At the core of relationship breakdown is lack of awareness and communication. I have worked with many tools to cultivate these aspects and recently discovered one of the simplest and most effective yet.
I have been a fan of the work of Marshall Rosenberg and The Center for Nonviolent Communication (also known as Compassionate Communication) for some time. It is a simple process, used throughout the world, to practice communication with empathy rather than judgment. It is used in a variety of settings to help facilitate healthy interaction as well as to mediate conflict. Families, businesses, associations, and even volatile settings like prisons and international peace efforts have benefited from the process.
Although a simple process, it is difficult to assimilate in our blame oriented psyche. It is also often criticized as a mechanical process that can lack “heart” and authenticity. I recently started training in a process called BePeace that that has been inspired by the practice of HeartMath in combination with Compassionate Communication. The Institute of HeartMath has scientifically designed a process to help people shift the energy of stress to the energy of the heart – values and feeling like appreciation, forgiveness, care, etc. BePeace integrates the coherence cultivated in HeartMath to help facilitate deeper interpersonal connection through Compassionate Communication.
Although much more than I can communicate in this short post, the basic process starts with a HeartMath practice called Quick Coherence. It focuses personal attention on the heart, establishes rhythmic breathing, and recreates feelings of appreciation in the midst of stress. Once coherence is established, the four steps of Compassionate Communication are followed to better connect with yourself and others.
The foundations of Compassionate Communication are in the following four steps:
- Observation – what is the objective reality of situation without judgment or evaluation?
- Feelings – what are the emotions present in yourself and others involved?
- Needs – what are the underlying human needs that are unmet in yourself or others?
- Requests – what do you want (without expectation or demand)?
Stay tuned for more on this process – I am incorporating BePeace in my work in community building and am excited to share more. Let me know if you have questions.