– a relationship skill that can end difficult power dynamics
Speak Your Unarguable Truth and Reinvigorate Connection

You can make a remarkable change:

It is possible to connect to yourself and to others more deeply than you ever thought

Telling the unarguable truth through S.E.W.

I’ve talked about the unarguable truth many times in my blogs (you can find them all at my website, (http://www.juliacolwell.com) and in my podcasts. Over the years, my respect for this very simple (not easy!) practice has deepened. I thought it was just a better way to use “I statements,” the old stand-by from the ’70s that we all cheated with. (“I feel like you aren’t listening to me! And you don’t get to argue with how I feel!”) As I learn more about how we
construct emotions,” the unarguable truth is the fastest path I’ve found to shifting out of projection and blame to the real issue (and then to moving the emotion out of the body).

So, here’s a review of what’s unarguable:


Called “interoception” by neuroscientists, noticing your sensations brings your attention to where it belongs: Away from the outside and back to your own inner experience. Truly, there’s no “out there out there.” Everything that you’re trying to make meaning of in terms of the outside world is streaming through whatever concepts you’ve learned, and so are now using to try to understand and predict it. Really. EVERYTHING. So, your sensations are your best ways to track down what you’re carrying around as beliefs (which are, of course, all arguable.)


If you follow your sensations, they’ll lead you to what emotions you’re feeling. Tension up around you jaw, neck, shoulders tell you you’re angry because you’re not getting what you want (or getting what you don’t want). Contraction in your throat or heaviness in your chest is an indication that you’re sad because you’ve experienced loss. And flutters or twisting in
your stomach or chest tells you you’re scared, that you’re perceiving a threat or a danger. Does that mean there truly is an obstacle, intrusion, loss, or threat? Nope. You pretty much made all of that up, through how you see the world.


If you feel your sensations fully, and let your emotions move through completely (like watching a weather-front pass by), you’ll get to the third element of unarguability: What you really want. You can thank your body for telling you everything you need to know to get there. It’s completely reliable in its communication. It just needs time.

When partners are committed to using S.E.W., it immediately puts them back on an even playing field.

All conflicts can be worked through from here.

Couples often try to find their way out of the resulting stuckness through “compromise,” a poor replacement for the flow of in-loveness. They might go into a seesaw of meting out “power up” like dealing out a deck of cards–you get to be on top around finances, me around sex, you around social invitations, me around work, etc. But finding that initial thrall of deep connection drifts further and further from their grasp, as this strategy means either giving up either vulnerability or one’s sense of agency.
The one who might have tried to exert control (Power Up) can speak to the fear and sadness that is typically under this maneuver, moving out of their domineering position and back to vulnerability. The one who may have done some collapsing into submission (Power Down) can find the self that might have gone into hiding, speaking up about hidden anger and wants. Instantly, the seesaw stabilizes, as each person connects deeply to themselves and
then rediscovers the loop of intimacy to the other.

The Process of SEW

1 . Complain for one or two minutes.

2. Sensations – Notice any sensations you have in your body. Start with the sensations with the most intensity and keep noticing. Say them out loud. E.G of sensations – tightness, contracted, knotted, stabbing pain, nauseated, racing heart, sweaty, clammy, cold, bubbling, expanded, sexual,

3. Emotions – ask the following questions
a) Which sensations are most wanting your attention?
b) Label the emotion – Does it feel like mad, sad, scared, glad or sexual (excited).
c) For each sensation, ask these questions.

Mad – what am I getting that I don’t want AND/OR what am I not getting that I do want?
Sad – What’s the loss? What have I lost?
Scared – What’s the threat or danger?
Glad / sexual – What am I celebrating, enjoying, loving?

d) Wonder with the sensations – What is going on that I am felling mad/sad/scared/glad/sexual?

What does this remind me of?

e) Pause and check if you are in creative brain (link to Inner Map).

4. Want – Breathe and move, wriggle your hands and toes

a) Wonder – What do I REALLY WANT??
Get to the bottom line, what would you want if you could get that want?
b) Speak the Truth in an unarguable way. If it is unarguable no one can argue with you.
This will always start with – “I feel (mad, sad, scared, glad, sexual).
Nothing in your statement is arguable. If you start to say because, or if, or you, then you are wading into arguable territory.

Arguable comments –

You are an inconsiderate jerk”.
“I feel you are inconsiderate”.
“If you didn’t say inconsiderate things, I wouldn’t feel mad or sad”.
“I feel mad because you are inconsiderate


“I notice my stomach is in a knot and my body is all clenched up. I feel scared – hmmm. I feel scared that you don’t like me and that my job is at risk. What I most want? I most want to find a solution
that works for both of us”.
c) Notice your Body. When you have spoken the unarguable truth and come to the core issue, you will feel energy and movement where before you felt shut down and stuck. This is called moving into a creative state or above the line (The Inner Map).

– When I first started this process, I couldn’t even notice
sensations. I felt deeply uncomfortable. Now I can notice and name
exactly what is going on and the freedom from having this skill has
transformed my life and relationships. I have clarity and peace.