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Information in Celebration

It's hard to emphasize enough how helpful celebration of needs met can be.  Couples often come to me wanting skills and understanding regarding their problems.  I offer this and it helps and at the same time I notice that they are also meeting a lot of needs for each other, but missing out on the important information meeting needs provides.

This week a woman in a couple expressed a celebration.  She said her partner was just more there, softer.  I asked her to get specific about what he said or did that gave her that sense.  It took a few minutes before she could remember what happened.  Finally she said to her partner, "This week I noticed that when I said something as you were passing by you stopped and turned to look at me as I talked."  I then asked her to name the needs that were met when he did this.  The list was long:  support, collaboration, communion, being heard, connection, and love. 

Her partner was surprised hearing how many needs got met in his simple willingness to stop and listen when she spoke.  I offered that knowing what simple things they do that meets needs is an invaluable resource in times of stress when other more elaborate ways of loving each other aren't happening. 

In addition, identifying and celebrating these simple things daily builds a foundation of connection and partnership every day.

Here are some simple street giraffe ways to celebrate little things throughout the day:

-Thanks, that gives me a sense of support and caring.

-I sure do soak up that affection.  It helps me feel relaxed.

-I really get that you hear me when you say it back like that.

-Wow, you remembered I needed a bag lunch tomorrow.  I feel so taken care of.

-When you get home and come straight to find me for a hug, my heart fills up cuz I know I am loved.

This week challenge yourself to do at least one celebration of needs met with someone close to you.  Remember it can be as simple as one sentence like the examples above.  The most important part is to include the specific behavior, the needs it met for you, and the feelings that were present.

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1 Response

  1. Jul 08, 2010
    Tam An Tran

    The thing about NVC I see more and more is that every aspect of it is interconnected. If we practice one thing, we automatically practice other aspects of compassionate communication.

    Because I see a simple 'Thank you!' or 'How nice' -when someone does or says something nice to me or I express my joy in seeing someone, etc.- as meaningless and derogatory, respectively, I try to be specific whenever I express my gratitude to other. Yet I find it difficult to tell them I'd appreciate it if they would do the same with me.

    I realize; however, that i am the one who is responsible to compassionately and gently ask them to tell me specifically how what I said or did added to their happiness, etc. I also realize that I could simply practice it myself; yet at the same time, I easily feel smug and superior or even resentful when I expect others to do the same, so I need to ask them directly how my words or actions make them happy. This is something I have been increasingly aware of and am trying to do and say things without having expectations f or anything in return!

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