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.
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.
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.
There's reactive anger - the sudden outbursts of words, temper or action that create a nervous system response in another. And then there's the anger that's a reaction to someone's anger -- a nervous system startle-response. Instead of either of these, we can learn to heal with empathy, look for unequal power dynamics, take responsibility to make repairs, and shift into the clean, life-serving, fully expressed anger and love.
We can choose our stories of interpretation, and how to respond. And while stories of self-sufficiency can (to a degree) give us more influence over our own lives, they don't erase oppression, war, nor climate change. When stories omit a lens that includes impacts of interdependence, oppression, and structural inequities, stories can also keep us disconnected and blocked from compassion for self and others -- and perpetuating an oppressive status quo. However, with this lens we can make greater compassion and collective liberation possible. Even as the outcome is unknown.
Our world trains us to think in terms of providing for everyone’s needs because they deserve it, earned it, or they possess the resources -- it's fair, socially just, supports equality or because people have rights. Instead, can we step outside this worldview to look at providing for everyone’s needs because those needs exist -- can we hold this basic reverence for life? Are we able to have a needs-based dialogue when such a reframe could alienate those who live in the worldview of earn/deserve?
Here's an inspiring story of one citizen (the author) who faced a police officer and judge in court to contest a transit ticket... and inspired structural changes in the way one aspect of New York City transit operates. She inspires change with her application of empathy for self and others, acknowledgement, connecting requests -- and an inspiring vision of understanding, shared reality and living in a city where people have some trust in one another's intentions.
Some people in the NVC community consider the words "privilege" and "power" triggering and/or evaluative. From this perspective, how can the concepts of "privilege" and "power" be considered part of the NVC teaching? This writing piece examines the power and privilege debate. It also discusses what the author sees as Marshall Rosenberg and Gandhi's stance on the subject...
This pandemic is an immense opportunity, and a dire catastrophe in the making. It’s a crisis within many planetary crises — during which, our habits as individuals, and as a collective, are challenged because they don’t sustain us. Now we are pushed to respond freshly and join forces in ways that seemed impossible before.
When bullying occurs, if we do our own healing, our brains can become more sharp and present and willing to take action to connect and to begin to shift and mitigate the harm that trauma does in our world. We can reduce trauma inflicted upon others when we recognize the patterns of abuse and bullying, hold zero tolerance for it, bring in support for both sides of the conflict, and take action to effect systemic change. Read on for more.