|The IHXEN form of honestly articulated I-statement -- "I have 'X emotion' now" -- is foundational to what is
becoming known as Rational Emoto-Linguistics, or more colloquially, Eye-Zen English. This is an approach to
collaborative problem-solving conversation designed specifically by the author -- after heavy borrowing from
work already articulated by others -- to facilitate the minimization of inaccuracy arising from an unconscious
or only superficially explored belief, viewpoint, or perspective. An IHXEN may be articulated by a single
party, but the full power of IHXENs emerges when they are used conversationally. An example of what
happened as a result of IHXENs being exchanged to the point where the parties to them reached equanimity
from a situation that initially felt very challenging to them both is narrated at this link. A brief extract
reprinted here from that link will perhaps save some time for some:
We (my client -- Ted Chant -- and I) knew that equanimity lay 'somewhere between pleasant and unpleasant
emotions' yet was not what one might call 'numbed-out' indifference nor what one might call carefully controlled
bravado (nor even not-quite-innocent ignorance). And, from our practice of IHXEN exchanges, we had become
minutely aware of each of our emotions in relation to each significant part of our draft (of a pivotal email).
Working in this way, our practice of IHXEN exchanges eventually led us both to feeling satisfied that each of us
had found equanimity rather than 'controlled indifference or bravado' in relation to the specific (action) of sending
the draft (email concerning a long overdue and very large receivable from a utility).
How this happened is worth noting carefully. The day before Ted sent the email, I told him that I felt equanimous
about him sending it, and asked him what emotion he had about doing so. He replied: "I too feel I have equanimity"
(phrasing only from my memory). I then suggested he might not have equanimity after sleeping on it, in which
case he might want again to change it. So we parted with the unanimity that he would sleep on it, and that, if he
felt anything but equanimity in the morning in relation to sending the draft he would make the change he then
believed was necessary, and also that, if he then felt the slightest doubt about sending the result, he would call me
and we would again discuss it. A few days later I learned he had sent the draft we had agreed on the previous day,
and that the utility president had replied by email requesting that he visit Ted.
The entire process took us almost six months. But, to our delight, the utility president responded immediately by
visiting Ted and making a starting settlement offer of $3 million. As all lawyers know, this progress meant that
Chant could safely assume that most of the remaining $7 million would soon be settled reasonably amicably. This
knowledge naturally relieved a lot of anxiety on the part not only of Ted, who was then able to pass the issue over
to his lawyer, but also of Chant's employees, and me.
The logic form of an IHXEN I-statement is an alternative to what is much the more conventional psycho-
linguistic form by which we reveal our feelings today in English -- an alternative to the "I am 'X adjectival
phrase'" (IAXAP) form of I-statement. Almost the entire English-speaking world is unaware of the
psycho-linguistic significance of the difference between the IHXEN and IAXAP forms of I-statement --
although this significance is implicit in the writings, dating from the 1930s, of Alfred Korsybski. If such readers
should include you, you can, from this link, find a detailed comparison of the essential differences and their
significance to accurate problem-solving conversation.
Acquiring the ability to resort to an honest IHXEN in situations when an IAXAP would 'feel more natural'
allows a person to articulate a portion of his or her own personal ‘truth of the moment’, namely a label for his
or her emotion then. This in itself yields some relief from any strong emotion such as fear or anger, as is
empirically clear from research carried out in 2000 by the U. S. National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH)
unit at the University of California in Los Angeles . But it does more than provide relief, for the relief is
obtained in a way that not only avoids carrying forward the biases of perspective often found in statements
made from strong emotion but also is felt to be satisfyingly (because verifiably) authentic in the senses of all
English-speaking interlocutors present, including the person uttering the honest IHXEN.
How exactly does this happen? It arise from the reality that, unlike the IAXAP linguistic form, the IHXEN
form is verbally devoid of any potentially prejudicial or presumptive ideation. Some bias of perspective may
still remain in the mind of the utterer of an honest IHXEN, of course. But, from the mental action of choosing
an honest label for his or her ‘X emotion’, he or she acquires a little 'space' to consider revising, consciously, his
or her ‘perspective of the moment’ – in the light of what he or she has learned in the past about how to emerge
from whatever emotion is identified in his or her ‘X emotion’. Moreover, this opportunity to grow consciously
becomes available in a context made more fertile by the effect that an honestly articulated IHXEN has on one's
interlocutors, an effect that Authentix Coaches has studied carefully. What we have discovered is that
interlocutors in an explicitly problem-solving setting find IHXENs arresting: they might be described as
interesting revelations, although obviously incomplete revelations, of an intimate, if also somewhat quaint,
kind. In short, an IHXEN’s effect on interlocutors is twofold: it stimulates curiosity and very modestly
increases trust. By contrast, the more common resort to a more completely ideated attempt to convince or
defend substantively often leads to doubts as to one or another's authenticity and so is often a source of
distrust, distraction, and/or misdirection in problem-solving conversation.
