Saturday, January 8, 2011

In the beginning...

Pierre (my husband) came home one day with a book called "Arreter d'etre gentil et soyez vrai" by Thomas D'ansembourg.  At the time i was beginning my career as a social worker and I read pretty much everything that might help me better do my job. After having read the book and applied it in my work; I decided to continue researching the Non violent communication model. I liked what I read and decided to further my training. This decision was a turning point in my life.

Please answer the following questions:
Do you have trouble being heard or understood by your loved ones?
Are you disappointed or discouraged when you try to get cooperation from family members?
Have you ever been told to pay more attention to your needs?
Does this leave you with a sense of panic because you have no idea how to pay attention to your needs?
Do you make a habit of categorizing and judging life and people as either good or bad?

The idea is that the way we are organized and socialized in our society promotes a way of living that does not encourage people to be aware of their feelings and needs even though our emotions and needs underly the choices we make. In other words we make choices and take actions to meet our needs but are un-aware and perhaps even unable to name what motivates us. If you don't know what you really need then how can you possibly communicate what you really need to another person?

Specifically we have a tendency to use language that is judgmental and categorical. You are a good girl, bad boy. He or she is smart, stupid, lazy ect... We also tend to compare; you are like your sister, mother, aunt ect... and we tend to be unclear; He talks too much... We rarely talk about our feelings and when we do we make the assumption that our feelings are because of the circumstances or people in our lives for example "I am angry because you stole the car"

NVC is a simple but complex because it requires a change in the intention behind our communication. The intention of non violent communication is to make life as wonderful as possible for both yourself and others by figuring out what needs are present.

It involves a set of skills and attitudes: Self empathy, empathy for the other and honest expression.

Each of these three skills is based on a four step process: Observation, feelings, needs, requests.

Observation is the first step. It is describing what you see without judgement. Instead of your room is a mess describe that there are 2 shirts, pants, socks and a plate on the floor. It is also crucial in becoming aware of how we currently operate. Observing your inner state and being aware of it is a very important skill. When I did crisis intervention I always encouraged parents to be aware of when they or their children are in "a red light state"  or "emotionally hijacked" A crisis invariably involved at least two emotionally hijacked persons. Becoming aware of this state allows people to remove themselves from  the situation until they can talk without judgement and tap into their intention to meet the needs of all the people involved. It is impossible to operate with this intention when your body is taken over by chemical signals that are telling you to run away or attack "kill" annihilate the other person. Judgement creates this state of fear and need for protection and therefore the first step of  NVC encourages us to reduce the incidences of judgement and to learn to translate the judgement we hear from others into observations. This reduces the incidences of being in a state where you are hijacked.

When you are choosing to be in a state of self-empathy you are observing (describing) what is going on inside you, what your thoughts are, what emotions and what intentions are present within your body. When you are choosing to be empathetic towards the other you are guessing what might be happening inside the other person. When choosing honest expression you are stating a fact, describing what you see as though through a camera lens. For example "when you call me at midnight instead of you are being so rude for calling this late".

My three month old daughter is moving her mouth in a way that makes me think she may be hungry so I guess this is it for today!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment