Tag Archives: non violent communication

Life with People

Dear all, good morning and a great day to everybody! My week started out fantastic. We had a very relaxed Sunday. I got up at 6.30 (in the morning!) which is not very common for me on Sundays, but I was full of energy and happiness. I took the dogs out for an early morning walk. Then I made a great healthy all grain pancake breakfast and I spent almost 4 hours taking care of my love. He really needed to relax but he was so wired from everything he had to do that he was finding it hard to enjoy his day off.

For me the ultimate way to help somebody relax is by using massage and reflexology techniques. I love touching my love’s body so for me it is a very pleasant experience as well. Really anyone can give massages and use reflexology, I found that it is a really special experience for you and your love to discover all these great instruments of wellness together. Start by reading about the techniques you want to use, get nice smelling massage oil and a quiet place to start practicing. Make sure you and the receiver are comfortable, not too cold, not too warm, you can set the ambience by lowering the lights and lighting a bit of incense. For me personally I prefer for my love and me to be naked while massaging I feel it enhances you connection (another great advantage of massaging each other in stead of going to a salon). So yes massaging and reflexology are all about connection, close your eyes and let your hands feel his or her body, when you first start, do not press to hard and check regularly with the receiver how it feels.  I have received quite a few massages so what I do while massaging is I try to imagine how the moves I make feel on the receivers body, I really try to imagine the sensations he is feeling and that way become mentally and spiritually closer to each other. Of course the other great advantage of giving your love a massage is that it will probably set the scene for other very nice couples activities… making love is one of the best ways to relax so my advice is to really enjoy and relax together, learn to understand each others bodies and reach a fantastic climax together.

If you want to catch up on your massage or reflexology techniques I found these really interesting websites and videos to tell you more:

http://www.how-to-do-reflexology.com/

Referring this account back to the theme of this blog, how to create change in your life. Well I found out that it is inevitable to share your life with people. My dream when I was little was to live on a deserted island with only animals, no people; I have always felt people were ruining this planet, killing each other, killing animals, killing mother earth I didn’t want anything to do with people.

Well then you grow up and you start to realize there are some people that are OK and there are a few that you love and in the end you have to deal with people to live your life, the good ones and the bad ones. As I tried to explain before I started this blog about my quest to make positive changes in my life. During our therapy sessions I discovered that it is really hard for me to show empathy towards people.

#Google -> Define: empathy -> The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

This is one thing I had to work on because it was really threatening the relationship with my love, one of the only people I really love to be with.

So to be honest I really had to teach myself to be more emphatically towards others, actually to change my mindset to not to think about myself in the first place. Weird thing is that I have always had seas of empathy towards animals but when dealing with people I would always go into a defense mode instead of a understand mode.

In my previous blogs I have told you about me trying to improve my communication skills by learning more about non-violent communication and being a better listener. Listening and understanding others is really important if you try to have empathy for the other. So besides improving my communication skills I also try just to be nicer in general. I have always been nice during short exchanges like with a teller at the shop, I am really a pleasant customer. But that is not what I mean. I try to be nicer to people around me by doing things for them without expecting anything is return.

If you are like me, not used to this, it something you have to think about, for example, last week I had to get some groceries for the office and while in the shop I saw some doughnuts, I was thinking, sweet a doughnut, just what I wanted. Then I thought, wait a minute; maybe the guys in the office would like a doughnut as well. Now in the past this thought would not have occurred to me, I would have just bought and eaten a doughnut myself without anyone knowing what they missed out on. But this time I bought 4 doughnuts, one for me and three for the colleagues and I waited until I got back to the office and hand them out before eating (I didn’t even protest when the chocolate sprinkled doughnut which I wanted was taken by someone else). It turned out one of our colleagues had left for the day so we had one doughnut extra, my first thought was, yummy one extra for me, and then I thought, no you can divide it in three and share this one as well, and so I did. And it felt really good!

It all sounds so simple but if you are not used to this mindset it is something you have to think about, but over time it will be more something you just do instead of something you have to tell yourself to do. Here, my example about Sunday comes in, I could have thought ‘what a great day for me to spent doing the stuff I want to do for myself’, but in stead, with no prior self-instructions, I felt that my love was really stressed and I wanted to do something to help him feel better and enjoy our Sunday together.

In conclusion I still believe there are a lot of evil people in the world and all the empathy in the universe will not help me understand how people can abuse and kill other human and non-human beings. I have been disappointed and betrayed by people whom I trusted. Looking back I realize these things have happened for a reason I was able to see these peoples true nature, to remove them from my life and now my life is better without them. It was a sort of cleansing that needed to happen, so if some one betrays you do not think about revenge and grief, be happy you found out who they really were before they did greater damage. And most importantly do not be afraid to give your trust to others, do not let one bad experience ruin your life.

Trying to be emphatically towards others will make your life happier, because you will receive back what you give. Just start out on a small scale and think about it, think about the people you feel deserve your empathy most and start by showing it to them, you will find these small steps will change your mindset and without trying you will start to be more emphatically towards all around you.

I’ll be back later with some great stuff about loosing weight, feeling good and being healthy in the “have fun and relax’ category of this site.

Love Life Peace!

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Do not take it personally

One of the best discoveries I have made during my journey to change some of my own ways was this:

To not take it personally.

It sounds really easy, and it should be. But it is not. I have always known I am crap at communication, however it took me a really long time to realize that this was problem.

While at work I always try to think before I speak, I never take things personally and I never had any kind of issue with anyone. I guess this was because I would disassociate myself and as soon as I got into work I would step into my “office role”.

