Self-Trust: Our Ability to Respond

by | Jun 20, 2023 | Nonviolent Communication, Personal Growth

One of the things I love about the relational practice of nonviolence is how it frees me up to field a much wider range of responses from other people, without losing access to my compassion, courage or grounded clarity.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of self-trust and suggested three kinds of self-trust that I think are foundational to our sense of safety in our relationships:  

Take a moment to reflect:

  • What responses from others are you finding particularly challenging to field while keeping yourself safe?
  • What insights, skills and capacities would you like to develop to grow stronger interpersonal muscles?   

When we aren’t taking things personally, or getting identified with other people’s opinions or treatment of ourselves, we have more wisdom available to us in any given moment. 

What helps us do this? Here are three practices:

  1. Wake up to our implicit conditioning and see it for what it is, instead of identifying with it. We’ve all inherited a set of beliefs about and adaptations to a violent, domination-based world.  Our practice is to see through our conditioning (compassionately!), and learn how not to identify with that aspect of ourselves so that we can become more co-creative and compassionate towards ourselves and others.

 

  1. Understand how feelings and needs drive human behavior.  When we understand the pain, fear and history driving people’s unconscious reactions, and put our attention on what they are needing in the present moment, we often feel less fear, anger or panic. We can stay more connected to the curious, choiceful and compassionate parts of ourselves when we aren’t hijacked by fear.    

 

  1. Focus on what would help by separating out people’s tragic strategies from their underlying needs, and then prioritizing meeting people’s needs. All forms of violence on the planet would decrease dramatically if we collectively committed to developing a deep needs-focused approach with ourselves and one another. 

Do you have a practice that helps?  I’d love to know.  Leave a comment below!

2 Comments

  1. Diane Baumwald

    With the tendency towards writing novels,simply want to say here,how much I value your honest to goodness, seemingly divine, wisdom of experience. I have grown exponenTially,and truly feel the gratitude,that is owed to you. Baby steps,towards freedom and serenity.beyond Excited, to travel abroad, for one month,to see my son,my DIL and 4 Grandchildren. My son has been lashing out at me,past 20 years, yet with the STRENGTH of character,from my Mama,and the everlasting belief in my amazing son and the One Above, i have managed to overcome,the 47 years of heartache,from a toxic,and mega-dysfunctional “family”.I firmly believe, it takes a village and I want to thank you, ffrom the bottom of my heart, for being an integral part of my village.

    Reply
  2. hELENA

    WHAT COULD I DO IF MY PAIN COMES PRECISELY FROM NOT HAVING MY NEEDS CONSIDERED WHEN INTERACTING WITH PERSON B WHICH COMPLAINS THAT I’M ALWAYS CRITICIZING WHEN ONCE MORE I TRY TO SPEAK ABOUT RECIPROCITY…
    AS THIS REPEATS MANY TIMES WITHOUT ME BEING ABLE TO CALL ATTENTION FOR WHAT i NEED (ATTENTION!) I FINISH BY DOUBTING MY OWN PERCEPTION ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON IN ME AND BETWEEN US…

    Reply

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