Change is…

…?

Good question, right? Change is good. Change is bad. Change is frightening.

No – Change “is” nothing. It’s what I make of it, it’s what the change is doing with me, inside me, what “makes” the change. Why am I writing this? Well, because change is going to happen and how better to write about feelings, needs and change than to show my own experience?

What happened (observation): The customer where I earn my money being a project manager for international project teams decided that from April on, homeoffice will not be allowed for external staff anymore.

What that did to me (emotions): It pissed me off…sorry. I immediately got angry, I felt all kinds of turmoil rising within myself, I felt anger, fear and disappointment.

Why did that happen inside me (needs): Well, so far I have been able to maintain an accepted balance between my work for the customer and my family life. Both are important for me – I want to be seen as dependable and reliable as a professional consultant and at the same time being close to my family is something that I don’t want to miss anymore. In addition to that I was immediately worried because I want to be able to support my wife, give her some easiness in those times where I can take the boys, give her a bit more room and also to be able to contribute to the life of both wife and children. All that seems to be in danger right now – or at least it looks like I can have those needs fulfilled less than before.

What I did with it: Well, at first I simply allowed myself to be angry, to fear. I strongly believe that this is very important. Connecting to yourself and realizing what it going on – even going into “authentic self-expression”. That doesn’t mean that I run around hitting people, it means that I realize what is going on inside me and if someone asks – be authentic: “I am angry, I hate this decision, it seems to rob me of a lot of things that I have been working for, right now I have the feeling that I am not appreciated here, my work is not appreciated.” Honestly – that is ok! Even if it might be the person that wrote the mail with the with the bad news, even if it is a superior.
Next step was self-empathy. Basically doing what I described above. I checked what happened (observation), I realized my feelings that came with it (emotions), I tried to find out what it was, that really troubled me (needs unmet) and finally I decided to write a mail to that superior and ask for a personal conversation, partly explaining why I wish to have that conversation (request).

There you have it – the 4 steps of non-violent-communication.

What happened then: Well, by the time I was entering the superior’s office the next day I was ready to not go into the talk with demands on my mind. I simply wanted to make him see what is going on inside me and I was actually ready to listen to him, as well, and hear his reasons – or rather his feelings and needs behind it, to understand what led him to that decision.
That does not make my situation better, it does not make him withdraw his decision but it made him understand what his decision does to me and it made me understand what drove him.
I believe with all my heart that this will eventually lead into a situation where both our needs will be met – even if it is not today or tomorrow.

Comments are welcome, tell me if this helps you in any kind, if you can relate to this or if this sounds utterly strange to you – anything 🙂

Warm and heartfealt greetings

André Wolff

My first

Well, here I am.

Somehow I don’t quite know, yet, how often I will write here but my intentions are to regularly write something here.

Not just something, to be sure – I’d like to share my thoughts about and experiences with Marshall Rosenberg’s non-violent-communication, about empathy, about compassionate thinking and speaking and I might write down things that I believe could be helpful. I might also write down thoughts about current issues or just simply forget the kindness for a second and spill my guts – or as I prefer to say: “be authentic”.

I could start by stating my ideas about being authentic.
I find that, especially in internet forums or blogs, being authentic is often misunderstood as being plain rude and insulting others. I believe there is a difference. Being authentic the way I understand it is, even more than usually, being connected to youself and not to what the others did or said. Being authentic might be being in pain and telling another person exactly that. “Sorry, bro’, but this hurts! I feel sad and hurt and hell, yes, I am angry!” But that it not the same as “Bro’, you hurt me! Whatever you said was bs and you’re wrong with that!”
Do you notice the difference? The first outburst is clearly made of I-messages, I am with myself at that point. I hurt. I am angry. The second outburst is you-messages. Problem being:  you-messages will probably never solve any situation and mostly won’t even make anyone feel better. They will just raise more tensions because the other side will automatically turn into “defending myself”-mode.

Now – I am not saying that I-messages will lead to immediate relief or having a beer together but at least it does not attack the other involved person and it is pure authenticity – it is what is living inside me now.

Well, that’s it for now. My first. Comments welcome 🙂