Checking In, and Not Checking Out

Staying in communication with people takes some effort, and it takes some work. It can get messy quickly and shut down quickly when it does. When you walk out, when you check out, when you or I don’t complete working through an issue, you may avoid physical violence, which is good, but you are incomplete with that person. So, learning to stay the course, work it through and keep communicating is really helpful. When you want to be a peace-maker, that’s what you do. Non-violent communication.

What does that mean? Marshall B. Rosenberg created a powerful methodology for verbal communication to meet both parties’ needs. Using his concepts and steps will allow a more loving, compassionate, understanding leading to a higher level of functioning with others. It works great with teachers to students, parents to children, partners, friends, enemies… It’s a functional style of communicating that can transform and empower relationships with empathy.

First it’s good to remember what doesn’t work: moralistic judgments, name-calling, making comparisons, blaming or shaming, denying responsibility; these are all things that alienate and create cut off. Likewise, using force or coercion might get temporary compliance, but creates resentment and often fear, and going behind your back.

In child rearing, that means that punishment can be counterproductive to creating values in your child, can lower self-esteem, and create a rift for the future, and behind your back sneaky non-compliance.

So, what works is: 1. observing without evaluating, 2. identifying and expressing feelings and needs, and then 3. Taking responsibility for our feelings and needs. Then 4. The Request: not a demand, defining our objective with the request, with positive action language. Both sides can empathize with the other, and together work out something that meets both sides needs, usually.

So, for example: if a child hit someone after being called a name, I could say, “I’m sensing that you’re feeling angry because you’d like to be treated with more respect.” If my guess was correct, and the child says this is true, I would then express my own feelings, needs, and requests in this situation, without blaming anyone: “I’m feeling sad because I want us to find ways to get respect that don’t turn people into enemies. I’d like it if you’d be willing to explore with me some other ways to get the respect you’re wanting.”

Wow, what if we said that to our political leadership? Respect for both sides might transform this divisiveness into a working relationship, and a working country! There are no winners when the parties can’t work together.

Everyone wins making a stand for Peace-building, which is inspiring, respectful energy, seeking heart connections to inner joy and wisdom. – the words of the Empath Stretch, an Empatharian Demonstration/Meditation in a peace movement!

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