Confession: I have held off writing these next three blogs because I have messed up in this department lately and felt I shouldn’t be sharing something I haven’t mastered.
But, as I see the opinions of so many people colliding I realize I need to give you a chance to learn about this process that has absolutely astounded me with its power. It has allowed me to step up and say really difficult things to people I consider more powerful and it has allowed me to step back and really try to understand what is behind the intensity of what another person is saying. Yes, I’ve failed, but 95% of the time the results have thrilled me because I could tell both of us left the conversation feeling heard and respected as we moved toward a connection based on truth.
This process which goes by the non-sexy name of “Non-Violent Communication” was developed by Marshall Rosenberg. I first heard about it when a Canadian with black skin explained how he developed a friendship based on mutual respect and understanding with an American member of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK)! It has been used successfully in schools and businesses and between members of opposing ethnic groups. I’ll give you a taste of it here, but encourage you to buy a copy of the book by the same name, or to learn more about it online.
Step One: Do I need to step up and express myself, or step back and really take in what’s going on with the other person? The first step is to determine who has the most energy in the moment. Is the person you are in conflict with writhing or even simmering with frustration, discouragement, distress, anger, sadness + + or are you? It’s a simple step, but a critical one in helping you determine which action is next required.
Over the next while I invite you to practice that skill of noticing the different intensity levels between you and the people in your world right now. In the next two blogs I’ll give the overview of how to work the process.