From the Changing Self Talk Into Self Care workshop
Marshall Rosenberg, in his book Nonviolent Communication, helps us to understand how feelings of inner ease and peace arise when we “see” and accept who we are just as we are. On the other hand, when we attack ourselves with judgment, blame, shame, guilt, or threats we don’t see or accept ourselves as we are. The impact of this is its own kind of violence, yes? To help us untangle our inner criticisms we first apply these important facts to our situation:
Virtually everything we do, we do to meet a need.
Feelings and emotions tell us when needs are met—like when we're happy, grateful, peaceful, playful, and so on; Or needs that are unmet, like when we are sad, scared, frustrated, and so on. If you are a highly sensitive person (have the trait for high sensitivity), emotions and feelings—as well as body sensations—will feel a LOT bigger than they might for others. That’s OK.
Even our own internal voices have feelings and needs. For example, a self-critical voice might feel afraid and need safety.
So, it turns out that even when we judge or blame ourselves, we are trying to get needs met! When we realize this, we have something to work with. Once we know what these are, we can take action to give them the attention they need. When these are attended to the critical voice gets quiet.
Journal Activity: Think about something negative that your inner speaker says and try the following activity. Ask yourself:
A. What is the criticism? B. Since our judgments are attempts to get needs met, we can translate them into feelings and needs.
Listen (not analyze) for understanding: What am I feeling? (Beware of our tendency to discount them. Remember, all the feelings and all the needs belong to you. In this activity try to be simply with what is.)
Listen for my needs: What am I needing?
Let yourself know that you’re listening. You can try telling yourself something like: “I hear how confusing and painful this is. But I want you to know we can find a way to work through this.”
Ask yourself: What do-able strategy am I willing to try in order to get these needs met? If the situation is complicated that’s OK. You can give yourself permission simply to start with one step that will help you take care of you, and work from there.
If you try this, I’d love to learn how it went!
May you be safe and well,