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Old 09-25-2011, 08:25 PM
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MindfulAgony MindfulAgony is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I have problems with basic communication skills being turned into a technique or system to follow. I've taken tons of communication workshops with great teachers and what I've learned is that being present, being open, and truly listening without an agenda is the way to communicate effectively. Putting ourselves in someone else's shoes so we can hear them from their point of view is also key. All this, of course, takes practice. However, following some recipe for self-expression seems silly to me. Making sure we're adhering to some standardized process can take us out of the moment and prevent us from actually connecting with someone because we're too busy monitoring ourselves.

So, I think it's also important that we not be too rigid with ourselves. If we find a technique or process that works, don't beat ourselves up for veering off that path once in a while, or for letting volatile feelings get in the way of all the calm, rational, "I sentences" we're supposed to be having if we're enlightened. Sometimes a genuine outburst does more to get a message across than a studied, carefully constructed sentence. Develop the skills but throw away the rule book.
It's really interesting to me that an underlying assumption is that staying present is any easier than following any other technique. Most people find it excruciatingly difficult to do exactly what you describe and often require technique and practice to effectively do it.

The kind of techniques espoused with NVC and other technique help people focus on their own emotional landscape in such a way that it's actually easier for them to be present with someone else. If I can effectively actually communicate an "I" statement that's not a disguised "You" statement and have a better understanding of what I need in the situation, I've already done some of the work necessary to free me up to be present versus being buffetted by emotions that I'm not effectively attending to.

Your advice about not getting hung up on technique is really important as well. If you're beating yourself up about tecnique, then you're not really focused on the task at hand.

One last thing, true presence gives the ability to learn and adjust in the moment. This is powerful. Starting with a technique, on the other hand, may give us the courage to engage in the most difficult conversations in our lives versus all the ways we try to avoid them.
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“Instead of getting better and better at avoiding, learn to accept the present moment as if you had invited it. And work with it instead of against it. And making it your ally rather than your enemy.”
-Pema Chodron
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