How Do You Communicate?

How Do You Communicate?

How Do You Communicate?

I am reading this wonderful book called “What We Say Matters” by Judith and Ike Lasater.  Judith is a Yoga teacher I respect immensely.  This book is all about non-violent communication.  When I picked it up, I thought this would be easy.  I am never violent with my words.  Little did I know…

Non-violent communication is all about communicating your needs without judgement or stepping on the needs of others.  This book breaks down communication to its simplest form.  I am not going to go into details as I am not an expert in this field, but here are some tidbits that may help you:

  • every time we communicate with someone our intention should be to find or create a connection with that person
  • we all have the same needs that are universal– well-being (safety, health, rest, order, peace), connection (love, acceptance, friendship, belonging), expression (authenticity, freedom, contribution, gratitude); we simply have different strategies to get these needs met
  • our arguments usually occur over differing strategies, rather than differing needs– an example:  a husband and wife want to connect; he wants to go to a movie, she wants to go to dinner; both have the same need of connection, but argue over how to get this need met
  • never look at someone with “enemy images”– this will always cloud your judgement and your communication- shift your perception and notice how your relationship changes
  • use empathy–  when a person complains about a political situation or job, say to them, “So when you say that, you want me to hear how irritated you are by what ______ did?”; then give the person empathy (even if it is just in your head) and watch things shift; if you join in and agree with them, or if you argue with them to change their mind you are creating a division (or violence) with your words
  • use please and thank you (my personal favorite)– when people speak in an irritating way, change it in your head to a request of “please hear my pain”; the best is a story of when her daughter asks Judith to pick her up and says, “Please don’t look like a dork.”  Judith turned it around and was able to hear, “Please hear how tender I am…I am so afraid [my friends] will reject me.”  This opened the whole situation up for compassion.

If you are searching for a new way to connect with people around you or just want to be more mindful in your interactions with others, this book is an excellent start.  It is small, but packed with information.  Just remember…

“What we say is always about ourselves, especially about our feelings and needs, and is never about the other person, because whatever we say is coming out of our perception of what is.”~ Judith Lasater


Elizabeth Delaney