Moving away from “cheap” and “expensive”
As I initiated my mindfulness practice today, with the phone application Calm (which I warmly recommend), I had a déjàvu which pleased me and gave me connection and purpose. While I had perceived similarities between mindfulness sessions and NVC before, it had never been this clear to me. The mindfulness coach talked about judgment, how we often use less useful language which contains judgment, and how we can try to move towards less “judgmental” language to experience shifts in our body. She mentioned specific examples of judgment, such as “cheap” and “expensive” and “late” and “on time”, which are not necessarily perceived as judgment by many individuals. Still, in NVC we consider them to be, as they are comparisons or “ratings” of something versus something else.

Maybe exactly because these words were mentioned, and because the “typical” examples of judgment such as “good” vs “bad” or “beautiful” and “ugly” were not used as examples this time, I found the connection to NVC particularly relevant. In NVC, we try to remove all judgment and stay with the observation – what (f)actually happened, as recorded by a camera or a microphone. I have also seen these very examples used in NVC sessions, and I have often used them when I share empathetic communication in my workshops, precisely to show that I think judgments go far beyond what we might think of other people (“stupid”, “arrogant”, “kind”, “wonderful” and others). Very often we judge ourselves and events and situations, as well. Such moralistic judgments are not useful to anyone. (I want to explore this more in a later blog entry, as there are times where I find that valuing things is very useful.)

Don´t do anything you “have to” do!
And then, the coach mentioned that we often use words such as “should”, “have/ought to” and “must”, and I felt even more joy. These are the exact phrases we choose to stay away from in NVC and which we would rather replace with “choose to” – to check our intention and our desire to do something. Using “I choose to” helps ensure that we only do things joyfully and willingly to meet a need, and not out of obligation, duty, shame or guilt, by force or through pressure. It brought me a lot of connection, purpose and joy and helped me think even more about how much I enjoy continuing this joint path – joint between NVC and mindfulness.

What are your thoughts? Are there many “bad” people and things in your life? And are there many things in life you simply “have to do” and cannot “choose (not) to do”?