Admit When You’re Wrong – By Kind Communication

KindCommunication.orgRe-posted From: http://KindCommunication.org/2014/08/10/admit-when-youre-wrong/

You are not perfect.  You make mistakes.  Sometimes you’re wrong.  Sometimes you’re the one who went over the top or went too far.

And that’s okay.

In fact I encourage all my clients to have the courage to be imperfect.  Any time you try to be something you’re not (like perfect, or always right, or always nice, or always polite, etc) you are being fake.  And others can tell.  They may not know exactly how you’re being fake, but they probably feel some uneasy.

Think about times when you’ve been around someone who is pretending they are something more, something better, than they actually are.  How did you feel?  I generally feel skeptical, uneasy, anxious about that person seeing my flaws and lauding it over me, and I feel annoyed.

So hiding your mistakes doesn’t work, and people actually like it when you can confess your errors.  I’m not saying go around and treat every person as a private confessional.  I am saying that when you drop the ball, say something you regret, or did something reckless, to just admit that to whomever else was involved.

When I admit that I’ve done something I regret I am always surprised by how much more at ease I feel, how the other person seems more relaxed, and how much more readily the other person confesses to their own regrets of how they’ve acted towards me.  In that moment, I am giving both myself and this other person permission to be imperfect, to be just two humans doing the best we know how.

In the heat of the moment you might be too angry to admit when you’re wrong.  You can always have a redo, where later you come back and apologize.  This is always better than nothing.  And the more you practice admitting when you’re wrong, the easier it’ll be to admit it in the moment.  And that’s where some really miraculous things can happen.

Sound difficult?  It is sometimes.  Most of us have been deeply conditioned to try to be perfect, to try to do it right all the time, and to try to be nice & polite.  So the very thought of admitting we did something wrong brings up not only fears about the judgments and power this other person will hold over us, but also the judgments and power this inner critic, this inner parent figure, this inner authority figure, will hold over us.

It’s okay.  Admit when you did something wrong, and then notice how in this unguarded place forgiveness and compassion finally have room to enter.

KindCommunication.org is a project by a close friend of Wiki World Order, Alex Leach. WWO fully supports the study, practice, and teaching of non-violent communication as one of the core solutions which already exists.

Tragedy and Hope Media Mail / This Week’s Publications 8.1.2014

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Three Rules to Pausing Difficult Conversations – by Kind Communication

KindCommunication.orgRe-posted From: http://KindCommunication.org/2014/07/27/three-rules-to-pausing-difficult-conversations/

“How do I talk to my partner when I’m just so mad at her??”

You don’t.

When you get really upset, when you “see red”, when the only way you can express yourself is through yelling, that’s when you are triggered to a strong fight reaction.  And anytime you are triggered to your fight, flight, or freeze reaction your ability to communicate is nearly impossible.  So I always recommend to people that at the earliest sign that a conversation is about to “go south” to pause the conversation.

There is no shame in taking some time to calm down, collect your thoughts, and prepare to engage in a difficult but constructive conversation.  And I’d like to share my three rules to effectively pause a conversation.

First, always say “I need some time to calm down” even when you don’t.  Sometimes you can tell your partner is really worked up, and sooner or later will say something that you experience as hurtful.  Don’t hope that they will be able to control themselves, or will pause the conversation.  If you can tell that your partner is struggling, just step in and pause the conversation.  But if you say “you need some time to calm down” or even worse “you need a time out” you can expect that your partner will get even more upset.

Second, set a time for when you and this other person can check-in and potentially continue the conversation.  Setting a time to check-in will help your partner not feel like they are being abandoned.  And never use a break as a means to sweep an issue under the rug.  Whenever an issue doesn’t get resolved it just keeps popping up, sometimes dressed in some new disguise, but it’s still the same problem.  Research says that we need at minimum 30 minutes to calm down from an extremely angry place.  But depending on the issue and circumstances it could take much longer than that.  So before you both split, set a time when you can check in and see if you’re both ready to resolve the issue.  If at the check-in time one or both of you are still not ready to talk, then set a new check-in time and go back to taking a break.

Finally, use the time to actually calm down.  Don’t spend the entire break ruminating on all the terrible things your partner has said in the past, or how hurtful or mean your partner is, or making a laundry list of all the times this other person has let you down.  If that’s how you spend your break, then when you return you won’t be calmer, instead you’ll just have more ammo.  So spend that time doing something that’s truly relaxing.  Listen to music, go for a walk, receive some empathy from a friend, exercise, meditate, take a nap, watch some TV, read, journal, take a bubble bath, do whatever it is that helps you calm down.  Ideally, you even want to spend some of this time remembering all the things you love about this other person.

