Relationships of all kinds are enhanced naturally by mutual love, compassion and understanding. Yet when faced with stress, or the pain of unmet needs, we slip into pre-programmed patterns of communication learned while growing up. Criticizing, judging, and evaluating what is "wrong" with the other person. Punishing ourselves for what is "wrong" with us. In this way we trigger deep pain and hurt. We verbalize harsh accusations or demands which can easily damage or even end relationships.
Just to illustrate this, here's an example of a brief communication makeover. Below is a typical meetup Attendance Policy which speaks of rules and limits in a demanding way. After that is our Attendance Request, for the Building Compassionate Relationships meetup group.
The Demanding Judgmental Way: We think it's slightly inconsiderate to RSVP "yes" to a meetup and then not to show up or call. It creates planning problems and takes up limited seats. To avoid these, we've adopted an Attendance Policy: Please change your RSVP to "no" at least 24 hours before the meeting if you cannot attend. No-shows will be removed from the group after three failures to show us this courtesy. (This is not really our policy, nobody has been removed from the group. This is just an illustration.)
The Compassionate Request: When we receive a "yes" RSVP but don't have the pleasure of meeting you... we feel disappointed, and a bit stressed. We need reliable RSVP information to best utilize our limited seating. Your RSVP makes it easier to manage group activities & exercises, time constraints and parking arrangements, and sometimes refreshments. We deeply appreciate your courtesy towards others who may want to attend but can't if your RSVP has taken up a seat. Would you commit to a "yes" RSVP by placing reminders on your phone or calendar? And change your RSVP to a "no" on our Meetup page when your plans change?
Now... which of the two approaches above are you more likely to want to accommodate out of compassion? Which one best meets your needs for understanding and respect?
The "Build Compassionate Relationships" meetup group is based in the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) process pioneered by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. Hhis book, "Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life," inspires and supports us in finding ways to connect more compassionately.
NVC is an organic communication process designed to facilitate compassionate consciousness in everyday human relations.
Focusing on universal human needs, it helps us see clearly how we can fill unmet needs and contribute to each others' emotional well-being. The process supports us in revealing the very heart that inspires compassion from others.
There is an emphasis on the art of making gentle requests in ways that are much more likely to get our needs met.
The process also supports us in first connecting more compassionately with ourselves. We learn to name our feelings and needs, so we can express them clearly to others. As our skills grow, we discover an amazing ability to help others name their feelings and needs. Thus we learn specifically what they want or need from us.
This meetup is facilitated by Steve Pollack, a seasoned mediator and communication coach/consultant who specializes in nonviolent communication. More information about the meetup group is at
On the above link, about 3/4 of the way down the page, there's a section entitled "Your First Time at Our Miami Support Groups." There you'll find a link to view the first chapter of Rosenberg's book at no cost. There is also a link to a 2-page orientation sheet for people new to the Build Compassionate Relationships group.
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Sunday, March 23, 2014 2:00 PM
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