In summary, resort to an honestly articulated IHXEN offers something to both its utterer and its hearer. It
provides a conscious opportunity for the utterer to minimize, and hopefully even avoid entirely, either
misleading his or her interlocutors or triggering an unnecessary cause for their taking offence; and it offers the
hearer a tantalizing hope that more revelations of an authentic quality are likely, if he or she pays respectful
attention, to be coming. In addition, utterance of an IHXEN models for interlocutor(s) how trust at a
surprisingly intimate (emotional) level can be reciprocated. These realities of IHXENs mean that their
practice empowers earnest problem-solvers to base -- slowly, but safely and surely -- their problem-solving on
any trust already established with their interlocutors.
From many coaching experiences, I have learned that, if reciprocation of IHXENs can be deepened to the point
where they become more or less effortless (and thus 'natural'), participants in a serious discussion facilitated
by resort, in moments of noticeable emotion, to IHXEN exchanges can take a powerful step toward
eliminating what is called 'emoto-linguistic bias'.
My use here of the term 'emoto-linguistic bias (elb)', instead of either of the more commonly used words
'presumption' or 'prejudice', may strike the reader as either intriguing or pretentious. If the latter, please be
aware that I have introduced this term because labeling another's words as either 'presumption' or 'prejudice'
implies that one is evaluating him or her as being either careless or cavalier; so my using the term 'elb' here is
neither to be pretentious nor to deny that intents can indeed be lacking sometimes in care or empathy. My
intent is rather to share with the reader the reality that, in my coaching practice, I have often noticed that
even intents of conscientious compunction can sometimes, and then very unfortunately, be interpreted as
either offensive or quaintly irrelevant. This phenomenon arises because many people erroneously believe that
they know what the cause of an emotional display is. Dr. Paul Ekman, author of 'emotions revealed', calls this
the 'Othello Error', and illustrates in that book very convincingly how it can be very troublesome for us all.
In moments of anxiety, one is prone to worry excessively about offending when introducing something
controversial. And in moments of anxiety's opposite, euphoric over-confidence, one is prone to neglect the
risks of offending one's interlocutor while introducing an innovative, and therefore potentially controversial,
perspective. The outcomes of taking such risks can play havoc with the relationship between two otherwise
earnest problem-solvers. But, by resorting to an honestly selected IHXEN in such moments, one learns
deliberately how unfailingly to avoid risking such trouble occurring. Moreover, when exchanges of IHXENs
begin to occur between problem-solving conversational partners, we discover that our conversations become
progressively more free of emoto-linguistic bias -- not only in our speech or writing but in our thinking too.
Indeed, resort to IHXENs in moments of difficulty, challenge, or euphoria makes the smooth continuation of
either constructive or congenial conversation possible when otherwise the natural 'trotting out' of an IAXAP
could inadvertently be interpreted as signalling either a bombastic habit or intent or as the occurrence of a
loss of focus relevant to one's conversational partner. Since either of these signals would be likely to impede
joint problem-solving, this feature of IHXENs can, as the narrative at this link shows, augment the problem-
solving capacity that people ordinarily contribute spontaneously.
This happy psycho-linguistic reality arises from the properties intrinsic to the states of being known as
equanimity. Learning what these properties are and how to acquire equanimous states is what people on the
small 'b' buddhist path, among other paths, are learning. The articulation, and even more the exchange, of
IHXENs is a way -- one akin to meditation but designed for more immediate use than the ordinarily
cumbersome processes of meditation -- for people to learn and make vital and vitalizing uses of these
insightful and potent states of being. Below is a diagram of how repeated exchanges of IHXENs accomplishes
|Where is Equanimity?
A Practical Conversational Approach
-- For People Learning IHXEN Usage
(c) 2012-14 by
Principal, Authentix Coaches
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