By following these three rules you will be able to avoid saying those things which cannot be unsaid, you will be able to choose a time and place when both you and the other person can speak calmly and with compassion, and you’ll actually resolve issues instead of just “letting them go”.

KindCommunication.org is a project by a close friend of Wiki World Order, Alex Leach. WWO fully supports the study, practice, and teaching of non-violent communication as one of the core solutions which already exists.

Tragedy and Hope Media Mail / This Week’s Publications 7.20.2014

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Three Signs You Need a Vacation – by Kind Communication

Re-posted From: http://KindCommunication.org/2014/07/15/three-signs-you-need-a-vacation/

Ahhhhh……I’ve just returned from a short weekend camping trip.  I feel so relieved, relaxed, rejuvenated, and refreshed.  And as I reflect upon the weeks leading up to my camping trip I notice three signs that I needed a vacation.  And the last one surprised me.  I’m going to keep this short since I just returned, and I hope these can be help you figure out if you need a vacation too.

First, I was having a hard time staying motivated.  I’m sure everyone knows moments where they are “supposed” to be working, but you just can’t find the energy or the focus to actually do it.  Often you may view this as “lack of discipline” or worst, outright “laziness”.  But could this lack of energy and focus be your body’s early warning sign that you need some rest?  Your body is a wonderful tool which gives you a lot of helpful information.  So when your body gives you a message that your mind doesn’t like, don’t try to overrule it.  Listen.

When we see kids that are “cranky” we naturally assume that they are tired and need rest.  When we see adults that are “cranky” we naturally assume they are mean people.  When did the link between irritability and the need for rest become separated in our minds?  If you notice that your temper is getting triggered easily, that you’re stressed by the slightest wrinkle in your plans, or that small annoyances are blown out of proportion, then you could really use some rest.  Don’t judge yourself for your irritability; treat yourself to some rest and relaxation.

Potentially the most surprising sign that we need a vacation is that we’ve become addicted to work.  I am a big fan of productivity and accomplishment.  Potentially too big a fan.  Have you ever been jumping from big project to big project without even a thought to taking a break in between?  Have you ever been so focused on getting work done, that you’ve neglected other aspects of your life?  Work and accomplishment can be so addictive that we lose ourselves to it.  And while riding the wave you may feel like you have boundless energy, the constant stream of work is taking its toll.  So make sure to build in time to savor the completion of a big project, take time to appreciate and celebrate, and take time to rest before the next big one.

A final note.  You may define a “vacation” as taking a trip to some exotic or fun-filled location other than your home.  I want to suggest that this definition may be a limiting one.  You could define a “vacation” as any time you take to truly relax.  Many people waste their relaxation time worrying about the future, brooding over stressors, or being lost in the past.  Vacations are these moments where we are completely in the moment, usually because the moment is a novel one.  But you can be completely in the moment and relaxing in your hammock in the backyard, or on your living room sofa, or out on the town.  The healing power of vacations doesn’t come from where they happen, it comes from having time to be in the moment and truly relax.  Don’t let lack of time off, lack of preparation, lack of transportation, lack of destination, or lack of funds stop you from taking a vacation right now.

KindCommunication.org is a project by a close friend of Wiki World Order, Alex Leach. WWO fully supports the study, practice, and teaching of non-violent communication as one of the core solutions which already exists.

Tragedy and Hope Media Mail / This Week’s Publications 7.12.2014

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Embracing it All – by Kind Communication

Re-posted From: http://KindCommunication.org/2014/06/29/embracing-it-all/

I do this thing, and tell me if you do it too.  I often find that I try to avoid, transmute, “heal”, or “transcend” my negative, “bad”, emotions in order that I may spend more time in the positive, “good”, emotions.  I don’t want to feel angry, disappointed, bored, sad, or scared.  I imagine to myself “if I meditate enough…if I practice NVC enough….if I am present enough…if I am compassionate enough…if I’m enlightened…if I’m saved…if I’m fully healed…then I will no longer have any of these painful feelings.”  I hope to reach a state where I will have two emotions: contentment and joy.  And that’s it.

I think the reasons I do this are many fold.  I’ve encountered numerous religious/spiritual faiths and traditions that teach me that the elimination of suffering is possible, and that if one can live within the divine then every day is a blessing.  I’ve grown up in a culture where negative emotions are viewed as “less desirable”, as “unflattering”, and “avoidable”.  And of course, emotions like disappointment, anger, and sadness are painful!  And so I’ve quite naturally wanted less pain in my life and more pleasure.

