In celebration of spring’s new beginnings, I’ve begun the process of midlife self-transformation in the area of interpersonal communication.
I dabbled an over-60 arthritic toe in these waters last year after reading Adam Grant’s Think Again ~ The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know. I wrote about this in my post The Power of Knowing You Don’t Know Squat.
I’m happy to say that book completely changed the way I approach opinions that differ from mine. Now, instead of arguing, this is how I communicate with someone whose opinion does not agree with mine:
LOL! Are you f*cking kidding me? No way have I achieved this transformation! I have, however, made some progress, thank you very much. I USED TO be like this:
But NOW I’m like:
This week, I finished reading Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. I loved the book. No joke. It has changed my thinking and I’m excited to begin putting this new (to me) approach in action. Here are some of Rosenberg’s quotations that spoke to me:
Avoid ‘shoulding’ on others and yourself!Marshall Rosenberg
Use anger as a wake-up call to unmet needs.Marshall Rosenberg
The more we talk about the past, the less we heal from it.Marshall Rosenberg
We are responsible for what we hear other people say and for how we act.
What others do may be the stimulus of our feelings, but never the cause.Marshall Rosenberg
It is a rare human being who can maintain focus on our needs when we are expressing them through images of their wrongness.Marshall Rosenberg
Labeling and diagnosis is a catastrophic way to communicate. Telling other people what’s wrong with them greatly reduces, almost to zero, the probability that we’re going to get what we’re after.
Empathizing with someone’s ‘no’ protects us from taking it personally.
Always hear the ‘Yes’ in the ‘No’.Marshall Rosenberg
When it comes to giving advice, never do so unless you’ve first received a request in writing, signed by a lawyer.Marshall Rosenberg
This book has had a profound effect on me. As a result, I now approach all communication with others in this way:
LOL! I wish! Nope, I’m not there yet, but I have made great progress. I USED TO be like:
But NOW I’m like:
After reading Nonviolent Communication I did have an enlightened conversation with a family member, during which I stated this:
"I am understanding that you feel frustrated, and need independence, respect, and admiration. I will give you the gift of meeting your needs by allowing you to do for yourself unless you specifically ask for my help."
Yeah…no. I have not worked up to actual conversation yet. But I did write this statement in my journal and it really has transformed the way I interact with this person by changing the way I feel and the messages I tell myself (when I’m not on persevacation). This is big and I’m excited about continuing this work.
I’m also super excited to try out this Nonviolent Communication tip when I apply for my Portugal Residency Visa:
"I'm hearing the 'Yes' in your 'No' about my 6-month refundable beach apartment rental agreement! I'm not taking 'No' personally because I'm empathizing and hearing 'Yes' to my application! Awesome! Thank you! Namaste!"
Seriously, both Rosenberg’s and Grant’s books have opened my eyes, mind, and heart in unexpected ways. While those who know me might not notice dramatic behavior changes, I hope incremental shifts eventually make a positive impact. No April foolin’ about that.
I owe a thank-you to blogger Shauna for recommending Rosenberg’s book in this post, which immediately caught my attention with its title: “Arguing is My Thing.” Thank you, Shauna!
Wishing you all a Friday filled with fun and foolishness! Thank you for reading 💜.
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