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IAXAPs are linguistics of the form "I am 'X adjectival phrase'".  IAXAPs are the currently conventional form of
linguistic by which, in the English-speaking world, we habitually express "who we are".  Examples of IAXAPs are "
I
am a woman", "I am a doctor
", "I am an engineer", "I am a father", "I am an 'NVCer'", "I am a Zionist", "I am an
Arab
", "I am a simple soul", and so forth.  But we also use the "I am" term to say "I am angry", "I am confused", "I
am happy
", "I am competent", "I am disabled", "I am mistaken", "I am a wealthy man", "I am poor", "I am totally
upset
", "I am losing faith", "I am anxious", "I am uncertain", etc.  In short, the part of an IAXAP that is 'X adjectival
phrase
' can be a wide variety of terms but all of them, when fronted by "I am", constitute a potentially presumptive
thought.

For example, I recently received an email from a friend of mine that contained the following IAXAPs:  "
I am
confused
", "I am understanding this right", "I am leaving out", "I am sure" -- each of which were no doubt very
psycho-linguisticly automatic self-expressions.  This person operates a construction company and has invented and
manufactured and sold a practical device for implementing Einstein's refrigerator idea.  He also has been practising
for some years the NVC linguistics from Marshall Rosenberg's book "
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of
Life
".  He has, in short, accomplished a lot in his life and clearly has much, much more than average interest in the
quality of life we humans generally live.

IHXENs, in contrast to IAXAPs, are I-statements of the form "
I have 'X emotion' now", where 'X emotion' is limited to a
noun or noun phrase honestly descriptive of one's state of being at the present moment, e.g. '
anger', 'joy',
'
diminishing grief', 'exuberant hope', 'decreasingly blissful ignorance', and so forth.  IHXENs and IAXAPs are
compared further at this
link.

IHXENs address an anomaly intrinsic in IAXAPs.  The anomaly is that the word "am" has ambivalence associated
with it of which only a very few of us are consciously aware.  The term "
I am" might be being used  to signify simple
existence, or sometimes only a particular kind of existence, or sometimes only an attribute of existence; it might be
being used to denote an essence; and it may also refer to one's identity; and sometimes to one's self-image.  It has
all these meanings -- to name only the symbolizing that this term conveys with which I have personal cognizance.  
These observations might sound either trivial or irrelevant to one whose reflections on who he or she is have a lot
of
maturing to do, but from the point of view of humanity's future, what is crucial is that we all become aware that our
unchanging, permanent essence while alive on this planet is that of being human, hopefully one that is increasingly
both rational and reasonable.  Whether we have a temporary existence or an identity of that of an angry being, or
of a confused person, or of a construction company owner, or of an inventor, or of a coach, or of a writer, or of a
happy person, or of being unsure, or of being "at sea" is only of relevance temporarily in relation to a presumed
role in a conversational context.  This is because whether one claims a particular competence or a particular
disability at any particular moment is emotionally only a temporary matter.  So,
although we may not always be able
to change the external triggers of our emotions, we can learn to use the energy of our emotions and moods so as
to transform
it into practically useful thinking, and in due course, action.

Because
IAXAPs incline us into regurgitating thunk thoughts, often seriously false ones, solely out of
sheer habit
, the question arises as to how we might express our being human permanently without anxiety?  My
experience is that we can begin to do this by practising replacing IAXAPs with IHXENs.  This canot be an overnight
change for IAXAPs have become deeply ingrained in the English-speaking culture.  But when we do catch ourselves
recycling an IAXAP, whether only in mind or in utterance, we give ourselves the opportunity -- by changing it to an
IHXEN to intervene in
a transformation of psychic energy that otherwise would be automatic.

This practice slowly
empowers us to replace the presuppositions, prejudices, presumptions, and ambivalences
embedded subconsciously in our particular IAXAP habits.  It replaces the absence of fully human presence that
IAXAPs maintain with the genuinely unique, growing, and fully present
authenticity of which each of us is capable in
our moments of equanimity as a human being.  The practice does, however, entail a lot of effort, and so it is best to
make such efforts only when events are unfolding to our considerable distaste or dismay or other negative
sentiment.

People who wish to augment their capacities for nonviolent communication through IHXEN exchange in challenging
circumstances will probably want to review a couple of links to other material on this website:

  1. A link to material on the practice of NVC linguistics augmented by the ideas in this and other IHXEN-related
    papers, and
  2. A link to an essay on the much misunderstood subject of authenticity.

