With a world in crisis, steeped in incomprehensible violence, how do we then live? What, if anything, could turn this around? If we're all dying, let us die loving everyone, including ourselves and our former enemies. Let us come together behind wanting everyone to be free. Let us align means with ends as we envision a world that, against all odds, moves towards working for all of life. Let us dedicate our lives to service, to courage, to speaking truth, and to love.
If you ask for or give empathy and are met with accusations of codependency, there are a number of things you can do to check that you are coming from a place of healthy differentiation. You can see if you're doing so from a place of healthy differentiation -- and notice signs of healthy differentiation when you offer empathy. You can also bring a profound respect for differences, and clear boundaries. Read on for more.
Resentment is one sign that you need a boundary. You can set a boundary by requesting the behavior that would be most meaningful to you. Include why that behavior would be meaningful to you and share vulnerably. Then notice if you are holding any blame and ask yourself, “What do I need to feel underneath my blame?” If you can take responsibility for those feelings with compassion, the other person is more likely to collaborate.
Even in a conflict, you can offer emotional safety without being enmeshed -- and you can do this without sliding into strategies to gain power over another. You can prioritize connection, express your intention, make space for mutuality, honestly reveal what you care about and propose a way forward. This means caring for your needs regardless of their response -- and mourning if their response isn't what you want. Read on for more.
Worthlessness and shame are linked to the idea of not belonging or being unworthy of belonging -- that is, a deep sense of belonging to life, to your sense of self, and to our earth. Compensatory strategies to win worthiness and belonging arise from here and effectively block the very thing it is pursuing. Transformation occurs when there is a critical mass of clarity about the harm of a particular way of thinking and behaving.
Amidst racial violence, there are things that NVC can offer. And there are places where NVC culture needs to be more vigilant. Here are examples of where, amidst incredible loss and pain, "allies" and communities commonly (and often unknowingly) create false equivalences, minimization and re-injure those who've been historically marginalized -- even when they offer empathy, or aim to stay "safe". Read on to cultivate greater understanding and ways to respond differently.
The existing unequal risks and impacts people of certain race, class and identities face in society is magnified in these strenuous times -- especially with things such as illness, financial well being, discrimination, attacks, and death. As responsive NVC practitioners we can stand in solidarity with those who are differentially impacted. Read on for this, and additional ways to spot common pitfalls of doing so.
When someone responds with painful sarcasm, criticism, or dismissal you can respond with empathy, or with clarity about your intention, need and request. If you're unable to do this, later you can privately write what they said, identify the feelings and needs of both of you, then write possible responses. This can help you remember to stay with your intention and what’s true for you without getting caught in defensiveness or reactivity.
What have you lost this year during this COVID-19 pandemic? Are you grieving too? Recognition of loss can helped contextualize our emotions. When we can meet grief with understanding, patience and tenderness, when we create space to mourn our losses -- and to begin to process, heal and metabolize loss. This can helps us make sense of change and orient to a new reality. Grief is a longing for what we love.
Interrupt cycles of conflict by creating a new ways forward. You can do this by connecting with the energy of the met needs you want in the dynamic; guessing the other person's needs; naming your needs; asking essential questions; identifying at least three different strategies to meet each need; and imagining the positive outcome.