In a group I facilitate, we explored an insight I didn’t fully ‘get’ when I heard it from Marshall Rosenberg. One I’ve been struggling to integrate for many years, It’s a piece about how we are not afraid of the other person’s reaction but our response to their reaction. We think we hold fear of other’s reactions- but no!
All those years ago in Switzerland, it landed in me like a truth that I couldn’t quite hear yet…and somehow I don’t find the words to talk about it even now with others.
I asked my colleagues- other NVC trainers around the world – what words they use to explore this, as I’m was not happy with how I explored it. These are the responses I got.
Gabrielle Grunt from Austria said: “I wrote it down word by word exactly how (Marshall) said it, because this was a most life-changing insight for me at that time and I wanted to remember it exactly in Marshall’s original words”
“You don’t have to worry about the other person’s response. You just have to worry about how you react to it, whether you have your giraffe ears on.” MBR
“Here’s another version I found in my notes (not 100% sure if it is exactly the wording Marshall used, in case someone wants to quote it… on this IIT Marshall mentioned this point so often, that I just wrote it down once as an exact quote – see above)”
“Our fear is never about how the other person responds. Then you give the power to the other person. It’s about what ears we put on to receive it. That puts the security into our own hands.”
Alan Seid from the US said he heard Marshall say:
“We are not afraid of the other person freaking out; what we’re afraid of is that we won’t know how to handle it.”
Allan Rolfs recounted this
“Years ago, and it reoccurs every once in awhile on the network, I posed the question, “What do you (trainers) do when you are triggered, what are your personal strategies?”. I collected all the responses at that time (maybe 20 years ago). I remember poignantly Marshall’s response, “I say to myself, ‘choose'”. I’m still working on that.”
Me too Allan.
I still hold fear of the other’s reaction. I still worry about the other person’s reaction – and when I pause… is it me? Can I imagine it’s not about the other? is it about me? As Marshall points to something just out of my grasp at times. More to explore…I’m worried about the shame I feel as I tell myself I’ve hurt someone, I worry about anger coming my way and paralysing me – leaving me frozen and unable to speak to get my needs heard. I can breathe and choose…. My life as an experimenter in living NVC continues.
And you? Does it help? Are there some stuck place in you too around this?