Communication Educates Others How to Treat Us
While we are in this human experience, one of our greatest opportunities for growth is in looking at how we use communication to connect with each other and find common ground. What and how we communicate directly links to what we create, as does what we do or do not say. How we communicate teaches other people how to treat us. Being centered in the heart and being in integrity informs the outcome of our conversations and relationships with those in our lives, amplifying communication in relationships. Essential parts of communication include being vulnerable, active listening, and knowing how to say no. The practice called Non-Violent Communication is a process to express these elements in healthy, productive ways.
Vulnerability and Communication
Inside the energy of vulnerability lives the element of compassion. Compassion is an important element of effective communication, with ourselves and how we interact with others. The more we practice compassion, by being in the heart, we become more anchored and centered in ourselves. We need these qualities to be masterful in our communication. For real vulnerability to occur, we must be deeply connected to ourselves, and profoundly open to life. Described energetically, vulnerability comes from a state of love. It’s a state of empowerment and grace. There’s tremendous clarity in it that can leave us feeling safe enough to authentically connect with others and establish healthy communication skills. It’s not because the other person is creating a tremendous amount of safety. It’s because of how well we know ourselves. We’ve learned to trust our ability to care for our state of being. Therefore, we can open our hearts to the world. If we get triggered or feel hurt, we can handle that. Feeling safe in ourselves allows us to be vulnerable, or more heart-centered, in our day-to-day life.
In this video, Oakley Ogden – Awakened Life Master Teacher – explains what vulnerability is and how important it is in living and communicating authentically.
Listening and Communication
Vulnerability allows for deeper listening to ourselves and to others, and it is a big part of communication. As much as we speak, we need to listen even more. The safer you feel with yourself, the more you can come from a vulnerable state, which makes it easier to learn to listen. You don’t need to worry so much about being heard to feel loved. That love is already firmly established inside of you. This allows you to relax and focus more on hearing where the other person is coming from. Active Listening Skills give us the ability and the capacity to connect more authentically and deeply. And it’s our capacity to listen and be vulnerable that gives others the chance to rise to higher possibilities of connection.
Oakley explains three forms of communication in this next video.
“This is how to human. You can begin to see that by being accountable to yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit, and your emotions, you can access this deeper part of yourself. This unyielding source of consciousness, and begin to expand this aspect of yourself and experience your day-to-day life totally differently.” ~ Oakley Ogden
Healthy Communication: How to Say NO!
Once we’re clear about our needs, saying no is much easier. If you can’t say “no,” then a “yes” becomes weak and often more of a burden. Although it can feel uncomfortable, even scary, to say no, often when you say yes and really mean no, not only do you suffer, but the other person usually ends up getting angry or frustrated as well. When saying no, as with all of this, it’s about the energy we’re leading with. If we’re feeling angry or frustrated for feeling put upon, we can clear our own energy by doing this process.
- Ask yourself – Is what I am feeling love or fear-based?
- Acknowledge – Right now, I acknowledge I feel… xxx.
- Accept – And I fully recognize and accept its presence.
- Welcome – I am responsible for this energy and I place it in my heart.
Tips for Saying “No” and Staying in Alignment with Your Truth:
- You can say: “Thank you for considering me.” And then share your value by saying, “I can’t at this time,” or “I’m not available to do that.”
- Remember that at some point in the future, you may be able to say yes or change your mind. So you can always lead with “At this time,” or “I can’t right now, but I can (state another option/ time).”
- It’s okay to just say “No” without explanation. If something is not in alignment with you, it will not be in alignment with the other person either,=-0 and often causes more stress.
- It’s better not to give excuses. Giving excuses puts you in a victim mentality. It has to be your choice, rather than you’re the victim of the circumstances.
- The clearer you are about your needs, the more confidently you can say yes or no to other requests. When you can speak clearly and authentically, it also increases people’s trust in you.
Non-Violent Communication – Putting the Tools Together
The basic principles of Non-Violent Communication (NVC) are learning to communicate from a place of love and compassion. By creating safety within ourselves, we have a greater capacity to be more vulnerable. More vulnerability leads to a deeper connection, feeling seen and heard, and hearing and seeing the other. We can then begin to extend past our own worlds and be more present in the lives of those we are in relationship with. The creator of Non-Violent Communication, Marshall Rosenburg, states, “I developed NVC as a way to train my attention, to shine the light of consciousness on places that have the potential to yield what I am seeking. What I want in my life is compassion. A flow between myself and others based on a mutual giving from the heart.” This process allows us to identify what we need and share it from a heart-centered place and change patterns of poor communication. This gives the other person the chance to respond with their own truth for the highest level of communication.
Non-Violent Communication is a four-step process:
- “When you…” Observe what is actually happening in a situation (what someone is saying or doing that is enriching or not enriching our life) and articulate it without judgment or evaluation. This is not an accusation parading as an observation.
- “I feel…” State how we feel when we observe this action; i.e… hurt, scared, joyful, amused, irritated, etc.
- “I realize I have a need for…” State what needs of ours are connected to the feeling we have identified.
- “Would you be willing to…” Make a very specific request addressing what the other person could do to enrich our lives and make life more wonderful for us.
In this video, Oakley explains the ground rules and protocols as she takes us through examples of Non-Violent Communication.
Non-Violent Communication practices reframe how we express ourselves and hear others. Instead of habitual automatic reactions, our words become conscious responses based firmly on awareness of what we are perceiving, feeling, and needing. We are led to express ourselves with honesty and clarity while simultaneously paying others our respectful and empathetic attention. In any exchange, we come to hear our own deeper needs and those of others. It trains us to observe carefully and to be able to specify behavior and conditions that are affecting us. We learn to identify and clearly articulate what we are concretely needing in any given situation, developing healthy relationships beyond what we have previously imagined. The process is simple, yet powerfully transformative when we focus on clarifying what is being observed, felt, and needed, rather than on diagnosing and judging. We discover the depth of our own compassion through its emphasis on deep listening to ourselves, as well as others.
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