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
“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