Monday, March 30, 2009

Connecting to Life with Requests

PHOTO CAPTION: "Photo courtesy"

"If our objective is simply to change people's behavior or to get what we want, nonviolent communication (NVC) is not the language for us. This is a language for those of us who want people to say "yes" to our requests only if they can do so willingly and compassionately." - Marshall Rosenberg

Many times people focus on changing other people's behaviors and are only concerned with getting what they want. When this occurs, the person asking has a closed heart to the other person's feelings and needs. If the other person says "yes" to their request and does so unwillingly, it will come with a price. Resentment and bitterness may be present and disconnection occurs.

Parents tend to fall into this trap and vicious cycle. They demand things from their children and get attitude, resistance and/or the rolling of the eyes.

Compassion involves thinking of others and opening our hearts to other's feelings and needs. If we sense that someone does not want to do something, we can check with them and find out what is keeping them from freely giving to us. It may be that someone is tired and for that reason does not want to spend time with us. We can offer to come back in a couple hours and suggest they take a nap instead of having a tired, unhappy and resentful person hanging out with us.

If we do not demonstrate compassion in our interaction with others, then we choose to be focused only on ourselves and send negative energy into the universe.

Marshall Rosenberg asks parents two questions that are relevant to anybody:

1. What is it that you want the child (person) to do?

2. What do you want the child's (person's) reasons to be for doing as your request?

Most parents would want their child to do as they requested because they see the value in the request that is being made. For instance, if a child was asked to clean his room. What parent wouldn't want the child to do this because he wants to contribute to the household or to keep his room organized?

Yet, many children do things motivated by fear of punishment or for rewards and they miss out on learning values. They do because they are afraid of the consequences and not out of an intrinsic motivation. Not only does the child have resentment toward the parent, but the child is doing things for the wrong reasons.

Compassion calls us to focus on others and not just think about ourselves. When we are compassionate we are others focused. When we realize other's feelings and needs, their is an internal shift that occurs within us. We can now think of ways to get not only our needs met but other's needs met as well.


Anonymous said...

Interesting and well-written, I would like to see it updated often.@l

philly5113 said...

Well said, well said! It is so important for us to really listen to what we ask and what is being said in return and then follow up. It makes the world of difference to be on the same accord and it can go further than one could ask. There's an old saying about flies and honey, (you can catch more 'flies' with honey than with vinegar) its very true. Resentment and compliance does not a team make.

Eddie Zacapa said...

A.J.Johnson - Thanks for your encouraging words. I am hoping to start publishing at least one post a week in the future. :)

Philly5113 - I can't agree more with your comment. "Resentment and compliance does not a team make."