NVC AND APPRECIATION
So much of what I've learned about Nonviolent Communication is less about the "formula," and more about the consciousness. What is our intention when we think, speak, act? What needs are we trying to meet in each moment? For me, this is the premise behind NVC Appreciations. Instead of just saying "Thanks" or "Great job" or "You're so smart," I like to share with the person how their actions or words contributed to my life. It often surprises me how much gratitude I feel when I receive an appreciation from someone expressing how I have contributed to them. I often find myself saying "thank you" to them after I receive such a gift.
Most of us are used to hearing those brief expressions of gratitude. There’s nothing wrong with saying “Thank you” or “You’re the best.” I’m not always going to spend 3 minutes in the grocery store explaining how it met my needs for support when the gentleman bags my groceries. (Although, I have done that before.) However, when I allow myself to slow down, take a moment to recognize when I have met needs and realize how others’ actions influence and inspire the metness of those needs, I become aware of the aliveness of gratitude as it swells within me. Those are the moments I want to share my gratitude with the other person. I want to allow for more of these moments, so I practice giving NVC appreciations.
When giving an NVC appreciation, first start with an observation. What did the person do or say that you really enjoyed? Next, find out what feelings are coming up for you after the person said or did that thing. What needs did the action or words meet for you? It may feel awkward at first because we’re not used to expressing appreciations this way. Practice on a friend who you trust can allow for this kind of “weirdness.” It doesn’t have to be formulaic meaning, “When you cleaned the dishes I felt relieved because my need for relaxation was met.” However, if you’ve never practiced giving an NVC appreciation, I suggest trying it this way first to warm up your appreciation muscles. Using the “formula” of observation, feelings, and needs helps you become aware of what you are trying to get across. Then later you can let the words flow in a way that works for you. For example, instead of saying the words above, I might say “Wow, thanks a lot for doing the dishes. I am so appreciative and relieved because I really wanted to relax tonight.”
Note: Kat makes no claim that any of this is The Truth for anyone else. She writes to keep up her practice of NVC skills, which are always evolving, and to share her learning with others. This post may change at a later date.