DESERVE = Disconnection

“You deserve” as in you deserve to be rewarded? Or you deserve a good life. We hear it all the time and I wondered if you have thought about the meaning of the word? The dictionary definition is:  

To be worthy of, to be entitled to, to have a right to, have a claim on, 

When you say, “you deserve” you are making a judgment, and judgments (or diagnosis) disconnect us. If you judge someone as being deserving, you are working in a power over paradigm. As I said in one of my last blogs, judgments can be very destructive and in the case of the word “deserve” you have singled out someone as special. There is a sense of control from a more powerful person or group. You are passing judgment on them.

So you might ask – how can I acknowledge that something someone did or said pleased me or made me happy without telling them that they deserve to be rewarded?

I suggest we use words that convey the need that has been met. For example, you might say, “I appreciate all the work you put into the project and I recognize that you met the deadline.  Congratulations on your work”. There is nothing wrong with offering the person in question a gift as a way to express your appreciation. Just be careful of saying you deserve this! Needs connect us, so language like “I am grateful for” and “thank you for” connect on a “power with” basis.

I run a small company and I enjoy organizing a get together with my supervisors to thanks them for their work and to listen to their experiences. We celebrate the achievements of the team by having a meal together. Celebrating achievements is an important way to recognize our community.

I will often thank an individual by sending flowers or a gift. It is a way to acknowledge how grateful I am for their hard work and loyalty to the company. But I am careful not to say “you deserve”.

Self Compassion versus Feeling Sorry for Yourself

­­ What is the difference?

To me “having compassion for yourself” means to treat yourself with loving-kindness. “Being sorry for yourself” is to pity yourself – to say “poor me”.

With self- compassion I experience a sense of holding oneself with gentleness and understanding: of loving oneself and caring about your own personal well-being. I experience self-compassion as a warm red, orange feeling, radiating warmth and protection.

There is a real sense of giving your power away when you are feeling sorry for yourself.  To me “feeling sorry for yourself” is about powerlessness, helplessness and hopelessness. “Being sorry for yourself” to me means to judge yourself and seek pity and sympathy. I am wondering if this is then a small step away from a feeling of disgust and distaste for yourself.  I experience “feeling sorry for yourself” as a heavy, dreary, gray feeling; a lack of energy and passion quite different from self-compassion.

When I was away working with a group recently I had a bout of stomach flu. I missed the final gala and dance and the celebrations the following day. Of course I was upset and sad that I couldn’t join in the fun but I decided I needed to treat myself with care and compassion. I mourned my loss and acknowledge the disappointment I experienced. I know life challenges us in every way and this was just another unexpected occurance.

In conclusion, “Having compassion for yourself” for me means to treat yourself with loving-kindness. “Being sorry for yourself” is to pity yourself – to say “poor me”. Please be compassionate towards yourself and give yourself some care and tenderness when in pain or experiencing disappointment.

The Cause of Our Anger?

Nonviolent Communication teaches us that what other people say or do is not the cause of our anger. What people say or do might be the stimulus but the true cause of our anger is our own thoughts of blame and judgment (what we are telling ourselves).

If we are able to separate the stimulus from the cause, we can realize that we can be triggered (stimulus) but we can choose how to respond (the cause).

So often we hear people and especially parents say things like “ You make me so mad when you do that.” The truth is that they make themselves mad – they choose to be triggered by the other. They blame the other, when in fact they did not take responsibility for their own feelings and needs.

Before I started studying and practicing NVC I must admit that I sometimes used the strategy of blame to get my needs met. So often it was when I was rushed and believed I had to be somewhere on time. I needed some co-operation and ease (universal needs) and I wasn’t getting it. My three kids were running around throwing toys at one another. I can remember my mother using this strategy and I thought it was the way to get your need met- a way to discipline the kids. However, I knew when an adult used “you make me feel” directed at me, I felt angry and resentful.

Marshall said “The cause of anger lies in our thinking- in thoughts of blame and judgment” If instead we sense into our feelings and look at what we are needing (our unmet universal needs), we can find strategies to meet our needs in ways which help us understand and deal with our anger in a non-violent way.