But, if you're pushed/pressed for time, perhaps a true story will illustrate best why replacing the conventional IAXAP
habit with the more deliberate IHXEN form of I-statement is worth practising.  To that end, let me share with you now
what happened on the first public occasion on which, experiencing a politically very incorrect emotion, I resorted to
an IHXEN:

I was at a management committee meeting of a 25-employee organization whose bottom line was falling alarmingly
and on which I was serving as a pro-bono consultant.  My experience until then was that, in a difficult circumstance,
utterance of an honest (as distinct from a rhetorical) IHXEN had always helped me to maintain one-on-one
relationships.  But I had not tested this in a public setting where judgments against a person having a politically
‘incorrect’ emotion are likely to be more severe, and where I well knew that strong emotions can make or break a
partnership or a team.  So now, someone in a management committee saying something that I felt was complex, yet
politically damaging to me and also inaccurate was triggering anger in me.  Yet was his lack of couth – at best a
cavalier disregard for my feelings or at worst a deliberate political attack on the reputation I had won by hard
volunteer work in the company – not also giving me an opportunity to test this practice publicly?  Stung into action, I
growled out an obviously furious "I have anger now!"

The immediate upshot was that my client's leadership team fell silent and began to pay what I perceived as close
visual and auditory attention to me. Then, after a considerable and somewhat electric pause, one of them gently
asked: "Why do you have anger, Angus?" This person and I had previously developed enough trust in each other
for my IHXEN to have evoked, after a considerable pause, an expression of concerned curiosity on his part in a
situation where clearly my growl had captured the attention of the other members of the group.  The pause –
induced by my resort to what everyone would know was a statement revealing my expression of a socially very
incorrect emotion – gave me, and I suspect everyone in the room, cause to do some serious thinking relating to why
I had injected such a self-revelation into the conversation.

I don't now recall much of the specific context – it took place nearly a decade ago; but I do recall having severe
doubts that any explanation would be received as not just self-serving but actually as fully authentic.  The words I
found in those seconds of electric silence sprang from a deep hope, long nurtured within me and interior to my
anger, that a vitalizing change in the behaviours of my client's managers would follow; for that indeed is what began
to happen.  After several such 'moments of truth' over the next few weeks, IHXENs became accepted by this 'group-
forming-into-a-team' as a reliable way to begin facilitating resolutions of disputes among them; and it was only after
a few further weeks that the 'bottom line' of my client's fabrication, distribution, and service enterprise began to rise
-- in a few months quite sharply.  It was also then that I began to have confidence that, even in the dire strait of
experiencing a conventionally very 'incorrect' emotion, expression of an authentic IHXEN will allow me, and
potentially anyone, to transform consciously -- with rational hope that I/we will then get both the attention we truly
need and at least a short time to consider what aspects of our personal truths are most likely to be both vital and
vitalizing.  In this instance both my personal need for emotional relief and my professional interest in evoking a
change of behaviours that would produce gains in team productivity were both very satisfactorily met by what
ensued after my utterance of that politically very incorrect "I have anger now" revelation, which, of course, is an
IHXEN.

My reflection today is that the silence and attention evoked by the sheer veracity (and perhaps audacity!) of my
simple IHXEN gave me both time and motive to figure out my need of the moment: how to get across to the meeting
at least something of what the true, rather than presumptive, cause of my anger was – in other words, to edit
carefully the explanation that arose spontaneously in my mind so as to take responsibility for my anger and avoid
blaming anyone else.  What is of no doubt to me today is that my passionately honest and verifiably authentic
expression of an EXTRAORDINARY, yet UNMISTAKEABLY TRUE, I-statement – “
I have anger now” – had not only
riveted attention on me; it had also served to relieve some of my passion, to give me the time and motivation to
think constructively and it had required others to think also.  Further, it had elicited the curiosity from at least one
other person that I then needed for my explanation of a socially very incorrect emotion to be given attentive
consideration.

In other words, my resort to an accurate IHXEN -- a linguistic form assuring both that one take responsibility for
one's emotion and that no one is attacked -- had provided an opportunity for me to release the most dangerous
part of my anger in a way that was clearly authentic yet also safe.  Instead of my falling into the trap of a frank
blurting out of a demeaning correction, or of an accusation of someone else’s malevolent intent, or of holding my
tongue, or of guessing in accordance with cultural norms that might only be presumptive, my resort to an honest
IHXEN had opened an opportunity for me to work with the close attention it had evoked from others – without either
denying my own pain or triggering another's.

This narrative of my first, and perhaps the first, utterance of a politically and socially incorrect self-revelation in a
boardroom, forms a part of "
Adventures in Dialogue" (c) 2007-14.  This is a 'print+' communication project now
entering sponsorship phase.  Please direct enquiries to:
angusc@authentixcoaches.com.
..
Why change a 'normal' language habit?
How watching the IAXAP habit can, through replacing them
with IHXENs, make a profoundly beneficial difference

(c) 2007-2014 by
Angus Cunningham
President, Authentix Coaches
Narrative of Client's PayOff from IHXEN Proficiency
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