I’m on a number of mailing lists of NVC providers, publishers, and organizations. Lately, I’ve been noticing that my idea of the consciousness of NVC isn’t always matched by what I’m reading. The following is an excerpt from an newsletter that I read, which shall remain unnamed:
Focus on Needs
Stay focused on needs/values. (Have a needs list available for people to reference.) People can more readily accept and value what’s being said when needs are clearly stated.
It’s easier to warm up to the statement “The way this case was handled didn’t meet my needs for fairness and equality and I’m wondering if you’re willing to explore with me how it might be handled differently in future” than the statement “I was treated unfairly and that’s unacceptable.”
The author is giving a suggestion for how to speak in a more connecting way. I had an “ick” reaction to it instantly, feeling at first annoyance. Obviously my own judge and jury were on duty, there. Then I felt sadness and discouragement as I realized I have a longing for a deeper, more meaningful shift in consciousness so we all might live in more harmony and peace.
What I read above is our same old habitual thinking cloaked a new formula for talking. This is an example of my least favorite form of expressing needs: “That doesn’t meet my need for…” which sounds to me like a vague demand, and is a form that also usually has some criticism wrapped up in it. In the above I hear a statement that, while less obviously ouchy than the original statement, is outwardly directed and still rooted in judgment.
Figuring out what to say instead of “that’s unacceptable,” or whatever, without addressing the thinking that underlies the urge to say such a thing won’t get us far in nurturing a connection. It’s an inside job, as the saying goes. If I’m having a story that I was treated unfairly, just finding a new way to say, “Hey, you’re treating me unfairly” won’t help me release my moralistic judgment (they did something that was unfair) and make a heart connection with another human being. I might take some of the sting out of my statement so they freak out a little less, but I will not get to the yummy place of joyful collaboration.
I’m wondering if people experience some small relief from that little shift in their language. If they find a new way to speak that stings less, perhaps they will be willing to accept the results of mild de-escalation as success. “Hey, they didn’t freak out on me nearly so much! Cool!”
I don’t want us to stop there. I don’t even want us to start there. The yummiest, most connecting, transformative shifts I’ve experienced are shifts in consciousness and thinking. When I’m free of judgment, moralism, blame, attachment, etc., I don’t have to practice how to talk. My words will flow naturally in a way that illustrates my intention and focus on serving life.