Welcome to My Compassionate Journey
In early 2011, I was still relying on the method of communication I had learned as a child: Screaming.
I found myself screaming at my ex’s new wife. A few days later I was screaming at him over the phone and hanging up. But it wasn’t until I overheard my daughter saying to my mother, “She’ll just yell at them” that I knew something had to change. I knew she was talking about me, and it hit me deep in my gut in a way that nothing else could have touched me.
It wasn’t shame that led me to take my first workshop in the Fundamentals of Compassionate Communication, it was desperation, and the love I feel for my daughter, and my desire to be a good mother and set a good example.
We all come to this for different reasons. But most of us come to it because something isn’t working. Maybe it’s the pain that brings us to this work, the work of learning a new way of communicating.
Before I got desperate enough to try it, I didn’t understand what compassionate communication was. I thought it was for fluffy airy-fairy do-gooders. Even now I say, “These people are so ‘touchy-feely’.” But at least now I understand it’s the way I protect myself. I’m a hard-ass. I don’t do “touchy-feely.”
Yet I’ve learned that the real-life experience of compassionate communication (or non-violent communication) is not for the faint of heart. As Marshall Rosenberg wrote in his book, Non-Violent Communication: the Language of Life, killing someone is actually the easy way out. Violence is for the weak. Learning to open your heart and listen empathically takes tremendous strength and courage. It’s the way of the spiritual warrior.
Out of desperation, I embarked upon a journey with no real understanding of the transformation that would unfold. It turned out to be a journey of liberation and empowerment. Each step of the way reveals my Authentic Self to me. As I become more and more deeply connected to my Authentic Self, I slowly remove the armor that keeps me separate from the world and other people.
What I’ve found is that I don’t always “get my way,” but I honor my authentic feelings, needs, and experience. I honor my Authentic Self. This, in itself, is enough.
In this blog series, I will explore My Compassionate Communication Journey, and I invite others to share their journey as well.