Many people reading and writing blogs, and many people living human lives in relation with other humans, want to change things about themselves and their lives. Can we agree that this is a normal behavior?
For us personally, in order for changes to occur, big things must eventually shift. We want to treat people with more respect, with less anger and criticism. These are not small, easy changes to make.
We have written about how making small changes is the way to start. Do something. Practice it. Keep doing it and eventually, when it becomes easier or natural, then heighten that shift, make another small change. And keep repeating this to get to the big change you want. The journey of a thousand miles is accomplished one step at a time, none more important than the first. Each one necessary.
This seems like a blueprint for sustainable, long-term change.
For us, the word “strategy” is tricky when it comes to change. Is it a signal that the approach we are learning about is not tied to the bigger shifts, to long-term changes? What is a strategy? Strategies seem to be actions or approaches that are more likely to help us get our way. For example, we read a lot about how if you use certain key phrases with a clerk at a store, you will get x, y, and z.
This is not the change we are after. We are not out to use different words to get gains for ourself. We don’t want to say magic words to get an upgrade on our beverage size, a discount on merchandise, more productivity out of someone else, etc.
We are out to change how we think and act in relation to self and to others. To fundamentally alter our brain’s wiring so that we can see the world as it really is, so that we can view people as the imperfect common journeyers we all are, to view situations as opportunities to practice nonviolence, to experience life without the burden of expectations, and to find learning and growth. To be more authentically human.
We do not criticize you if your goals include improving your economic standing or increasing your power. You have needs that you are trying to meet. We wonder if increasing your financial strength and amount of power will satisfy your needs.
The authenticity of change that we are looking for is to help ourself and others to gain the ability to identify the true needs we have, and to empathize with each other in such a human way that we want and are able to help each other get our needs met.
We believe that at our core, we are all human beings with needs, and that when we listen to what each other is actually saying–without moralistic judgments of right/wrong or good/bad, without rewards and punishments, without criticism, without threats, without violence–we will find that we all want many of the same things: connection, love, safety, nourishment.
What is alive in us at any one moment can seem a chaotic mess. And when we gain the skills to use our feelings and sensations as guideposts to lead us all the way down to our needs that are prompted, we can exist as loving, knowing, knowable, empathic, caring human beings. Peacefully, lovingly, supportively, together.
Shifting our language and thinking away from moralistic judgments, criticism, and coercion will not be easy. We were raised to think this way. Society reaffirms this kind of thinking. Many people and institutions reinforce these ways of thinking as natural, necessary, safe.
To you, we ask that you consider what exists in you aside from the human-created social and economic order?
It is easy to see the negatives because our biology rewards it: avoiding predators and starvation was how our species persisted!
And perhaps the world’s population is ready to continue our relational persistence as a species in ways that cooperate, collaborate, value each and every one of us as treasures of existence.
It is so easy to fall into the trap of get more money, get more power. We think those goals will make us safe, happy. Some societies present them as valued goals. Defaults of existence.
Can we see beyond and beneath them?
This is what we think are the bases of nonviolent communication (NVC). This is what we think we want for ourself. This is where we will invest the energy of our steps, into learning and practicing these skills. Imperfection is guaranteed. That means acceptance of “what is” will be paramount among the skills we practice. We will take our first steps in that direction.