(NVC Practice ‘NVC with G&T’, 11 May 22, Inbal & Miki Kashtan Commitment #5 Care for My Life)

Even when I am stressed, overwhelmed, or in disconnection, I aim to maintain my commitments to my well-being, and to take actions that nourish my life in community with others. If I find myself letting go of strategies that I know contribute to my life, or retreating from connection to attend to my needs, I aim to seek support to ground myself in the preciousness of including my own life in my interdependent circle of care.

I read it this way round

The first statement described being kicked out (of your commitment to well-being) by your mind equipment failing to perform (being overwhelmed).

The second statement describes being kicked out (of your favourite strategies for well-being) by life’s other commitments and distractions.

Both statements ask us to fall back or regroup around our core and our truths. And have that renewed connection (from that regrouping) rebuild our commitment and re-adopt and reinvigorate our strategies.
In other words, forget your feelings, forget your previously decided strategies, and pay attention to our grounded core and ubiquitous truth, which is truth in each of us.

How do I use it this way round?

In practical terms, imagine being centred (while hearing our feelings which guide us, and while orchestrating our strategies to meet our needs), and then asking which way we feel we want to go, and what blocks our path that way.
In other words, do it the other way round, and not starting with your feelings. But instead starting with what you know of yourself and your core. The idea is to loosen the stranglehold that your feelings and NVC processes have over your attention, and start with deeper known certainty and faith.

Here is some example and detail of the whole process.

It starts with checking how reliable and useful your feelings are as vehicle for coming alive. And then decides your starting point and route.

  • Check the level and diversity of my feelings and sense if they are the primary barometer of where I am and how I am. In other words, verify that they reflect how I feel of a known cause or situation, and that they are not symptoms of an unattended dissonance or dysfunction more unconscious within me.
    • If yes, they are a direct barometer, but the trigger isn’t consistent with a known cause, then re-experience the trigger until it becomes a compass to the underlying undiscovered cause.
    • If yes, they are a direct barometer, then check the trigger is consistent with that known cause or situation, and remains an accurate compass, and follow the compass through that trigger and cause, and re-experience it to dissolve it.
    • If no, they are not a direct barometer, and they are cries of pain and confusion from unattended causes….
  • ….then sense within yourself which of the two following responses will give you clarity.
    • Either fall back and regroup around our core and a truth, then venture forth towards your strategies and your commitments, and notice what blocks your path, and hinders you.
    • Or step outside the cloud of confusion by moving your body to a new location, or moving your attention into another person or perspective.

      Both of these are breaking the possible stranglehold that your feelings have over your attention.

NVC prescribes self empathy to do this.
For most practitioners, self empathy is the preferred, more natural and successful route.
For some practitioners and some situations, the dissonance behind those feelings may be more cognitive than emotional. For example, the origins might be in strategies for whom the underlying need is not clear or there are multiple underlying needs.
(Also: many needs in the need list can be unconsciously felt as strategies, and so I may be feeling conflict between needs, which is against an NVC mantra. In other words, I may be feeling an unconscious dissonance whose consonance might be more easily and quickly achieved through a cognited route than through an emoted route).

Rearrange needs in an almost hierarchical manner.
Many needs in the need list can be rearranged in an almost hierarchical manner. Needs at the bottom of the hierarchy have more in common with strategies than with needs at the top of the hierarchy. For example, ease is probably a pre-requisite for most others, because if we are dis-eased or in dissonance, we can’t think or feel straight to connect with other needs. Ease might be a prerequisite to feel self-acceptance.
There are two practical uses of this idea.
1 The first is to firstly free myself from the chains of setting an NVC principle into concrete.
2 The second is to enable us to imagine that core truths for me lie more in the upper needs, than in lower needs. (For example, and uppermost need might be connection, to know and be known. For which ease is probably a lower need). And then navigate down the hierarchy, asking which unmet needs (or strategies) are in the way, interfering with that higher need.