What could be, more often than not, overlooked when we think about or represent NVC or Marshall Rosenberg's work? This article busts some commonly held ideas and approaches to NVC. It challenges us to widen the lens of what it really means to be "life-serving", or speaking and hearing the "language of life". And it also speaks to how thinking can deepen feeling and relatedness...
Sitting with not knowing is an NVC skill because its the opposite of reactivity. In our haste to find relief from the discomfort of not knowing, we often become defensive, jump to conclusions, and blame and criticize others. Sitting with not knowing requires us to suspend our distrust, tolerate fear and uncertainty - creating space within us. NVC provides a way forward to enter into a space of wonder, possibility, and creativity.
Anger can alert us that a need may be threatened. When anger lives in someone as a well-worn habit, it arises from a place of dissociation from one’s heart and is entangled with misinterpretations, a deep sense of threat, a history of pain, and social conditioning that isn’t life-serving. Read on for how intention, mindfulness, and specific actions can change that habit.
Someone may give more weight to your ideas, decisions, and directives based on your experience and what you've learned. This could influence them to project their ideals, fears, hopes, and more onto you. In this case, you can help transform this and contribute to their connection to their own agency, authenticity, and self-trust -- while supporting their ability to learn from what you have to offer.
Past hurt and pain can get triggered even when it doesn't have much to do with the present. When that happens we can gain perspective by self reflecting, engaging self empathy, grounding an "anchor", noticing the present-moment safety, naming needs and making requests.
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.
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.
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.