I had a most amazing realization an hour or so ago and just need to share it with somebody. And since I am the only one awake in the house at the moment and nobody seems to be available on Skype, here I go.
I have just attended a telecourse with Robert Gonzales, another Nonviolent Communication teacher. My first astonishment was about how amazingly effective and even mind blowing can a two-hour telecourse with around 50 people from all over the world actually be. Yet a much deeper realization was in regards to the content itself. I hope I will be able to make this short account understandable also to those not too familiar with the NVC terminology (however, if you are interested you may want to have a look at the three short films of Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of the NVC, explaining the very basics of it).
Anyway, nonviolent communication has a lot to do with getting in touch with our unmet needs and expressing them in a clear enough way so that the other person can receive it. In my everyday perception of my unmet needs the very awareness of them is normally accompanied by a certain amount of frustration and even anger. I do get in touch with my unmet need for acceptance and understanding, in an event of a recent conflict with my wife for instance, however I also feel frustration because this need is being unmet and a stubborn tendency within myself to persuade the other person to meet it. Therefore I seem to be circling in endless circles. With every new need that I am able to become aware of and to express it, another one pops up.
So tonight, while doing various exercises on this telecourse and going again and again over a specific event from couple of days ago, Robert Gonzales encouraged us to really sink into our needs, explore them and get in deep touch with them, get in tune with them rather than just simply become aware of them and tick them off: “Yeah yeah, this is my need for acceptance and there sits my need for understanding…” And when, through a series of exercises, I really got in tune with my need (in my case it was primarily the need for acceptance), several amazing things happened.
The first one was that I, completely experiencing my need for acceptance, slowly became very peaceful, content and fulfilled. All the restlessness, frustration and anger disappeared on a rather deep level. Not only this, I started to feel so much more alive. As if this need of mine suddenly ceased to be a deficiency and a inner contraction, but rather my connection with life, aliveness in me. Beautiful!
The next amazing thing that happened was that my urge to get this need of mine across, to communicate it to other person and to somehow persuade this person to do something about it (or at least start feeling guilty for not doing anything about it, ha ha), well, this urge of mine disappeared. I did not need anybody to do anything about it anymore and I was not angry at anybody anymore.
The last and perhaps the most miraculous thing for me was to notice that empathy spontaneously yet unmistakably started to grow in me, an empathy toward that person who was not giving me acceptance in the first place! What a shift in my mind. Yet completely natural.
It sounds too easy to be true, but right now it seems to me that 50 % of my difficulties in relationships would be long gone had I learned to focus on experiencing my needs rather than on the issue of whether my needs were being met by other people or not, subtly demanding them to meet them.
Hey folks, life keeps surprising me big time.