How To Use The Three Bridges to Create Joy, Love, and Peace
Image by Jackie Ramirez

Personal relationships can take us to heaven or hell. This article will show you how to create heaven at most stressful times -- when you encounter someone who is in the grip of sadness, anger, or fear.

The Three Bridges are one of the most amazing and useful concepts I discovered as I was creating Attitude Reconstruction. Intuitively the Bridges make perfect sense. It's just that no one taught us about them.

Identify The Emotion

Sometimes it's obvious what emotion a person is dealing with. Other times it's not. With just a little practice, you'll be able to recognize the emotions underlying other people's demeanor, words, and actions. And rather than getting sucked into a knee-jerk reaction to their abrupt tone, negativity, or finger-pointing tirade, you can get to the heart of the matter and extend a communication "bridge." By offering what they truly long to get but don't know how to ask for, you can help them shift their emotional state.

The Three Bridges






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The Three Focuses of Our Attention 

If it's not obvious what emotion is likely going on for them, ask yourself, "Where is their attention focused?" "What are they talking about?"

The Three Focuses

  Focus   Emotion   










Their focus will be predominantly in one area, but two or three can be in play. If they exhibit symptoms of more than one focus, you'll need to offer more than one bridge to help them totally regain a centered state.   

An example of this would be someone who is anxious about a job interview and doubting her qualifications. She is probably feeling fear (anxious), and sadness. Her focus is in the future and she's also focused on not feeling good enough. She needs both reassurances and validation so she can get grounded, present, and confident.

The Three Bridges


People feeling sadness (but often not crying) are most likely thinking or speaking poorly of themselves. They may be acting passively, clingy, or appear hurt. What they need are genuine appreciations. In your interactions with them, you need to convey the idea, "I love you. You're great." Also, remind them of and praise their strengths and contributions.


Folks striking out in anger and spewing "you's" all over the place and filled with blame, negativity, and criticism, really just feel isolated and are in desperate need of understanding. They won't respond well to debates, lectures, or reprimands. The chances they'll hear what you have to say are slim to none unless you can genuinely connect with them first. You need to sincerely hear them out without reacting or taking what they say personally.

Focus on what's going on with them behind their angry words and let the attacks go flying by. Work very hard not to respond to their accusations. Silently repeat or say, "I want to understand their perspective" and just listen. It doesn't help to try to correct them and you definitely shouldn't take what they are saying personally. Remember, you are just the misplaced target of their anger.


If someone is overwhelmed, anxious, or totally stressed out, chances are they've got some unexpressed fear stocked up and need honest reassurances. Comfort, soothe, and repeatedly remind them that everything is and will be all right. Other reassuring comments are "We'll make our way through this together," "I'm here" or "I'll take care of it." Or offer reminders of the objective reality: "Your boss really likes the work you do," or "You've done this successfully before.

Why Extend a Bridge

You'll deepen your personal relationships when you become adept at recognizing the emotions of others. You can use this knowledge to communicate in the ways most helpful to them. What an amazing talent you'll be cultivating.

For example, if you know that your husband is quick to anger, you can consciously and silently listen to understand his position, especially at times when he is upset or under stress. If a workmate seems glum or down, you can recognize and validate her talents and skills a little more often. And when someone close to you is anxious or freaking out, appreciations and compliments are of little help at the moment. Instead offer them repeated reassurances.

Bridge Yourself

If you're unable or unwilling to offer a communication bridge, it's probably because your own unexpressed emotions are getting in the way. It's okay. You're human. To quickly reignite your compassion, take a brief time-out and handle your own emotions.

Whether you deal with your emotions physically or not, you can extend the three bridges to yourself. When you are feeling sad or down on yourself, give yourself appreciations. When you are feeling angry or frustrated, try to understand what's really going on for you and offer yourself empathy and compassion. When you are feeling scared, nervous, or anxious, reassure yourself by repeating, "It's okay. I can make it through this."

The Reliable Truths -- what we know is true about ourselves, others and situations and time when we are clear -- are the embodiment of the Three Bridges. If you've selected a few Truths, you can repeat them vigorously and persistently when emotions arise or anytime. (If not, here is a link to an article that offers you an array of Reliable truths and describes how to internalize them.)

©2017, 2019 by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
All Rights Reserved.

Book by this Author

Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life
by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.

What if someone told you that you could discover the source of all your problems and address them head-on? How about if they told you that reconstructing your attitude would actually change your life? Author Jude Bijou combines contemporary psychology and ancient spiritual wisdom to provide a revolutionary theory of human behavior that will help you do just that.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book. Also available as a Kindle edition.

About the Author

Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T., author of: Attitude ReconstructionJude Bijou is a licensed marriage and family therapist (MFT), an educator in Santa Barbara, California and the author of Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life. In 1982, Jude launched a private psychotherapy practice and started working with individuals, couples, and groups. She also began teaching communication courses through Santa Barbara City College Adult Education. Visit her website at

* Watch an interview with Jude Bijou: How to Experience More Joy, Love and Peace

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