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12/ Nonviolent Communication – The Giraffe Misconception

The principles and practices of Nonviolent Communication are constantly up for debate. Just as we all have our own unique perspective on Life, so do we all have our own unique perspective on Nonviolent Communication. Is there a right way to practise it? Probably not, but I think there are many wrong ways! One of my pet hates about NVC is the default strategy of “giving empathy”. Often misused as a way of avoiding being open and honest ourselves, we can easily fall into listening mode, implicitly inviting the speaker to process or explore something thus putting them in an open and vulnerable position, while the “Giraffe” stays safe behind their empathy walls.

It’s also easy to fall into a trap of Giraffe rules that stifle and restrict ourselves because we think we have to give empathy, or be compassionate, or listen first. In my videos, I’m really trying to encourage my Giraffe to live in the present moment, to be more free, more expressive, and less tied by some of the rules that I have created for her. Realising that I don’t have to agree with or follow all NVC advice is both liberating and empowering! I still want to live by the NVC intention of connecting with Life, and sometimes compassion and empathy go out the window. Luckily for me, Giraffe and Truthy have developed an honest, open, and trusting relationship with each other, giving us all greater freedom to be ourselves

This series of videos follows me from a dark place, where fear and anger prevail and emotional collapse is just around the corner. At times, I’m locked in and ready to self-destruct. I want to face myself, to look deeply at the inner workings of my thinking and feelings. With the help of the delightful Truthy & Giraffe, who are much better able to express myself than I am, I find ways to handle my inner world and even reach a point of befriending myself. If these videos can support others to grow their personal insight and see the value of inner work then my fear and shame of posting them publicly will be easier to bear.

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