You've Given to Me, But for What Reason?
"I just got Brendan to clean his room."
"I told him he was the sloppiest kid in the neighborhood and none of his friends would want to come over and play because his room was disgusting."
What's wrong with this exchange? Didn't this mother express what she wanted her son to do?
Dr. Marshall Rosenberg writes: "Such analyses of other people are tragic expressions of our own values and needs. They are tragic because, when we express our values and needs in this form, we increase defensiveness and resistance to them among the very people whose behaviors are of concern to us."
But didn't she get her needs met? Her son cleaned his room.
Dr. Rosenberg goes on to say: "If they do agree to act in harmony with our values because they concur with our analysis of their wrongness, they will likely do so out of fear, guilt or shame. We all pay dearly when people respond to our needs, not out of a desire to give from the heart, but out of fear, guilt or shame."
Mindful Practice for the Week
Write down some recent instances when you classified someone by labeling, insulting or shaming. Think about what needs and values you wanted to have met. How else could your needs be met without using fear, guilt or shame?
"Judgments of others are alienated expressions of our own unmet needs."
- Marshall Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life