“The ability to observe without evaluating is the
highest form of intelligence.”
Have any of you read the book Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D.? I have read the book several times in the past ten years and am sensing a need for a refresher. Every time I pick up the book and skim a page or two, I am reminded of how important conscious communication is in healthy relationships, whether they be personal, professional or even casual.
I had a talk with my husband last night after doing the work I shared in my last post. Because I had gotten to the heart of my own perceptions and stories surrounding our conflict, I had essentially listened to myself and heard my unexpressed needs, and so I was more free to be present to him and his needs. I felt finely attuned to the power in me to observe without interpreting my husband’s words or behaviors. This left space in my mind to really listen. Because my own voices of reactivity, defensiveness, and impatience were more quiet, I was able to really hear what he had to say. And what a relief it was to quietly witness him lay it all out on the table, and feel genuine compassion for him, the desire to reassure him, the drive to feel connected in a positive, balanced, healthy way.
Today our dynamic was much lighter. We were more relaxed around one another. And it was once again affirmed to me that truly conscious communication wields the power to heal nearly any hurt that has been sustained in a relationship. Applying the balm of compassionate listening takes the sting out of the hurtful acts of unconsciousness that are bound to arise from time to time in any human relationship. When we can take ownership of our choices, recognize how they have affected others, and work together to find a solution that meets the needs of everyone involved, then we have taken a great step forward on our shared evolutionary path.
If you’d like to read more about observation without evaluation, check out chapter three of Marshall’s book. It’s pretty awesome how he teaches by giving real life examples–it makes the principles of non-violent communication (NVC) come alive. No longer am I staring at lofty goals, I am able to gain an understanding of how NVC can be applied in my life. At the risk of gushing, I can’t recommend Nonviolent Communication highly enough.
My four year old just awoke from her nap. Time to go back to being a mom. Until next time, take deep breaths and remember who you are–not just a body, not just a mind, but infinite awareness!
I see me, but do I see you?
On second thought, do I really see me?
If I begin with myself
If I tune into my needs
If I see myself
If I hear myself,
If I understand
If I can meet myself with compassion…
I can come to you with peace
I can be a safe space for you to express yourself
I can tune into your needs
I can see you
I can hear you
I can understand
and I can meet you with compassion.