And it has come to my attention that this approach to life is misguided.  And so if you are like me in that you too have consciously or unconsciously been trying to have only positive emotions and eliminate all the negative ones, then let me share with you some important words.

You are big enough to be with the discomfort, the pain, of negative emotions.

You do not need to “get” anywhere; you are already the person you are meant to be.  If you don’t believe this it is only because you have created ideal images of humanity and then used those ideals against yourself.

You are whole when you embrace your positive and your negative emotions.

You are not meant to have a blissful experience, you are meant to have a human experience.

You might not like these words because you may not want to embrace these hard, difficult, painful feelings.  That’s okay.  Can you embrace in this moment the fact that you are resisting and don’t want to feel painful emotions?  And if you find these words liberating I am pleased.  Learn to accept all moments of life, the pleasure and the pain.  Painful emotions are not undesirable or to be avoided.

If you’re mad, be mad.  If you’re scared, be scared.  If you’re sad, be sad.  Don’t tell yourself that you should be feeling anything different, and don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you should or can feel something different.  Be true to yourself.

This of course is difficult to do, and it takes practice.  But the result is a rich life and a more authentic you.  It is probably a life long journey, but along the way you will see such marvelous things.  Please join me in embracing it all.

KindCommunication.org is a project by a close friend of Wiki World Order, Alex Leach. WWO fully supports the study, practice, and teaching of non-violent communication as one of the core solutions which already exists.

Tragedy and Hope Media Mail / This Week’s Publications 6.20.2014

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Debating or Relating – by Kind Communication

Re-posted From: http://KindCommunication.org/2014/06/15/debating-or-relating/

“No, no, no.  I called you first, and we talked…then you decided to go out anyways!”

“What??  That’s completely wrong!  You didn’t call me till after I was already out.”

“Really?  How could you be so dumb?  Look I’ll show you my phone to prove it.”

“Sure, let’s see.”

These two people are debating.  They are arguing over who is right and who is wrong.  The argument hinges upon who can remember the facts better.  Have you ever been stuck in this kind of conflict?  Both you and the other person are convinced you are right, and the other person is wrong.  And you are both set out to prove it.

As long as you and another person are debating over whose right and whose wrong you are stuck.  No one wants to be wrong, so both of you will dig in your heels, trying even harder to prove yourself right.  Often you’ll both walk away without ever resolving the issue.  If the issue does get resolved through debate, then one person must have been proven “wrong”.  That person now feels shame and resentment.  And now the relationship, the trust, has been damaged in some way.

Wanting to debate comes from the idea that there should be a “winner” and a “loser” in a fight.  That one person needs to come out on top, and the other person needs to submit.  That there is some absolute truth which one side knows about and the other side is at best ignorant about and at worst is lying about.

Relating is a whole different way of engaging.  Instead of proving whose right and whose wrong, what’s true and what’s false, you simply want to share with this other person who you are.  You want to share with this person your feelings, concerns, and desires as well as hear what is going on for the other person.  When you relate with someone you both acknowledge and respect that you are different people and may have different experiences of the same incident.  And from a mutual understanding of each other you can both find solutions that leave everyone happy.

Wanting to relate comes from the idea that conflicts really can be “win-win” as opposed to “win-lose”.  Everyone’s needs deserve to be met, and can probably be met.  Relating comes from the belief that solutions to issues are found from understanding all sides of the issue, and that each one of us have a glimpse of just one angle on the issue.  So together we can get a full picture of the issue.

Relating looks incredibly different than the opening example.

“I’m worried that you went out knowing that I had asked you to stay in.  And I’m scared that I can’t trust you.”

“I get that you’re worried about being able to trust me, and I’m upset and mad because I want you to trust me.  I really just wanted to go out and have fun…I want to be able to go out and relax with friends without having to ask for permission.”

“I know you want to be able to relax with your friends and I also want you to feel free and not relying upon me for permission.  I would also like though some reassurance and respect because I worry about you.”

The fundamental shift is not about using certain tools or methods over others.  The fundamental shift comes from an inward reorientation from having to be right to wanting to understand.

KindCommunication.org is a project by a close friend of Wiki World Order, Alex Leach. WWO fully supports the study, practice, and teaching of non-violent communication as one of the core solutions which already exists.

Tragedy and Hope Media Mail / This Week’s Publications 6.9.2014

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