­el. More sub­tle than this is a lay­er of ener­gy, elec­tric­i­ty, mag­net­ism, ner­vous puls­es, etc. which pow­ers this dense layer. 

The rela­tion­ship between these lay­ers is also key, as insta­bil­i­ty in denser lay­ers obscure all oth­er lay­ers. For exam­ple, if you are feel­ing tired and sleepy on your way home and sud­den­ly there is a strong phys­i­cal lay­er insta­bil­i­ty — let’s say that you sprain your ankle — your atten­tion will imme­di­ate­ly be focused on the dense phys­i­cal and you will prob­a­bly not even notice that you were tired. 

More sub­tle than these two is emo­tion. This is what is felt. Most­ly (although pos­si­bly too gen­er­al­ist) your emo­tions are either try­ing to max­i­mize plea­sure or avoid pain. They have very lit­tle appre­ci­a­tion for what is good for you and for what will achieve the results you desire. 

Next, in the sub­tle­ty scale is the ratio­nal mind. This is the lev­el which allows us to plan, think through and achieve the best results. (note… if you want to read more about this mod­el fol­low this link)

One of the prob­lems when try­ing to say any­thing is that when we are try­ing to say some­thing more touchy, or mean­ing­ful, or weighty, or argu­men­ta­tive, or … you get it…emotional….  Well, because of its very nature the emo­tions at this time become unsta­ble and obstruct the ratio­nal. Inevitably, com­mu­ni­ca­tion suffers. 

BUT, what I want­ed this arti­cle to be about is real­ly to offer a sug­ges­tion of a way to man­age the emotions. 

So here we go!

There may be many ways to man­age emo­tions, but we can often sum­ma­rize them in two large groups: push­ing away and acknowledging. 

Push­ing emo­tions away is all about not feed­ing them with any ener­gy, to ignore them, to push and repress them so that they don’t get in the way. How many of us have heard before that emo­tions have no place at the office? This is the most com­mon approach and we are taught to swal­low the emo­tions… period… 

The the­o­ry here goes: that pre­tend­ing it is not there, push­ing it away and repress­ing the emo­tions works because they change quick­ly and so in no time you will return to ratio­nal clarity. 

I am sure that in prac­tice this is WAY eas­i­er said than done…

Anoth­er approach would be to acknowl­edge the emo­tion and still act on your own accord…
This is hard­er… “I know I am angry. Thank you emo­tions for shar­ing this amaz­ing insight with me… I will take your infor­ma­tion under advise­ment but I am not going to behave the way you are suggesting.” 

Some peo­ple may even say that this is impos­si­ble… and I agree… with­out train­ing it is impossible. 

So what is the train­ing? Well, the best train­ing I know is to prac­tice the DeRose Method and incor­po­rate the tech­niques and con­cepts you learn into your day to day. This will be the foun­da­tion that will allow you to have con­sis­tent success.

If you are not already train­ing any­thing, then I sug­gest you start with breathing. 

Breath­ing is mag­i­cal. It is a fun­da­men­tal build­ing block of emo­tion­al man­age­ment, of con­cen­tra­tion and more!

I would set as an ini­tial objec­tive to increase oxy­gen. In order to achieve this increase the sub-objec­tives would be to slow down the breath­ing process and to increase the amount of air in each breath. 

I wrote on anoth­er blog post some instruc­tions so allow me to repeat them: 

In order to achieve the best results there are some prerequisites:

  • all breath­ing is done through the nos­trils. (if you want I am hap­py to explain this in depth later);
  •  you need to know (intel­lec­tu­al­ly) and be aware (phys­i­cal­ly) of the four stages in your breath­ing: inhal­ing, hold­ing air in your lungs, exhal­ing and keep­ing your lungs empty;
  •  you need to be aware of the three areas of your lungs: abdom­i­nal, rib cage and chest.

OK. that is the basics. Let me go into a bit of depth into the last point as I think that this is pos­si­bly the one peo­ple have less famil­iar­i­ty with:

Giv­en our stat­ed objec­tive above, we also need to max­i­mize the usage of the capac­i­ty of your lungs through­out the breath­ing cycle. We achieve this by becom­ing aware of the dif­fer­ent parts of your lungs:

  • the abdom­i­nal mus­cles and diaphragm;
  • the rib cage;
  • the chest.

The region of the chest rep­re­sents the move­ment up and down of your tor­so and there is around 10% of the capac­i­ty of your lungs there. The Rib cage area is the side­ways expan­sion of your tor­so and there is around 30% of your pul­monary capac­i­ty there. There­fore, the remain­der, approx­i­mate­ly 60%, is found in the abdom­i­nal region. If we are to max­i­mize the capac­i­ty of your lungs this is the gold­en rule.


When you INHALE:

  • Begin by expand­ing the abdom­i­nal mus­cles out­wards, this will give room to expand your diaphragm and lungs, increas­ing the over­all capacity.
  • Once that region is filled, expand your rib cage sideways.
  • Once you reach the max­i­mum lat­er­al expan­sion, raise the chest.


  • First low­er the chest;
  • then con­tract the rib cage;
  • fin­ish by con­tract­ing the abdom­i­nal mus­cles and com­press­ing the lungs.

We call this the com­plete breathing.


Try it. Try it now.