Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Communication That Blocks Compassion and Alienates People

     "She is soooo lazy."

     "He is the most selfish person I know."

     Language such as this "traps us in  a world of ideas about rightness and wrongness-a world of judgements." So says Marshall Rosenberg in his works on nonviolent communication. I agree. When we judge others, we cut ourselves off from a compassionate relationship with that person.
     We also become preoccupied with who's right or wrong, good or bad, smart or ignorant. Not a helpful way to look at others. I know. I have been plenty judgemental in my life. Trying to change to a more compassionate outlook is not easy because we are taught to think and talk in a judgemental manner early in life.  

     We should not confuse value judgements with moralistic judgements. Value judgements are those qualities we hold dear in our lives; we make moralistic judgements of those people who fail to live up to our values.

     Other forms of communication that blocks compassion include: comparing others or ourselves; denial of responsibility-we are each responsibility for our own thoughts and feelings; making demands of others; and the concept that certain actions deserve rewards and others deserve punishment. Concerning this last concept-it is in our society's interest that people change not to avoid punishment,but because they see the change as benefiting themselves.
     Rather than being judgemental, Dr. Rosenberg believes that we would be better served if we focused on what our needs are and what others needs are and whether or not those needs are being met. When we are in contact with our feelings and needs, we open ourselves up to compassionate relationships with others.

     How can we begin to communicate and think in a more compassionate manner? That is the topic of the next blog.

     Do you see yourself as being judgemental? Tell me about it. I would love to hear from you. 


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