2017 Maui IIT Reflections
It is difficult to understand NVC without first opening up to the place of vulnerability. That word vulnerable has two meanings for me; one from a place of acceptance within yourself and an openness to explore reasons. Without this openness of being vulnerable NVC would just be a word or a concept for me, and not a practice.
One of our facilitators shared with the group that we cannot show true empathy (verbal and nonverbal) and self-expression in a healthy manner without understanding our connection to self. When we can truly connect internally to our own feelings and needs, we can then listen for and reflect on the other person’s needs and feelings (empathy). When we are connected to the self, we know how to request our own feelings and needs.
by Nalani Cleveland
Applying the Lessons with Instant Results
“At an NVC parenting class I recently attended, I had the opportunity to go over an exchange that I had with my two year old son. The exchange with my son had left me feeling frustrated and sad, as well as at a loss for how to deal with his refusal to cooperate with me in the morning.
I just wanted a way to work together with my son that was respectful, and effective at getting him dressed!
After reviewing the scenario with the trainer, we then created a redo of the exchange to look at what I could try doing differently. I then “tried on” the idea of checking in with myself before reaching the boiling point of my frustration. I would simply pause to see what my own needs were in that moment. In this process I was able to identify what was really important to me in the situation. I then reflected on what needs were being unmet for me (the actual cause of my frustration), and what was really going on for my son, what was motivating him.
It was suggested that I also take a moment to notice that he was in fact only playing a game, and connecting with where he was at. In this case I could say, ” Ah, seems like you are having a fun game right now?”
He was playing his “you cant get me game”, and I was needing to take care of myself and feeling unable to.
My frustration began melting in the realization that underlying my need for cooperation, was my need for my son’s and my own well being, i.e.; getting him dressed warmly, and myself fed.
I took this practice home and tried applying it right away, my son noticed a difference in my approach and our level of cooperation, and even more importantly to me, our level of connection improved tremendously! All of this shifted in mere moments. It turns out, cooperation and respect are only possible when both of us are feeling connection first.”
by Joy Parker-Brown, NVCnextgen Parenting Class attendee
My Restorative Practices Playshop Experience
This past weekend, Jim and Jori Manske put on a playshop on Restorative Solutions and Nonviolent Communication. That was December 9, 10 and 11th.
It was a great experience and I furthered my knowledge and depth of empathy practice. We had a wonderful mock restorative justice circle on Sunday to end, and it was great to see how justice can come about with connection and understanding and empathy are the values instead of blame and punishment.
I so long for this model to be used where I live, so that we can have more peace and connection, and smaller and smaller prisons and a safer and safer community. I encourage you to take us up on our offer to do Nonviolent Communication seminars, restorative seminars, for an evening, a day or a weekend, for your group.
By Genesis Young, MD, NVCnextgen’s co-founder
December 14, 2016
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We are excited to announce Empathy Stories, edited by Mary Goyer, has been released just in time for the holidays. This inspiring book of “real life” empathy written by NVC trainers and others, includes 3 stories by Jim.
Please enjoy a copy and give one as a gift AND Amazon donates through Amazon Smile to
Once you are signed in at Smile.amazon.com using the link above, use this link to make your purhase: Empathy Stories, Heart, Connection and Inspiration.
Jim and Jori
November 24, 2016
And warm wishes on this national holiday of gratitude!
To support peace and connection this Thanksgiving, please consider these tips for navigating your celebration with peace.
1. Start with gratitude! (Details below!)
2. Empathy before Education. Consider reflecting what is important to the speaker before educating them on your view. For example:
Guest A says: “I’m so happy Trump was elected! Now we can get our country back!”
You respond: “So, for you, you are feeling hopeful that the results of the election will help our citizens?”
Guest A says: Yeah!
You say, “Thank you! For me, I feel ____________________, because ________________ is important to me! I imagine you share that value as well! How do you feel hearing that?” Then, back to “Empathy Ears”!
3. At the end of the day, consider ending with gratitude and a celebration of our connection. “I’m so grateful that we had this opportunity to share some time together. It met my needs for community, celebration, and inspiration!”
And here’s some specific tips on sharing and receiving gratitude in a powerful way.
Compliments are often judgments – however positive – of others, and are sometimes offered to manipulate the behavior of others. With a compliment we are telling someone what they did right as opposed to wrong. Both are judgments and are life-alienating statements. NVC encourages the expression of appreciation solely for celebration.
Three Components of Appreciation:
What specifically did someone do that made your life more wonderful?;
What need(s) were satisfied?
How do you feel right now as you consider the fulfillment of those needs?
Sometimes when we offer appreciation and gratitude like this, people feel shocked and surprised to hear it, so its recommended that we add a request asking for a reflection back of what was just expressed. “How do you feel hearing that from me?”
Example: Observation — Sam and Tina spent 3 weeks creating the surprise birthday party for Laura. They made call after phone call and tracked down her friends to invite them to share in the fun. Laura was surprised.
Consider the difference between:
Laura: “Gee, thank you Sam and Tina. I want to compliment you on a great party.”
With NVC: Laura: “Sam and Tina, I’m so grateful (feeling) to both of you for putting this surprise together for me (what they did). It has been so much fun (need). I really enjoyed (feeling) seeing and connecting (need) with all my friends and cannot remember having so many of them all in the same place at the same time. You’ve really contributed to my life and made my birthday special. For this I am grateful.
Receiving Appreciation and/or Gratitude
When we receive appreciation expressed in this way, we can do so without any feeling of superiority or false humility by celebrating along with the person who is offering the appreciation. Kelly Bryson, in his book, Don’t Be Nice, Be Real, says, “If we do not need approval, then what do we do when others compliment us? Compliments are one of the great joys in life and are an important way of learning about how we are affecting others.” He suggests:
When you receive a “compliment” from someone, consider asking:
What you said or did that they are reacting to
What needs were met by this (or empathize to discover this)
What feelings s/he is having about this
If you were a contractor, someone might say, “Great job on the plaster!”
You might respond with, “Wonderful, what did you like about what I did?”
Listen for needs met in their response and check them out. You hear, “Well, you got everything done in the time you said you would, the color matches perfectly, and you cleaned up when you were done!”
Now ask or empathize to discover what feelings they are having about getting that need(s) met. “Are you grateful that the work got done with ease, and that your hopes for beauty have been realized and that order has been restored?” by Jim Manske @ radicalcompassion.com
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