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Living Compassion Weekly Tips Series – Week 40


The message we send is not always the message that’s received.”

– Marshall Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication:
A Language of Life

Living Compassion Tip — Week 40

It’s all “Greek to Me”

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg says, “As we know, the message we send is not always the message that’s received.”

Sometimes when we make a request, we can pick up on verbal cue or body language to determine that the message we sent was received the way we intended. But other times you can tell that whatever you said was “Greek” to the listener

To ensure a smooth exchange of information, try getting into the habit of asking the listener to reflect back what they heard you say. They don’t have to give a word-for-word recitation, but simply state in their own words what they think you said.

By incorporating this into your conversations, many upsets and misunderstandings can be avoided.

It’s also important to express appreciation when your listener tries to meet your request for a reflection. Answering with “That’s not what I said” or “You weren’t listening to me” will have the opposite effect.

A simple, “I’m grateful to you for telling me what you heard, I can see I didn’t make myself as clear as I’d like, so let me try again.” No Greek there!

Mindful Practice for the Week

Incorporate the practice of requesting a reflection of what you said in all your conversations. Try also to practice reflecting back what you hear the speaker saying. Clarifying always takes the confusion away! Enjoy your week!

How Do You Ask for What You Want?

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Living Compassion Tip — Week 39

“Requests unaccompanied by the speaker’s feelings and needs may sound like a demand.”

– Marshall Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication:
A Language of Lifestock-vector-cartoon-brain-and-heart-arguing-and-saying-swear-symbols-at-each-other-109364663.jpg

Living Compassion Tip — Week 39

Are You Talking to Me?

“Requests,” says Marshall Rosenberg, “unaccompanied by the speaker’s feelings and needs may sound like a demand.”

What if you said, “Why don’t you have a glass of water instead of that soda?” Although you may intend this as a request, putting it in the form of a question without attaching feelings or needs oftentimes leaves the listener confused or irritated. The little voice inside the listener’s head is probably saying something like, “Are you talking to ME?”

Attaching feelings and needs to a request lessens confusion and resistance on the part of the listener. They realize you’re talking with them about something that is of interest to both of you.

“I’m concerned for your health and the amount of soda you drink because of the high sugar content. How about having water right now instead?”

In this version, the listener can understand what the request is based on. The little voice in his or her head might now be saying something like, “Hmm, maybe water is a good idea.”


Mindful Practice for the Week

Give others the opportunity to understand your requests. Attach feelings and needs and see how tension-free your conversations can be. Enjoy your week!