Before I was exposed to Compassionate Communication (through a five-week fundamentals workshop, reading the text assigned as homework, Non-Violent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall Rosenberg, and a weekly practice group that I’ve been attending for two years), I didn’t even realize how judgmental my thoughts and speech were. I didn’t even realize I had needs. I thought only “needy” people had needs. I only had 2 emotions: “fine” and “depressed.” I wouldn’t even think of asking for anything.
My modus operandi was that of a martyr. I was full of unexpressed (and unacknowledged) anger and resentment, except when I’d finally blow up and scream at someone at the top of my lungs. Because I never acknowledged or expressed my feelings and needs (I had no vocabulary or awareness that my feelings and needs existed), I suffered from clinical depression and took prescribed medication.
Over the course of three years, studying and practicing compassionate communication, I have literally become depression-free (without medication or therapy). Now I have a feelings and needs vocabulary and am capable of identifying and expressing my feelings and needs. I have learned how to make requests to increase the chances of my needs being met, and how to give myself empathy, which is a skill for soothing oneself in emotionally-charged situations.
Not only am I depression-free and happier overall, but my relationships have improved significantly. I listen and communicate with empathy and compassion for myself and others. Compassionate Communication is a technology that changes peoples’ lives in concrete and measurable ways for the better.
I will be teaching my first NVC Compassion Sampler Workshop with David Steele at the Mercury Cafe on July 20, 2014 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm. I hope to see you there!