Shine the Light

Living Compassion Tip

Shine the Light

Have you heard the traditional hymn, "This Little Light of Mine"? The chorus goes, "This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine."

These lyrics are a wonderful reminder to take responsibility for our feelings. Here’s why:

"When someone gives us a negative message, whether verbally or nonverbally," says Marshall Rosenberg, "we have four options as to how to receive it."

Someone is frustrated and says, "You are so selfish!" We have four options as to how to receive this message:

(1) Blame ourselves: We can accept the other person’s judgment and blame ourselves. "Oh, I should be more considerate!" It’s easy to take blame to avoid further conflict, but this is at the expense of our self-esteem. It brings on feelings of guilt, shame and depression. No light shining here!

(2) Blame others: We fault the speaker. "What? Selfish? How about you? I always try to think of you first." This answer can increase anger in both the speaker and listener. The conflict is likely to accelerate. No light here either.

(3) Sense our own feelings and needs: "When I hear you say that I am selfish, I am confused, because I need more information about why you called me that." By focusing on our own feelings we open the door to a richer conversation. It’s beginning to shine.

(4) Sense another’s feelings and needs: "Are you feeling frustrated because you want more consideration of your needs?"

"A difficult message becomes an opportunity to enrich someone’s life."

– Marshall Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication:
A Language of Life

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Mindful Practice for the Week

This week let your little light shine! Start to be curious about another’s feelings and needs in your conversations. Enjoy your week!

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