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Wrong-Making & Transformation

The foundation of Compassionate Communication (NVC) is mindfulness.  Compassionate awareness of what's happening and what's creating disconnect sets the stage for change. Thus, I continually encourage those wishing to transform the way they communicate and relate to have consistent meditation and mindfulness practices. These practices strengthen your ability to live your life from your deepest values rather than from unconscious habits of mind, body, and heart.

As you begin to learn NVC, it's easy to transpose old critical ways of meeting yourself & others onto new shiny languaging.  More than ever you notice yourself and others in judgment, blame, demands, evaluations, and "have to's".  Without mindfulness, you can easily slip from compassionate noticing of these things to making yourself and others wrong.  Wrong making sounds something like this:  "That's not NVC!", "That's jackal talk.", "If you can't use NVC I won't talk to you.", "I know this is judging, but…(more judging)"  "That's not a feeling, it's an interpretation.", "You are just all in your head!".

At first, just noticing is all you can do. You notice there's disconnect and watch as it escalates.  As your mindfulness and skill evolve, with consistent practice, you are then able to notice disconnect and keep yourself from feeding it.  That is, remain compassionate rather than slipping into wrong-making.

At this point you are standing on a precipice.  You are ready to take a step out of the old way of relating into a whole new paradigm.

Taking that next step means compassionately naming the disconnect and then opening to the feelings and needs underneath and working your way to requests for yourself or someone else.  This is no easy task.  You are asking yourself to trust a new way of relating that doesn't involve willpower, intellectual analysis, and fault finding.  As you attempt to trust this new way of relating the old habits will rebel.  You might hear yourself having thoughts like:  "This is foolish, I am not getting anywhere."  "This is a waste of time."  "Why should I do all this work, when other people aren't?!"  Your mindfulness practice is to recognize these voices as a form of reactivity and acknowledge the fear from which they are arising.  Then come back to your choice to do this work even though it's slow, scary, and difficult.

Just as you translate your inner voices into feelings and needs, it's a constant practice to do the same with others. This means feeding back what others are saying and making an empathy guess as you do.  Here's an example, "Hearing you say 'I should have been there', I'm guessing you feel disappointed and would like more dependability and maybe support, is that right?"   Regardless of what someone is saying you are continually listening to the feelings and needs underneath.


Take a moment now, to breath deeply and let your muscles and thinking relax.  Whether you can feel it in this moment or not, allow even the smallest part of yourself to rest in something deeper than your thinking mind.  You might do this by putting your awareness in your center, feeling the bottoms of your feet rooted to the earth, or saying something to yourself like "I trust wisdom to arise naturally as I settle into my body and heart."

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