Have you been taught, either implicitly or explicitly, that speaking up or speaking out is bad? Have you heard or somehow just know, that good girls don’t yell, good Christians don’t get angry, unless you have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all? Have you been silenced in a group, waiting your turn to speak up and your turn never comes? Have you been told that what you say and how you say it doesn’t have value? Maybe it has been made crystal clear to you that you're too sensitive, and that your feelings aren’t valid nor are they important?
And maybe you have believed it up until now?
And now, you are waking up to the idea that your voice does matter? And you have some amazing things to say? You are discovering (maybe even just a little bit) your own brilliance. And the world will be better off if you share it!?!?
Sometimes because we literally don’t have the skillset to speak up, we need a little support from the gods and goddesses. And that gift they give us can be our anger.
Yes, anger is a gift.
You might notice mixed in with this wide open unwavering commitment to yourself and speaking your truth, is a wee bit of rage. An abundance of fury. Of righteousness. A demand to be listened to.
In a way, anger is energy. It is fuel. A source of power. Anger is just what you need to even notice that something is going on for you. Those of us who were taught early and well to sit down and be quiet need a source of energy to break through the belief that it is true.
So when people come across the work and/or teachings of Nonviolent Communication, I think somehow they hear the story they are so desperately are trying to get over, which is something like “you better say the right thing”, or “say it in the right way”. I can totally understand how that gets heard. I guess at times, it is actually said.
NVC is not about shutting anyone down. In my view it is about finding a way to speak up.
First so that you can hear yourself. Many of us have been shut down so thoroughly, that we don’t even know how we feel. And that is the number one first thing. How do I feel? And for some, the reply is “I’m not sure, this is all so new”, and for some it might be “I am so fucking angry I want to scream!” Well, to me that is wonderful news. I would be delighted to hear it. I invite the ‘loud’ voice. I invite the energy to move through you.
Mostly, the information that this new voice is sharing is for you. Because the anger is a measure of just how important something is to you. The “what is important” has always been of value. The anger lets you know that you matter, your contribution is important, that who you are is a gift, and screw anyone and everyone who told you something different. While others still may ignore or not understand, you will no longer be able to not hear yourself.
I encourage us all to feel our anger. For some of you it is a brand new thing. For others, it might be way to familiar. In all cases, it is important to notice and embrace this energy rather than make it anything other than it is.
How you use this energy to serve you is up to you. And sometimes a bit hard/difficult/confusing to manage. That is where the context, structure and skillsets of NVC can be quite useful.
Stay tuned for part two.