By Eze Sanchez
I've been practicing Conscious Communication for three or four years informally, formally for two, and teaching it for almost one. This information will come in handy later for shock appeal.
Last week, after a painful conversation between my mom and I - a conversation which was filled with crying, mostly on my part, suffering, on both parts, and in the end, connection - my mom decided she wanted to understand me and my siblings more. This culminated in my purchasing for her a copy of “Comunicación No Violenta” - the Nonviolent Communication book in Spanish (our native tongue).
I was thrilled.
FINALLY. She'd finally get how much she was getting in the way of our connection by not empathizing and with her habitual roadblocks.
I would finally be understood by my mom.
The following week l called her for a brief check-in conversation, and she began sharing with me about some pain she was experiencing. Someone in our family kept attacking her relentlessly and she couldn't get over the emotional.barrage.
I quickly saw a solution - "Mom, if you change your perspective about it, it won't hurt you."
"Just listen to HER needs, mom!! What could she be needing?!" I passionately commanded.
After some time, maybe it was 30 minutes, maybe it was an hour, I realized I had been yelling at her, advising her, telling her what to do, and otherwise roadblocking her from multiple angles, without a sliver of empathy. "I know just what she needs," was my agenda.
After this embarrassing realization, I decided to switch to what I know always works and never fails - empathy. I offered her empathy through some simple reflections and within two or three paraphrases of what I heard her saying came the resounding, "That's it! I have clarity!"
After celebrating with her, I decided to share with her my embarrassing realization, which she received lovingly and easily and we shortly got off the phone.
I'm still using this realization to keep myself in check of when I think, "I know better," and when I may be forgetting the foundation of Conscious Communication - empathy.
When in doubt, empathize.
I'm sharing this, not to intimidate by giving you the idea that even years after learning about empathy you'll still be yelling at your loved ones, but to offer playfulness and even self-empathy around the times when you "mess up," roadblock a connection, and get in the way of love. I'm sharing this to let you know that I'm not perfect, and I don't recommend expecting that from yourself, either.
I'm sharing this, so you'll accept yourself, as you are, "wherever" you are.
I'm sharing this because I care about you.
It's not about perfection, it's about empathy, acceptance, and love.
I'll finish here by recapping a quote Noor shared at our last workshop last Wednesday, which he attributed to Eckhart Tolle:
"If you think you're enlightened, spend a weekend with your parents."
If in anyway, I was getting in my head about "being great at empathy," my mom came through to offer me a liberating gift from this trap of ego, in the form of a Humbling Realization.
With care, love and affection,