I grew up in a first-generation immigrant family that was deeply affected by a legacy of emotional pain and trauma. My parents operated on a continuum between unbridled venting (also known as yelling) and withdrawing emotionally, with occasional loving and enjoyable moments in the mix. I lived in a state of fear, rarely experiencing peace and relaxation If I’d known what to envision, I would have wanted a steady and secure experience of connection and being acknowledged for who I truly am.
As a young adult I experienced depression and anxiety and sought help through therapy and various kinds of spiritual practices. All of this helped but I still found myself with some persistent patterns that kept me from living in a joyful way.
Eleven years ago I took my first NVC workshop and immediately knew I’d found my path to liberation. I immersed myself in a community of other practitioners. I cultivated a relationship with the most vulnerable parts of myself; the parts of myself that wanted safety, protection, connection and yearned to be seen and known for who I am. I received and gave a lot of empathy during those early years.
Over time, what I thought of as my “control issues” shifted to my need for
predictability and structure. As I empathized with my needs and was supported by others, I have developed a greater capacity for flexibility, tolerance and even living joyfully with unmet needs. My childhood yearning for sustained connection is now met abundantly by my own relationship with myself. I listen to myself with compassion and I trust what my feelings are revealing to me. I can trust my NVC friends to hear my
authentic experience, to accept me as I am, and to share their reality with honesty and compassion.
I enjoy my relationships with my family now. It’s not perfect. There are times when I would like to be more fully seen and understood. And yet, when I remember back to where we all started, the level of trust, understanding and connection we share is amazing to me. At my sister’s invitation I recently facilitated an empathic listening workshop for my family. As I looked around the circle that included my two sisters, their partners, their grown children and friends I was flooded with gratitude. This is the miracle of NVC!