Words are one of the most powerful tools we have in our communication tool box.
“Every criticism, judgment, diagnosis, and expression of anger is the tragic expression of an unmet need.”
— Marshall B. Rosenberg
Let that quote settle for just a moment.
Consider your thoughts about yourself and others.
Most of the time, the way we regard ourselves is directly connected to and informs the way we regard others. It’s apparent in our conversations, our thoughts about others, and most definitely in our behavior.
Marshall Rosenberg’s work is among the most important bodies of work that many people have never heard of. He spent his life helping people, communities both in this country and in many others, to communicate more directly, compassionately and authentically. Non-violent communication (NVC) contains a number of tools for supporting essential change in the ways we interact and communicate with each other as individuals and in groups and in our communities.
“All violence is the result of people tricking themselves into believing that their pain derives from other people and that consequently those people deserve to be punished.”
— Marshall B. Rosenberg
The shaming and blaming that is, sadly, a significant part of our public discourse, has its roots in our feelings and whether we believe that our needs are being met. These are the foundation of our behavior.
Understanding ourselves is an important aspect of effectively communicating and connecting with others. If we are not aware of our needs, we cannot clearly communicate in a meaningful way with another. The Needs Inventory, is a list that may be useful in beginning to identify individual needs. Until and unless we become familiar with our needs, chances are that the way we communicate with others will not change. When we are familiar with our needs, communicating our feelings can facilitate the process of taking responsibility for meeting our own needs. The Feelings Inventory provides a list of feelings which can be a wonderful tool for communicating with others and can result in changing the quality of our interactions, deepening our connections to others and ultimately allowing us to become more responsible for meeting our needs.
Taking responsibility for ourselves is one of the most important tasks of our lives. Leading our lives; being individually responsible for our thoughts, actions, and feelings, is what each of us is up to, in our own way. Each of us has our own specific evolutionary intentions. Being responsible for ourselves is an aspect of our journeys which is common to us all.
The Spring is a time of renewal, re-birth, starting anew and beginning again.
May we resolve to soften our thoughts about ourselves, that we may soften our thoughts about others.
May we speak to ourselves with love and compassion, that we may offer love and compassion to others.
May we open our hearts, to learn what we may not yet know about ourselves, that we may be open to others, especially when they are hurting.
“What I want in my life is compassion, a flow between myself and others based on a mutual giving from the heart.”
― Marshall B. Rosenberg