Post Election Stress and Using Compassionate Communication
If you haven’t read part 1 of our post election stress series, please click here.
Post election stress is here to stay as we transition administrations.
In the meantime, we will give you our specific examples on how to communicate during this time.
Use Compassionate and Non Violent Communication
If you work with me or others at our practice, you have probably heard about Non-Violent (or Compassionate) Communication (NVC). If you have not, look it up!
Great resources on ways to learn to communicate differently and in a way that our culture has not done a great job developing. Marshall Rosenberg wrote books on it and there is a website.
The premise of NVC is to be able to communicate more compassionately, kindly, and effectively.
This is recommended in being able to take accountability for our role, acknowledge our feelings, be respectful, and set boundaries or make requests.
So the “I feel ______________ when (insert experience or concern of behavior) and am wondering if you would be willing to ______________ (needs, boundary or request).”
Using NVC focuses on using “I statements” to reduce blame, acknowledge our role, and build ways to understand through identifying our own needs.
This helps us communicate with those around us and be able to slow conversations down through engaging in validation and reflective listening.
Again, this is NOT about agreeing with someone, it is about being able to sit in discomfort and still hear another person.
Does this mean that if someone is sharing something harmful and is continuing to cause harm that I keep having the conversation or the relationship? NO.
If you are in a conversation and you are doing suggestions from Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog, and there is a lack of respect, kindness, or compassion – you have a clear right to set a boundary using NVC and remove yourself, if necessary.
There are times where we do everything we can to facilitate and engage appropriately and it is just not okay for us to continue. This is where you can request space, time, or boundaries around the conversation.
Real Examples of How You Can Apply This:
Some of my clients have set boundaries around not speaking about politics.
Some have a system in place where they say a code word when things become heated and take 20-30 minutes to de-escalate alone and then return and try to continue the conversation and then rinse and repeat until they get through it.
Some of my clients set timers and engage in an activity called “active listening” where one person speaks, the other listens, when the speaker is done they validate through reflecting back what the speaker said, then the speaker identifies if they felt heard, then if they do they reverse roles, and if they don’t, then they clarify what they were missing.
Some of my clients have chosen to stop having relationships indefinitely or for a set amount of time (space) from the relationship. Some have ended relationships completely.
Whatever you decide to do, I think it is important that you are responding rather than reacting. Responding is thoughtful, conscious choices vs reacting which is acting abruptly or without conscious thought. I usually encourage people to engage in these tips before making such a decision, unless there is an issue of safety or abuse or significant harm being done.
Unsurprisingly, I also recommend engaging in therapy if that feels right for you, as a way to figure out what you might need so that your decision is indeed coming from a responsive vs. reactive place.
If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.
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