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I Request the Honor of your Comments

This is my all time favorite example of Compassionate Communication so I will start with it and then share the lesson.

A Mom was coming home from a 4 day “locked in” workshop with Prison Inmates. She had been the leader of the training. She was exhausted.

At her home was her grown son, who was stranded during a business trip by coming down with Chicken Pox and with a 10 day old infant and just delivered wife at his home, rather than infect them with illness, he had asked to stay at his mother’s house for recovery.

Observation: Mother, “When I come in the door, I see a suitcase open on the floor, the TV on, a sock on the dining table, shoes in the middle of the floor and son blanketed on the couch,

Guessing at feelings: Mother,” I am thinking you must be feeling very ill, feverish and sad to be away from your new baby and wife and that you need some TLC?”

Son, “I am feeling rather helpless when I cannot be home helping out. I am angry about being ill”

Needs & Values: Mother, “I am in need of order, cleanliness and peace, while I go and take a shower and put my things away,………….

Request: “…….. would you be willing to pick up your clothing and create some order in this space?”

When the Mother came back she found that the room had been picked up and the table set and order had been restored. She found that her needs had been met for order, and cleanliness and she began nurturing her son’s needs by making him dinner and listening.

This lesson of Nonviolent Communications is about the 4th part of the communication, which is making a request.

NOT A DEMAND – once someone hears a demand they turn on a defensive posture right away. It is just human nature. Most likely, you will not get your needs met nor will the person you are attempting to connect with and have a complete communication.

Years ago if I had come home exhausted to such a messy situation, I probably would have fallen apart and cried – which would have been construed as making a demand!

The difference with a REQUEST is that the person issuing the request must not expect any action in return, unless that action is taken with a willingness and openness to fulfill that request for your joy and contentment and to meeting a need.

Because we live in a demand and control society, it will take a while for folks to figure this out and hear a request as a request and not as a demand.

If you find the person you are talking with always hears a demand, then simply make the request, “Would please repeat to me in your own words what I have just said to you?”

“It seems to me you are hearing this as a demand? How might I help you hear this as a request?”

There are other parts to this equation and compassionate language of connection, such as “the protective use of force, empathy and gratitude, and assisting others in recognizing their needs and feelings,”

I make a great many demands on myself and have found using the nonviolent communications model has greatly improved my understanding and getting my own needs met.

My primary source of this information has been Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s workbook on Nonviolent Communications, 8 years of being in practice groups, and teaching workshops, along with practicing with myself and my family. I am not a certified instructor.

Many schools are now using Rosenberg’s methods of communicating and I am excited that it is proving to be so worthwhile.

Do you believe we need more instruction on conflict resolution in our families our communities? How could we train more teachers in these models and should we? I have found this model to be very helpful in assisting people in healing and finding peace within themselves, what do you think?


Related posts:

Observation Point
I Needs
Increase Your Emotional IQ

18 Responses to “I Request the Honor of your Comments”

  1. Avani-Mehta Says:

    Wow, this is fascinating. I believe knowledge and training in Nonviolent Communication can do wonders to all kinds of relationship and reduce lot of conflicts.

    Avani-Mehtas last blog post..Going Home – On A Vacation

  2. Mark Says:

    I love this! Such a better way to communicate. One of the challanges that I find is that some people don’t ask for what they desire, instead they make a statement such as “I am thirsty” which means to them “Please get me a drink while you are up”. This type of indirect communication falls on deaf ears with me. I want to be asked.

    Marks last blog post..Valentines Day – Just Another Day to Those Who Are Romantic

  3. patricia Says:

    Avani-Mehta,
    Welcome back…are you home from vacation? I missed you.
    This is wonderful information and I just think it is so crucial to our world and our understanding right now – a true gift of head/heart to head/heart connection.

    Mark,
    I believe being as clear as one can possibly be is so important, I am not a good mind reader for the indirect expectations and I really have to think to read between the lines. I know what you mean

    I truly believe a team of Dr. Rosenberg trainers and this incredible teacher could solve the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

    It is so powerful to communicate from your head and heart working together

    Thank you for coming by and commenting. A lovely gift to me!

  4. Vered - MomGrind Says:

    What a wonderful story and message. Yes, our society could definitely use more training in the area of nonviolent communication.

  5. patricia Says:

    Vered,
    Thank you for dropping by and thank you for the good words.
    Maybe NVC could help the ad agencies too – I think if people were appreciated more and respected more – folks might buy more?

  6. Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker Says:

    I am going to print this out and request that my husband read it and think about it. He makes demands most of the time which never get the results that he wants. Thanks.

    Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworkers last blog post..Kindness—Why Is It Easier To Be Kind To Strangers?

  7. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Patricia – I agree. We do respond better to a request vs a demand. It’s amazing how by just tweaking our words, we can get more positive results.

    Like your comment to Vered, ad agencies could benefit from NVC as well. Great observation.

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..How Do You Measure Your Success

  8. patricia Says:

    Patricia -SJOL,
    Thank you for commenting and printing off this segment of the conversation. Make sure you don’t demand that your husband read the print out! – It will have an oppositional effect.
    I can highly recommend the book and my partner and I went to a whole retreat to work on how to communicate more respectfully with each other and our children….this has amazing out comes and it is only one model 4 parts in 4 posts, there are 5 more models in the workbook. Powerful stuff – and the time has come.

    Barbara,
    Wow you are getting so many comments on your latest posts, I wasn’t sure you would have time to drop by!….Thank you
    Yep demands are a fairly nasty way to attempt to interact…
    I think they are the hardest part to change in the conversation, because it is so hard to make a request a true request and not a demand – another time in life when one needs to let go…( that win button gets activated so easily.)

  9. Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker Says:

    Thanks. I learned a long time ago that asking gets much better results than demanding. My husband is just taking a little longer to get the message. I always handle him gently. He is a Leo with a big ego. Sugar always works better than vinegar. I don’t mean that as a manipulation. I always believe in compromise in a relationship. I love my lion and want him to be happy. He can be really intense sometimes.

    Patricia – Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworkers last blog post..Kindness—Why Is It Easier To Be Kind To Strangers?

  10. patricia Says:

    Patricia – SJOL,
    Good luck to you those Leo lions are a tough act sometimes! It is worth it and sugar is such a much better introduction to a new idea!

  11. Jannie Funster Says:

    I have learned a little trick from Kelly’s school philosophy. “I see socks on the floor and dishes on the coffee table. What can we do about this? (Her answer.) “And would you be willing to help me with this?”

    I guess that’s along those lines?

    Jannie Funsters last blog post..In a nutshell

  12. patricia Says:

    Jannie,
    Very nice…good beginnings…very respectful way to get everyone’s needs met

  13. Kim Woodbridge Says:

    I’ll have to try this with my daughter – I get so aggravated sometimes about her stuff being all over the place. I’ll have to say I see socks on the couch, toys in the hall, etc … what are we going to do about this? Though she’ll probably tell me the kitty did it. 😉

    Kim Woodbridges last blog post..Adding WordPress 2.7 Threaded Comments to your Theme

  14. Kay Says:

    NVC is a great technique! I appreciate your reminders. Communication is not foremost on my mind today; however I respect your title o/a please comment. This coming Sunday, the topic I introduce to UUs is Walt whitman, his gospel of joy and especially joy in sexuality. What a topic for a bunch of Havasu seniors!

  15. Patricia Says:

    Kay,
    Nice to find your comments here…Yes NVC is just such
    a good resource. Walt Whitman is once of my favorites and your topic with your gathering must have been very fun!

    Thank you for coming by

    Patricias last blog post..A Romantic Day by Myself

  16. Patricia Says:

    Kim,
    Good idea and make it very fun for her to assist you in meeting your needs for order and harmony….it really works and is so respectful….

    Then next think about are you blaming her for the mess? so she passes that on to the kitty? Or could the socks have gotten left on the couch because there was so much fun going on or learning how to play shoe store…it was just learning creative results of a day of fun? Being that observer is so crucial and invite her to remember how it might have happened – turn it into a story telling event ….blame – blame comes out demand – demand and then it could escalate into quite a confrontation – We don’t want that?

    Go for the connection…heart to heart and then the learning about how the order comes next…mind to mind communication

    But by all means have a whale of a good time and keep it fun :)

    Patricias last blog post..A Romantic Day by Myself

  17. Kay Says:

    So often (most times) I read your essays and have a thousand phrases run through my head….but I do not respond via a written comment. Your headline touches me Immensely. Of course, you want the honor of our comments. Comments from me would require a lot of editing on my part to be other than a litany of how many ways I admire you…would need editing to be on topic. I’ll try to do better.

  18. Patricia Says:

    Kay,
    You do very well and I like receiving all your thoughts for your Sunday group..

    Tonight I am having big time trouble with my email…well all day..
    so I had to sneak around and find you…
    Hope you are doing well.

    This is another part of my series on compassionate communication – and NVC…
    welcome, welcome and thank you again for your lovely words