Message from Leslie at the Institute for Empowering Communication
A friend asked me recently, “Does your husband know NVC?”
I have not figured out how I want to answer this question yet. I’m
worried about the assumptions the other person might be making. I’m
scared that if NVC is understood as a ‘state of knowledge or being’,
rather than a journey, I might be judged as ‘having NVC’ or not.
Does my friend long for confirmation that, if one or two people work
hard together with NVC skills and consciousness, a relationship will
bloom? I am guessing we all long for our closest relationships to grow
and become closer and more beautiful.
Here are two truths that might shed light on this situation.
a)My husband has attended one 4-hour NVC workshop.
b)Every NVC workshop I’ve attended assumes or has stated that it doesn’t
take two toconnect at the heart, only one.
In my family I am the only one who has chosen NVC as a path on which I
want to tread.Given these facts, there are two things that have helped
me grow in my NVC consciousness inside and outside my marriage.
The first is support.From the beginning when I was confused, mulling
over how NVC could shed light on a situation, I had a friend, Myra, to
whom I could turn, ask questions and seek advice.I needed support and
encouragement.Another way I gained support is a practice group I
started. I am grateful for the practice group that gave me the chance to
make mistakes and continue to learn.If you don’t have an NVC friend or a
practice group I have found many other places to turn for support. The
cnvc.org website and the NVC Academy are great resources for forums and classes.You also may want to Google NVC U-tube videos . . . it’s a lot
The second thing is to trust that with time you will grow in your
ability to renew yourself in self-empathy. When I am in doubt that NVC
will effectively help me to be heard or help me connect with someone who I am seeing as my enemy, I try to remember to self-connect. In the
self-empathy mode of NVC, we are given the chance to let our judgments
and anger have full hearing without the damaging effects of speaking
them to another person.In self-empathy, I have all the tools I need to
make seismic shifts in my approach to relationships.
In my family, as far as I know, I am the only person who practices NVC
with intention every day. Nonetheless, my experience is that other
members of my family enjoy the results of my NVC consciousness so much; it seeps under their skin and comes back to me in beautiful gifts.The other day, after a bout of raising my voice regarding the work someone had done in our home in a way that did not meet my need for integrity, my husband said,”Leslie, when you say those words in that volume, I feel really scared and feel like making you stop or running away. I’m needing safety.”This was a gift. My family is a place of encouragement and support and growth sometimes without knowing it.
So, here is the answer to the original question. My husband and I are
journeying together sometime with NVC consciousness, and sometimes
without.We are much of the time, enjoying the fruits of NVC.