It has been exactly one year since I posted the NVC 201 article where I presented a list of ways one can use Non-Violent Communication more effectively. Twelve months later and I have a whole new list. A good time to review one’s New Year’s resolution list too. 😉
What does Jon’s girlfriend Barbara in the movie Don Jon have in common with Theodore’s girlfriend Samantha in the movie “her”? Nothing really. Except that Scarlet Johanson plays the girlfriend role in both movies. These two female characters are in fact, total polar opposites of one another.
Jon is an outgoing, confident “good old fashioned guy” who, after “pulling” a different woman every weekend attempts to create a relationship with Barbara who had been waiting to ride off into the sunset with her “Prince Charming”. On the other hand, complex, heartbroken and likely depressed Theodore, after separating from his wife Catherine (a divorce that he still resists), starts falling in love with an unusual, smart and personalized futuristic operating system called Samantha.
Both movies show how personal and unique every connection is. No relationship can ever be shaped from the outside-in, and whenever people do that, things just seem to go badly. Jon was in love with Barbara because she was “the most beautiful thing he had ever seen in his life”. Meanwhile, Theodore was in love with Samantha who had no physical body at all. Where does one start when it comes to attraction?
This article examines our understanding of how humans bond emotionally, romantically and sexually. Most of the data in this article are estimates and guesses. I leave the actual data gathering part to the experts, and the development of the overall conversation to all of us.
Humans seem to be wired to (autonomously and simultaneously) bond with each other in three different ways: purely sexually, romantically and by forming long term emotional partnerships. For more information on these brain circuits, check out Helen Fisher’s TED talk:
With that in mind, let us look at the way humans are attracted to each other, and in what numbers. Continue reading →
Dr. Marshall Rosenberg created one of the best communication tools that I have come across to date called Non-Violent Communication. Since I started using it about a decade ago it has completely changed my world. In this journey I have also had difficulty with NVC. I have met people who really struggled with it and got discouraged from using it and some for whom it worked very well for. On my journey, I identified a collection of pitfalls and terminology misunderstandings in NVC usage people often find themselves in. Below is a collection of “rules of thumb” that have helped me use NVC in more connecting and effective way.
First, here’s a quick “101″ overview of the four essential NVC steps:
1 – Make clear observations of behaviors (instead of evaluations) that do or don’t contribute to my wellbeing
2 – Express feelings (rather than thoughts)
3 – Identify needs (instead of strategies, preferences or actions)
4 – Make clear requests – #1 What do I want the other person to do in positive action language? #2 What do I want the other person’s reasons to be for doing what I want them to do? Continue reading →
Once we label someone evil, we are very easily prone to conclude that all that’s left for them is to be punished. When we decide they have wronged us, they don’t deserve love, nor any kind of understanding. Because, when someone is “evil”, no amount of kindness and empathy will work on them, so they must be either penalized, locked away or killed. But if we like someone or they are close to us in some way, they seem to often get leave-way on this, even if they end up doing similarly “bad” acts. Classic Disney movies tend to especially perpetuate this way of thinking and behaving. Here are some movies I’d like to explore, especially since I just recently finally saw some of these cartoon classics:
I first heard about the work-desk treadmill back in 2008 from John Medina’s “Brain Rules” book. In a nutshell, moving and exercise improves the way our brain works and we get better work done if we are physically moving while we are working. It has been six months since I’ve actually made this idea a reality. A good friend had emailed me at the beginning of the year saying that he was planning on putting this together himself.
I suddenly realized that I didn’t want to wait another five years knowing about this amazing vision and not implement it. So I organized myself, planned it and built it. Since then, I have been walking at least five miles a day while working alone. In the past, I would have gone for exercise between work, now I sit to rest in between doing work! This has been hands down, one of the best investments I have ever made. And it doesn’t have to be a large investment at all if you are a bit resourceful. Believe it or not, this set-up cost me less than $150 in total!
I fully enjoyed going through Richard Templar’s simple list of love rules in his book “The Rules of Love” and when I found out that he wrote other books with similar topics I wanted to see what he had to say about work in his book “The Rules of Work”. I was curious about the differences and similarities between these two worlds that are such a big part of everyone’s life and how one can learn to balance the two and know which rules not to mix up and which to apply in both circumstances.
A couple of months ago I wrote an article where I explored my first hands-on experience with a man passing a sexist comment and my conversation the day after with some women that were affected by it. I mainly explored what might be going on for the person passing on the sexist comment, and now, to close the loop, I’d like to explore what might be going on for the person on the receiving end of the sexist comment. My intention with creating the full picture of the situation is to support everyone in connecting in a challenging situation like this. It is usually an unpleasant experience for everyone when communication breakdown in these circumstances happens.
I’ve just recently learned what the expression “to see red” means. And right around the same time I learned what the word alexithymia meant too. Two are related in such a way that if you have alexithymia, you might likely end up seeing red. In case you are ESL just like I am (although I’m actually ETL), “seeing red” is associated with one becoming angry. And in case you are not a clinical psychotherapist just like I’m not, alexithymia stands for a behavioral trait where one has a difficulty experiencing, expressing, and describing emotions.
Up until last summer I actually did not know what the expression “sexist” meant. We were in a group discussing music, and one female participant said that she loved seeing more and more teenage girls involved in music, as it’s a male dominated world. As she thanked the teenagers who were there for coming, a male friend who was there added, “yah, and you girls are hot too!” At the time I didn’t make much of it.
The next day, a female friend approached me and said, “can you believe the nerve on that person, so sexist!” I was a bit surprised, “ah really? That was sexist?” She was taken aback by my response and said, “of course it was.” As I curiously asked, “what really is sexism?”, she got tense, assumed a position, her voice raised, “you really want to bring on this topic!? Are you sure you want to do this!?” Unguardedly, I replied, “totally, I would love to know what sexism is”.