By now I’m hoping you’ve had a chance to try Compassionate Communication during a disagreement, or as a way to get needs met at home or at work. Hurray! Practicing by doing is the most direct way to keep learning and growing one’s NVC skills.
But what about when running across a situation in which we’re confused and we’re not sure what to do? Or, what if our brain is telling us two completely different but seemingly reasonable stories about a situation? At times like these, we often find ourselves scrambling for solutions; but until we know what our needs are it’s difficult to know what those strategies might be. Enter Empathy Buddies!
I’ve had the good fortune to have several empathy buddies in my life. I count on my Wednesday Practice Group for support, and I also have several friends from the Center that I can call on—and do. They make guesses about feelings and needs I hadn’t considered before. They help me see the ways I’m making assumptions or setting expectations and wonder with me how these might be impacting my thinking and actions. Most importantly, they offer me empathy—seeing my situation just as it is (with the suffering or joyfulness that’s involved). They hear it and acknowledge it with me. This has been a source of great comfort and happiness for me. It has also been the source of a great deal of learning, growth, and freedom.
If your practice has gotten a little rusty and you’re wanting to remember the beauty of compassionate connection, I encourage you to find an empathy buddy or to come to a practice group, or both!