Operating from my locus of control is living spirituality! In Transactional Analysis it is, operating from my Adult ego state. Being in Here and Now. In mindfulness and Vipassana, it is staying in the current moment and not any mental stories. How is this linked to NVC? How is this articulated in NVC?
Curiosity is a very important mindset for NVC! We assume nothing. When interacting with others, we are curious about their state. Before you get all judgemental and snarky that this is never possible and intentions get visible through tone and language etc. I would put on a break. The idea is not to abandon all judgements and be curious always. We can’t live without evaluations and judgements. They help take us quick decisions. We even embrace our judgements and ‘Jackals’ in NVC as they fulfil our need for safety. However, if you keep hiding behind safety, there is nothing new to try in life!
The idea is to be hyper curious especially during important conversations. I try to conserve my inner energy for these conversations. If I am able to stay open and curious during these conversations, I open a plethora of opportunities. I am able to think win-win. Even if the deal doesn’t go through, I end up learning about the other side, far more. This inevitably has helped me over time. To understand my customer/stakeholders better. What do they value? What do they like? How do they work? What are their core priorities etc? Being curious during intense conversations has been a competitive advantage many times for me.
One important point I keep reminding myself of here is to avoid any quick reactions. Just staying with the observation. Long enough. This is the first part of NVC. It’s very difficult to do. Again, just because it is difficult to do doesn’t mean I should not write about it or talk about it. A little writing and talking make doing easy!
However, I am learning that there are various levels of reactions and I could chart my progress slowly!
- The worst reaction could be a physical reaction. Imagine a dialogue, which is enraging. If I lose control and beat someone up or throw a tantrum. It’s likely to escalate and make my situation worse. I try and avoid these physical reactions by walking out from the environment, buying some time for myself, drawing boundaries and calling out that enough is enough during heated discussions.
- Then there are Verbal reactions. I am enraged and I end up reacting by shouting, cursing, blaming and hurting others or I react by overcommitting and agreeing to something prematurely. In this second case, I hurt myself. These verbal reactions make my situation bad however not as bad as a physical reaction. There is more scope to come back together.
If I manage to hold myself tight and keep mum in the heat of the moment, no matter how much I am burning or desperate inside, I manage to keep a lot of doors open for myself. I open my mouth only when I am fully convinced and comfortable.
I develop this muscle by being comfortable with silence. Long moments of silence. Then moving away from a difficult situation if possible to avoid any reaction. Tightly sealing my lips when I am about to say something provocative! It is a life long journey to perfect this. However, progress is quick once I start practicing it rather than keep talking and writing about it!
3. The third level of reaction is the Mental reaction. Any difficult situation is bound to trigger difficult inner dialogue. If I stay in the loop of those dialogues, it is bound to take up a lot of my emotional and mental space. This will corrode the lens through which I look at others. These ruminating inner dialogues make being calm, neutral and focus on the here and now observation difficult. These mental dialogues catalyse reactions. This again will manifest in my outward life. Controlling my mental reactions is a very difficult ball game. I try and do that through Vipassana and journalling about NVC.
When I end up reacting, NVC helps me in accepting them without further guilt or shame. I end up reacting only when some of my needs are not met and they are shouting for me to notice them. Reactions are an opportunity for me to know what needs of mine are drawing my attention.
The idea is not to think of reactions as good or bad. The idea is to move from physical reactions to mental reactions and eventually develop my observation muscle without judgments/evaluations (Curiosity!) I believe that we all have this muscle. We all live this in some moments. The idea is to keep increasing these moments. That has helped me take more ownership and responsibility for my life. When that happens, I am not so much a slave to my temptations and reactions. To me this is spirituality! Operating from my locus of control!