Organizing Yourself for Peaceful Personal Growth – Part 3

 When you start organizing your physical environment it affects your mental and emotional environment – and vice versa.

I enjoy helping people with organizing themselves from the outside in as well as the inside out. One aspect of organizing I really love is communication. For example, when organizing, people often “should” on themselves, putting themselves on heavy guilt trips.

In my last two blog posts I shared stories from when I was working in a psych rehab facility. Here’s a story illustrating how, while there, I learned about organizing communication skills:

I attended a weekend seminar taught by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg ( Marshall is a brilliant psychologist who’s developed “compassionate communication.” It’s simple, authentic and effective, based on listening to what others need and feel and expressing what you need and feel – and then developing strategies to meet everyone’s needs.

He says we’ve been taught a language based on judging and shaming, perceiving things as attacks and feeling we need to defend ourselves. Here’s an example to illustrate:

Marshall says that if you think your mother is “nagging” you, it may be that she actually “wants to contribute to your wellbeing.” When I heard that “translation” of the word nag it mentally stopped me in my tracks – so to speak – because it rang so true.

I absorbed what I could that weekend and returned to work on Monday. That morning, one of the psych nurses came into my office and began complaining about a treatment plan I’d written for one of the residents of the facility. Rather than respond in my habitual manner (interpreting what she said as a criticism and defending my work), I did what Marshall suggested. I took a moment to listen deeply. I realized that this “cranky” nurse was a really caring person. And that’s what I blurted out, “Wow! You really care!”

My response completely took her aback, and she replied, “Well, yes! Of course I do!” Then she was quiet for a moment and said, “Actually, I’m not upset with the treatment plan you wrote, I’m upset with the director of nursing!! Can we talk?”

That exchange happened more than a dozen years ago. It demonstrated for me in a life-changing way the power of Marhsall’s “language of compassion” in creating bridges instead of walls. I attended many more of his trainings and enjoy practicing compassionate communication to this day. It’s one of the ways I help people with organizing for peaceful personal growth.

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