BLISSfix Greetings from Sunny (& Snowy) Colorado!
THE REAL REASON FOR HOSTING THE NVC EVENT
Today I’m experiencing remorse for a conversation I had with Sean last night over dinner and it reminds me of the real reason I invited Catherine Cadden to speak in Charlotte. The real reason is because as much as I respect this process, and have seen it work in my life, and have read several books on it, I’m still capable of forgetting it when I need it most. The real reason is because I want to live this compassionate way of life all the time, and I need help in order to do it. The real reason is that I’m hoping by having her speak, other people in Charlotte might be drawn to the teaching as well, and might want to practice with me on a regular basis. I see myself as a student and I’m looking for study buddies.
The Knitty Gritty Details of My Mistake
I’ve found there is nothing more frustrating than when I do something regretable, and I knew better than to do it. If it’s a first mistake or an action of ignorance… ok, well, I’ll learn and move on… but oh, do I give myself a hard time when it’s the 5th or 5,000th time I’ve learned the same lesson.
Last night in a moment of frustration, because I felt I hadn’t being heard or understood, I was critical of a photo idea Sean had. I told him I didn’t like it, and I might have gone as far as calling it ‘stupid.’ Why did I do that? Well, it wasn’t because I actually think it’s stupid… because it’s actually a pretty cool vision that he had. I did it because I was being defensive. What was I being defensive about? Well, I thought he wasn’t catching on to how hurt I felt last week when I had suggested several photo ideas while on a shoot only to have him ignore them.
This is an old pattern of mine, and of many… where when I feel ignored, or misunderstood, I make myself obvious and heard by lashing out with hurtful comments. “Zinger” “I gotch’ya!” “how do you like ‘dem apples!” is kind of the approach.
Now the last thing I want is for Sean to think that the comment I made actually reflects how I really feel. It doesn’t. I’ve already acknowledged here that I actually think his idea is quite good and that the comment was a defensive attack. My fear here is that the comment will drift around in the back of his mind, and collect with all the similar comments I’ve made in the past, and the similar comments other people have made in the past, and affect the way he feels about himself, or affect the way he feels about sharing ideas with me in the future. I honestly think Sean is very secure and so the risk of him feeling bad about himself because of my comment is pretty low, but just a month ago I had already detected that he felt I am too critical at times, so that fear has possible validity. At the moment I picked up on his feeling of me being too critical, I had determined to change my ways, and here I’ve gone and broken my agreement with myself to stop being critical. Argh!
Who am I to critique Sean? Who am I to judge his work, his point of inspiration, or him in any way? Sure I’m a creative person and I have creative opinions, but I also have the ability to express them consciously… not with my teeth bared and snarling! It’s not that I want to cut off my ability to have preferences, but I could open my ability to be more accepting, open-minded, open-hearted, allowing, etc. Being judgmental is not who I really am and it is not who I want to be. I believe it is my ego that is trying to sort people, places and things into categories of good, bad and ugly. And I believe that is my highest function on this earth to be a person of forgiveness, love and acceptance of all that is. Including myself.
I’m sure you can hear the many layers of self-loathing in my expressed frustration, but I honor that whether it be the 5th or 5000th time I’ve let myself down, it is yet another oportunity to forgive and accept myself as I am. And it’s here that I start my healing of the situation from last night. I first forgive myself, because I cannot give what I do not have. Now I will forgive Sean for whatever imaginings of wrong-doing I was defending myself against. I don’t want to even label them here, because like I said, it was imagined. And lastly, I will ask him to forgive me from my attack, and that is his free will and path to peace to choose to forgive me or not.
But back to attacks being imagined… I am coming to believe that anything I view as an attack against me is an illusion, because I believe that everything is happening for my good. Everything is an oportunity for me to remember my truth. So perhaps in that moment where I didn’t feel heard, perhaps it was an oportuity for me to remember that I don’t need to be heard to exhist. Maybe I could have remembered that I hear and love and accept myself and I don’t need that service from Sean or anyone else. From that place of acceptance, perhaps I could have done a better job of vocalizing what was ‘really’ happening and here’s where the NVC training comes in.
Perhaps the conversation could have gone like this instead:
“Sean, I hear that you really like it when I’m happy in the business and I really appreciate that. I acknowledge that the last few months have been much better and I have enjoyed being more involved in the brainstorming process and feeling my creativity has an outlet here. I want to also acknowledge my feeling of disappointment that the last 3 weeks haven’t allowed for my creativity as much. And at times I’ve been scared that we were regressing to old patterns where my ideas weren’t valued. I also want to accept responsibility that all of my volunteer activities have taken a lot of my time and could have impacted your ability to come to me for my ideas and therefor it might actually be a sign that if I want to continue enjoying my creative roll in the business, then I need to reduce the amount of activities demanding my time. I’d like to know now, what you heard me say. …. (at which point Sean would be given the opportunity to reflect my thoughts back to me and I could clarify if he had taken any of them personally, or if I had left anything out.)
What I really like about this improved conversation is that I voiced my accurate feelings (i’m disappointed and scared) and I also took responsibility for my contribution to the situation, which gives me power to make a change myself. In the actual conversation, I didn’t express any feelings, I just told Sean angrily what I thought about his photo idea… which had nothing to do with anything. And therefor continued our confusion and miscommunication.
So, it’s fine and dandy that I’m able to type an improved conversation 16hrs later… but I’d love to get so good at this practice that I never lash out at Sean or anyone again. That I begin to live compassionately, and think compassionately, and really get that there is nothing in this world for me to defend myself against. We are all spiritual beings, and if I dip into my compassionate nature, it is more likely that I will reach the compassionate true nature of the person I’m tempted to view as an attacker… be it minor, like this conflict with my husband, or major, like in a life or death situation.
There are many great examples of averted life threatening situations in Marshall Rosenberg’s book “NonViolent Communication: The Language of Life,” which I will review soon.
Blessings to you all and thanks for being part of my growth! All my best! – heather