"Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny."
YES. Triple yes! BUT,
The important part to remember is: you are NOT your thoughts.
Your thoughts are the manifestation of your being.
Whatever you do, how you act and interact with others, that is how they will treat you. And that will reflect back in your thoughts.
And you will start to believe that this is you.
We have to connect to ourselves to know our believes, values, feelings and needs. Then connect to the other person. And then act on the situation.
Usually this happens the other way around. We act on a situation, then with the other person and lastly with ourselves.
All of that happens through expression, to be exact: through speech.
Our speech is so very powerful and can thus be very harmful to ourselves but also to our relationships.
Example: you have a friend who always comes late.
What you say 🗣️ “you don’t care about our relationship”
What you thought 💭 “I am hurt because you never arrive on time”
Through this said statement the other person will most likely not get your point and instead might be mad and start a fight.
If we listen to our feelings and don’t let anger overrule, we are more likely to connect to the other person.
But how do we listen to our feelings instead of reacting out of anger?
We have to connect to ourselves first, to be able to identify our feelings and therefore to be able to deepen the connection to another person.
How do we do that?
This doesn’t happen over night. It takes time and practice to develop this skill.
Step out of your habitual way of reacting and instead identify reoccurring outcomes.
1 Observe instead of judge: use the so called spiritual speech, leave out pseudo facts aka the judgement and introduce descriptions into your communication
What’s a pseudo fact?
You agreed to meet with a friend at 6pm.
Your friend is coming late (in your opinion/judgement) and you say “you are late”
The fact or description of the situation would be: “your are here 10 past 6, that’s 10 minutes later then we agreed on”
2 Name your feelings: and this does not include the following 🗣️”I feel misunderstood”, 🗣️“I feel abandoned” or 🗣️ “I feel like/that…”
We tend to use the words “I feel” in a context that does not describe our feelings and does not only include us in singular but also another person. A feeling in this case is what the communication with this person made you feel.
As an example: “I feel confused and desperate because it seemed to me like you did not hear what I was trying to say”, the feeling would be “confused and desperate”, the observation would be “it seemed to me like you did not hear what I was trying to say”
3 Identify and express your needs: what are your needs? Starting with the nice universal needs defined by Manfred Max-Neef can help you to start this practice: affection, creation, freedom, identity, participation, protection, recreation, subsistence, and understanding
Often times in our society strategies are viewed as needs. Especially in the consumer culture. Take the example of a certain yoga pose. We might think the need is to learn the pose, but instead it’s the strategy to meet the need for joy, growth or physical well-being.
“It is 10 past the time we agreed to meet, I feel frustrated because my need for respect is not met”
Saying this can make people feel criticized by the other person. So it is important to add an immediate request after your self-expression.
4 Making a request: this does not mean the other person will meet your needs! In order to communicate non violently your expectations of the respond must stay open.
How does a request look like?
It’s about asking the other person to do something so that your needs are met.
In our example this can look like this:
“Would you be willing to spend 10 minutes with me to wash the dishes together?”
It is not about communicating the “right way”. It’s about getting to know your needs, identify your feelings and becoming clear about your intentions. So you can communicate on behalf of your believes and values and attract the people into your life that resonate with those.
When we connect to ourself and are able to identify our needs, we don’t rely on the other person to meet those needs. We ourselves can meet that need by finding another strategy.
For example: if you feel desperate because your need for love is not met, your strategy can be to find love in another person, but also you can find love in many other sources than another person and that makes it way easier to deal with the need for love.
In the following I will provide 3 different exercises for you (and me) to practice non violent communication 🤍✨
Watch your thoughts for the next 3 days.
what judgement are you making about yourself?
What judgements rise up about other persons?
Write down 1 each day and translate them into observations. Observations do not include evaluations.
Notice your feelings and needs for the next 3 days.
take a specific time 9am, 12pm, 3pm and notice what feelings run your body.
take a specific time 9am, 12pm, 3pm and notice what needs arise.
Reflect on your feelings/needs and notice if these really were feelings/needs or if you write down pseudo feelings/strategies.
Create and notice a request.
Take 3 needs you noticed in the past days and write down a regarding request.
Focus your awareness towards the other person and notice if they are requesting you. Hints can be “please” and “thank you”.
References: What We Say Matters: Practicing Nonviolent Communication, Judith Hanson Lasater, Ike K. Lasater, 2009, Shambhala Publications Inc