Let’s look at another difficult topic now that we have a better understanding of our reactions and feelings: determining your needs. People don’t have enough practice doing this, which is why it’s so difficult; instead, they fall into the blame game.
Because we rarely communicate our wants and then blame others for not meeting them, the blame game is a classic catch-22. We may chastise our partners for being messy when they do not satisfy our standards of orderliness, such as leaving unwashed dishes in the kitchen without communicating that we require the kitchen to be clean. And if we blame them, they’ll almost certainly feel guilty and become defensive.
There is a solution to this problem, and it begins with us communicating our own requirements as clearly as possible. Many of us, however, find it difficult, if not downright frightening, to express our actual feelings. Because they’ve been raised to do so, women in particular often overlook their own needs in order to care for others.
However, we can all improve our directness. You only need to express yourself directly if you want to be understood by people and have their hearts open to your needs. In fact, the more forthright you are about your needs, the easier it will be for others to respond compassionately to them.
So, if your partner leaves unwashed dishes behind, express your disappointment and propose a solution that works for both of you: “Having to clean filthy dishes after a hard day at work stresses me out. Could you please double-check that they’re clean before I return? Or maybe we could make a schedule and divide up the tasks?”
If you don’t express your wants clearly, you’ll end up causing yourself a lot of unnecessary anguish. It’s critical that you start paying attention to your personal needs right away. And this is something we’ll look at more closely next: how can we articulate our wants honestly once we’ve identified them?
We’ve talked about three aspects of peaceful communication so far: observations, feelings, and needs. Let’s get to the last stage of the NVC process: requests. How can we convey our needs in a way that encourages people to respond compassionately to us?
A concise request should be made to explain what you truly desire. And the more specific we are about what we desire from others, the more probable it is that we will receive it. This entails expressing requests in a constructive manner. When you ask for something to be done, you use positive language, and when you ask someone to cease doing something, you use negative language. The latter is sometimes ambiguous, which can lead to misconceptions or confusion.
It’s also crucial to turn requests into real actions so that others understand what they need to perform. Consider an employer who wants input from his workers but is aware that they are hesitant to speak up. “I’d like you to feel free to share your ideas with me,” he could say. He’s conveying that he wants them to “feel free” to say whatever they want.
He did not, however, specify exactly specific acts individuals could do to feel free. To assist them, he should make a request based on positive action language principles: “I’d like you to tell me what I could do to help you feel more comfortable sharing your opinions with me.”
As we’ve seen, NVC is an excellent tool for improving interpersonal relationships, but it also has the potential to help you improve your connection with yourself. The first step toward a better self-relationship is to recognize when you are not being compassionate to yourself, and judgemental self-talk is a crucial indicator of this tendency. This is the voice in our heads that constantly condemns us for even minor errors. “I’m such an idiot!”, “I can’t believe I’ve done it again!”, or “How could I be so stupid?” are all phrases you may have heard yourself utter.
Rather than getting caught up in this self-hating internal conversation, attempt to comprehend and identify the demands that are fueling your self-judgment. The truth is that, like all other judgements, self-judgments are the manifestation of unmet needs. As a result, when you hear judgemental self-talk, you should stop listening to it and focus on your unmet needs.
It may take some time for you to figure this out. However, you may soon discover that in your desire to help others by presenting a fantastic lecture, you neglected your own need for self-care. You didn’t give yourself enough time to eat, so you reached for a bowl of yoghurt as a quick fix, spilling it. You can now replace your self-judgment with a loving comment, such as “It’s okay, you’ll pay greater attention to your own needs next time.”
You’ll be able to “mourn” the fact that you’re not perfect if you can learn to totally connect with your unfulfilled wants. While you may be disappointed that you were never able to achieve your ideal picture of yourself, you will no longer despise yourself for it.
Until now, we’ve concentrated on four NVC components that are critical for proper self-expression. Let’s look at how we might apply the same concepts to our listening abilities. To begin, we must listen empathically if we are to truly comprehend another person. This is providing a time and place for others to properly express their emotions while also attempting to feel what they are feeling.
The vast majority of people fail to do so, instead offering advice, answers, or reassurance. However, it’s possible that you’re not actually listening to the other person’s emotions while attempting to solve their situation. Listening carefully and asking questions about their needs, feelings, and wishes is the best policy. They may require advise or even a hug at times, but they may also be unaware of their own needs.
That’s where contemplation and paraphrase come in handy. People’s true needs may differ from what they say and believe they require. You can help them grasp what they’re trying to say by reflecting and paraphrasing.
You restate what she said back to her in your own words to make sure you understood: “We missed a delivery since none of the team members were aware of it.” This informs her that you’ve grasped the concept and gives her the opportunity to correct you if required.
Instead, she verifies your statement, saying, “Yes, we need to alter the system so that everyone is aware when a delivery is expected.” Your usage of NVC has helped her see that the problem she is having is with the current system, not with you.
We can’t avoid the tensions that arise in our daily lives. The principles of NVC, fortunately, give important tools for settling disagreements. So, here’s what you should do the next time sparks fly.
You must first and foremost build a human connection. This bond is the foundation upon which the persons involved can comprehend one other’s emotions and wants. The second stage is to be certain that the desire to connect stems from a genuine place. It must be apparent from the start that the purpose is to provide a secure space where each person may communicate his or her needs, rather than to control the other party. This can be accomplished by watching and analyzing emotions, relating them to the needs of both parties, and developing concrete, feasible requests.
These requests are then examined in order to achieve satisfaction rather than compromise. When both parties’ requirements are addressed, satisfaction is achieved. This contrasts with compromise, in which both parties give up something and neither is completely satisfied.
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a way for reducing conflict in our hearts and interpersonal interactions. We may progressively improve the world by instilling compassion in every word we speak and listening to everyone’s needs, even our own.
So give it a shot. Recognize your requirements. Take a deep breath and consider the source of your anger the next time you’re upset. Rather than asking yourself, “Who am I upset with?” ask yourself, “Why am I furious?” You’ll realize that it’s your reaction, not other people, that makes you angry if you address the feelings at the foundation of your rage. You’ll soon regain control of the situation and determine which of your wants has still to be met.
Check out my related post: How to improve your communication skills?