Today, Sunil introduced the idea of the connection between needs and feelings. When someone feels a strong emotion, it signifies that there are needs that are not being met. The difference between needs and wants led to a lively discussion on what specifically are our needs. Many expressed the idea that often what we think are needs are, in fact, wants.
This discussion led to an exercise called empathy poker where in small groups, a Brother would share a story that had a strong emotion or a number of emotions linked to the narrative. The rest of the group then chose various needs that would correspond with the emotions expressed. This process was truly rich in the sharing.
Sunil, then explained how observation is an important aspect of nonviolent communication (NVC). Very often, when we observe we are inclined to immediately judge what we see. These judgments are often just assumptions that frequently are incorrect. It seems, however, that we are hard-wired to judge and assume! Sunil then introduced the third of the four agreements, don’t make assumptions to highlight our innate tendency to think that our view is the only view and our reality is the reality.
Later in the day, Sunil organized a role-play where he showed how easy it is to fail in empathic listening by various responses to a person. Instead of listening, we can story tell, give advice, educate and so on. The challenge is to listen and connect the needs to the emotions shared by the person.