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NVC TOOLS For Men and Women:
Please click on “Nonviolent Communication” (below) to learn more about how NVC can help us all:
NVC Feelings List: www.cnvc.org/en/learn-online/feelings-list/feelings-inventory
NVC Needs List: www.cnvc.org/en/learn-online/needs-list/needs-inventory
Exercise #1 JUST LIKE ME
The Compassion Exercise
By Harry Palmer
Honesty with one’s self leads to compassion for others.
Objective: To increase the amount of compassion in the world.
Expected result: Increase in understanding and a personal sense of peace.
Instructions: This exercise can be done anywhere people congregate (airports, events, beaches, etc.) It should be done on strangers, unobtrusively and from some distance. Try to do all five steps on the same person.
Step 1: With your attention on the person, repeat to yourself:
“Just like me, this person is seeking some happiness for his/her life.”
Step 2: With your attention on the person, repeat to yourself:
“Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering in his/her life.”
Step 3: With your attention on the person, repeat to yourself:
“Just like me, this person has known sadness, loneliness, and despair.”
Step 4: With your attention on the person, repeat to yourself:
“Just like me, this person is seeking to fill his/her needs.”
Step 5: With your attention on the person, repeat to yourself:
“Just like me, this person is learning about life.”
Exercise #2 – Non-Empathy vs. Empathy
Part A – Non-Empathy
Often when we are trying to be empathic (even in situations where we are feeling compassionate), we say things that may not connect with the other person as well as others. This includes comparing, educating, discounting, and fixing.
In this part of the exercise, we will work in groups of 2, 3 or 4. First, write down something you might say when you would want some empathy, like “ I hate my boss, she is a slave driver” or “I’m feeling upset about the finances.” Have the person on your left (or your partner if you’re in diads) read their quote to you. Respond with “Non-Empathy” language that disconnects us from our feelings and needs). Something like, Comparing…“oh you think your boss is bad? My boss….” or Advising… “the way I see it , there’s a lesson in this for you.” Or discounting, like “just relax, you’ll be fine.” Or intellectualizing, like “tell me exactly what happened.”
Move around the group (or switch if you’re working in diads) until everyone has had a turn to speak and respond.
Part B – Empathic Response
· NVC empathy is a process of guessing another person’s feelings and needs in order help us understand one another. “Accuracy” is not necessary for empathy to take place. If the person does not connect with our guess, he or she will let us know and we can then make another guess based on this new information.
· Keep yourself out of the empathy guess, making sure to connect the person’s feelings to his or her own needs, not to you, even when their feelings seem very much about you. Example: Instead of saying: “Are you frustrated at me because you want me to understand you?” you could say: “Are you frustrated because you’re needing understanding?” Keeping yourself out of the empathy guess will help both of you to remain connected to the source of feelings and give more room to express those feelings.
In this part of the exercise we will take turns hearing and saying empathic responses.
Work with the same quotes. Each person in the group will then, try giving an empathic response like “so are you really frustrated because you want more freedom?” Go around until all the group members have read their statement and received an empathic response.
Remember for this exercise we are using the simplest form, “are you feeling _____________________ (Feeling from sheet) because you need ______________________(need from sheet).” If you need to, get coaching from your group leader. Then move to the next person for their turn.
Exercise #3 – Habitual Appreciation versus NVC Appreciation
In this exercise we practice giving “NVC appreciation.” This means that instead of saying something like “you’re great” or “good job” we make an observation of what the person did, tell them how you felt when they did the thing you described and what need was met. Try it!
1) Keep a journal of 2 NVC appreciations every day, including an observation, feeling(s) and need(s) met.
2) Print a Feelings and Needs sheet if you haven’t yet (available through www.theexercise.org).
3) Read the Feelings and Need sheets and find your 5 favorite feelings and needs or values.
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