Do this Self-Empathy exercise 3 times a day for 21 days to radically improve how you respond to critical or conflict oriented situations!
Skillfully navigating conflict requires practicing the skill of self-empathy when you are not in conflict. Our ability to determine our feelings and needs through self-empathy can be empowering. By practicing when we are not in conflict, we are avoiding the fight, flight, freeze modes that conflict creates.
- During times when your needs are being met, identify the feeling and the need you are experiencing.
- As you savor the met need, explore a request of yourself that will give you the experience of having that need met again in the future. A request is positive, doable and specific, and future oriented.
An example of this is: “I enjoy walking outside in nature. The feelings stimulated are joy, energetic, satisfied, and connected (with nature). The needs being met are rejuvenation, autonomy, balance.”
A request that I might make of myself is: “Am I willing to set aside time in the next 24 hours to walk outside again?”
Big Tip: Use only life affirming experiences prior to attempting this skill during a ‘less than wonderful’ experience.
We enter conflict with others because we are attempting to meet a need by creating a strategy that involves another person. When believe that our needs can only be met by the other person doing or not doing something, we have potential for conflict. When we make other people responsible for meeting our needs, we are creating “Demand Energy” through a strategy. This strategy may work, however, Marshall Rosenberg states that “you will pay for it.” Others tend to resent being a strategy and they genuinely respond quite well to requests that have universal human feelings and needs guiding their choice to participate or not.
Written by: Debbi J. Payne and her applied wisdom of Non-Violent Communication