We’ll explore how to naturalize NVC, especially when it’s challenging…
Sunday, July 14, 2013 ~
Naturalizing NVC (especially when the going gets tough)
When emotional intensity rises, it’s often an indication that significant values are at stake. Inquire, first, what will restore balance or a sense of being centered (of which identifying core needs — as in the refrain, ‘this is not about me, it’s about needs’ — is one potential strategy) and then, secondly, seek a way in which one might continue to engage, to further participate (with one’s dignity intact).
Miki Kashtan: “I’m curious to know how many people have irritated people in your life by how you speak with NVC? So, if I use NVC that is not fully integrated, then in a certain small way, I am imposing my practice on other people. So I want to take a moment of silence, as for me, this insight was of great depth for me, when I finally got it.
Than we find ourselves in a very difficult situation. We no longer want to use the old ways but we don’t have the new ways integrated. Be careful now, as you are at your most vulnerable.
One is to learn some techniques for making the language sound more natural.
Second is to have enough self-acceptance to let go of trying to use NVC with people, that are not NVC speakers, and just be spontaneous and let things happen. We all survived many years of living without NVC.
And the third thing is to try make an explicit agreement with the person. I want to give you a way of trying making the agreement. Something like, ‘I really don’t like what happens between us when I talk the way I used to talk. So I would like to talk differently, even though it sounds stilted. Because I have some hope that it will help us. Are you willing for me to try?’ And if the person says yes, than we have a practice group right there. It’s more vulnerable than using NVC on top of fear.
Usually when people try to use NVC in a context where it is not integrated, there is nervousness and fear and discomfort going on, but we don’t say it so then what we communicate nonverbally is disconnection both between the true level of our consciousness and our language and between the true feelings and needs that we have and what we say. For example, if I’m judging you as selfish and disrespectful, but I know I should speak NVC, there is a gap between my consciousness and my language. Then I say, ‘This is not meeting my need for respect.’ But I’m like this, because of that gap. And the other person picks up the discomfort much more than the words.
So if we can say, ‘There is a lot going on inside of me that I don’t know how to say usefully. And I’m nervous and uncomfortable and yet I still want to try to connect in a different way than the one that I don’t like which gets us into trouble.’ Who would say no to that? Why would anyone want the old argument. So when people say, ‘don’t NVC me’ what they are saying is be authentic. Authenticity comes before words…
The second piece is to let go of perfection and to be honest and authentic about the spontaneous truth that lives in me. Eventually I will know how to translate. For now, if I don’t have the agreement, it is better that I speak jackal that is authentic than that I speak NVC that is imposed on you without your agreement and without my authenticity. I much prefer that we speak authentic jackal than distorted NVC look-alike that isn’t real. I hope you take this deep to your heart for the benefit of all beings.” [italics, mine own]
See also Miki’s blog: The Fearless Heart
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Many years ago I had a dramatic experience when I offered someone extremely difficult feedback, the most difficult I believe I have ever given to anyone, and he demonstrated a way of receiving it that inspired me. As I was almost in panic about what I had said to this person, and yet knew that I couldn’t relate to him without saying it, he looked me in the eye and told me that his practice was that whenever anyone said anything to him about himself, he stretched to imagine it being true, and then attempt to digest it from that perspective. What I had shared with him was that I experienced him as having unusual powers, like a magician, and that I didn’t trust that the power he had was all benign. Having said that and gotten the response I got, all the tension about speaking that I had been feeling drained out of me, and was replaced by admiration and appreciation for this man. It’s hard to describe the oddity of sitting with him, still not trusting his power, and nonetheless appreciating him so much. We then proceeded to explore, together, what could possibly be the source of the “darkness” that I had experienced about his power. The details of that exploration have evaporated from my memory; it’s only the flavor of the interaction, and the intensity of his willingness to explore with me that stayed as a model.I have often wondered about what made it possible for this man to have such extraordinary and exquisite openness. What did he do with his own need to be seen and accepted? Sadly, I have no answer. At the time I lacked the vocabulary to ask about this, as this conversation predated my involvement with Nonviolent Communication and the awareness of needs that comes with it. Subsequently, life took him to other countries and our collaboration ended.Regardless of what was true for him, the question remains. I have never met anyone else who could take in such difficult comments with such grace. What makes it so difficult, and what can we do about it?
If anyone had told me some 30 years ago that at some point in the future I would be working with people much of my awake…