In my personal life, especially in my relationship this was different story. I felt that my home, the place I shared with my love was the only place in the world where I could be myself all the time, and for me that meant that I had to be able to do what I wanted at any time and everybody else had to deal with that. If anyone would try and talk to me about do things differently I would feel attacked and I would enter defense mode. Not a pretty place to be.

So after a few therapy sessions, our therapist and my love where able to inform me that I was not always right and that I could be a real mean pain in the ass. I kind of knew that already but I thought it was my right to defend myself. The thing is if someone loves you, you should try and accept that they are not trying to attack you. Probably they are just trying to talk about something that they would like you to do or change.

Feeling inspired by this knew realization that my attitude and my communication skills where the problem I decided to do some research. I got a flyer from my therapist about how to communicate without fighting and I Googled a few of the things she mentioned. I found this great book “non-violent communication” by Marshal Rosenberg. Basically it teaches you that you should try to listen with empathy while communication with others, for one part (I will get back later to the other part of you communicating clearly). It is not easy to apply this all day every day in everyday life because you have a lot of stuff that is embedded in your mind and it takes a lot of practice to change your ways but it does really improve everything if you try.

Actually I still have a long way ahead of me and I think I have to re-read the book a few times but for me the most practical point I got for this book is to not take stuff personally. For example, last Thursday got home from work. I was kind of on an edge with my love because he had been working late and I had seen little of him. I was tired but I still had to water the plants and after that I wanted to make dinner and try and have some quality time together. So while I was doing chores in the garden my love comes out of the office. He asks me “where are the red scissors? I know you used them this weekend.” I replied “I’m not sure, I will look for it as soon as I’m done here.” He said: “No forget about it, I already know where they are. But you always do this, you always use stuff I need and then just leave it laying around. I told you so many times already but you keep doing this.” (The book teaches you that using always and other generalizations in discussions is really not a good way of communicating, but I did not point that out at that moment)

So I reply: “ I’m sorry, you know I was busy in the garden this weekend and I used the scissors, I’m glad you found it and I’m sorry I left it laying around. I’ll try and take better care next time. Where did I leave it then?”

He: “I’m not going to tell you, you should just realize you always do this and it is really annoying. I never loose stuff and I always know where I leave everything but you always leave everything just laying around and never remember where you leave stuff and I always have to find everything you misplace.”

In the past this would have resulted in a few hours (or days) of fight. This time I just told myself: do not take it personally. Do not take it personally. Do not take it personally!  It is really hard, because as soon as someone addresses you all the time about stuff you do you kind of get the feeling they are trying to attack you and make you feel lousy. Well they are not, at least not trying to make you feel lousy, they just need you to change something and they are really bad at trying to convey this message.

So I was calm and listened, when he was done venting just told him again I was sorry, and he went back to work. Then I took my daily walk and breathed to calm myself down even more, repeating it is not personal. After a few minutes of walking and breathing I just had to laugh about my silliness with scissors and his silliness not wanting to tell me where they were.

Later that night my patience was tested again. It was during dinner, I was really hungry and eating quite fast. My love hates this; he chews eternally on every bite. I have always been a fast eater and when I am starving I just really want to and need to eat. So we sat down toasted our drinks and whished each other bon appetite.  I dig in and after three bites I say, hmm it’s really good. What do you think? And I keep on eating. He just keeps looking at me, I just feel he stopped eating and he keeps staring at me, I did not realize it at first because I was focused on eating but I just felt his eyes on me for a long while. So then I look at him and he has the most disapproving face in the world and tells me, do you have to eat like that? Why can’t you ever behave normally? Still being a bit sensible about the scissors episode I was at the verge of throwing down my plate leaving the table and walking away in tears. My appetite was gone and I was boiling inside. I put down my plate and took my glass of water and just drank and drank and drank and with each sip I thought to myself. It’s not personal. It’s not personal. It’s not personal!

After finishing the whole glass I breathed deeply and apologize. I took my plate and started eating a little bit slower. We had a nice conversation and I guess he realized he had been a bit of an ass because he tried to be really nice after this.

I still feel like my love can be a complete ass sometimes but by not taking it personally I have avoided so may conflicts, it saves so much energy and you feel so much more at ease.

Sometimes it is hard because it seems people just want to hurt you but if you try to understand why people say the things they say you will learn to understand what drives them to say these things, what they actually need you to do or change.

You get hurt all the time, and the people who you love can hurt you the most. The worst thing my love ever said to me was during a fight. I bought him a gift for his birthday. A piece of art, I really loved, I thought it was the most beautiful thing we seen together so I wanted to give it to him. During one fight he said that I am selfish that even the gift I gave him for his birthday he believed I actually bought it for myself. It still makes me sad to think about these things and I’m not sure if he meant that or just said it to hurt me but I try to not take it personally and search for what he really needs from me when he sais these things. I guess in that instance he wanted me to pay more attention to our relationship instead of spending so much time with things I felt where necessary. Actually at that moment the things I was putting al my attention towards where also things which I felt I was doing for our relationship. So you see while you think your partner (or anyone for that matter) understands you and the efforts you are making he or she can feel the complete opposite way and think that you are being selfish. Improving communication and not getting upset will solve these problems a lot faster then fighting over who is right and who is wrong.

Not everything in life has to be a fight, even when you think you are being attacked or hurt or treated unfairly, sometimes you just have to let go and remind yourself to not take it not personal. It was one of the hardest lessons I have ever learnt but it has resolved so many frustrations and brought so much peace to my life and I am really grateful for that.

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