This week, I’d like to expand on these topics by beginning to explore the subject of vulnerability and how it relates to our needs. Exploring vulnerability has been an ongoing theme through my sixteen plus years of NVC. Its what people long for and are afraid of… yet vulnerability is our greatest strength.
In this series of 2 videos I share about the importance of understanding our vulnerability in building trust in ourselves and to uncover our deeper needs which are vital to our individual growth, authenticity and self-awareness.
I have repeatedly witnessed the results of this first-hand through both my teachings with NVC and my own personal experience. It has saved MANY a relationship.
Here’s the video (and for those of you who need it, there’s a video transcript at the bottom of this email as well).
In January, I will be sharing NVC in workshops in Melbourne and Sydney. If you know of anyone in your life who you feel would benefit from these trainings, I’d love it if you could forward on this message or send them a link to my website here.
One of the things that is an ongoing theme in the workshops that I run – and I’m not just talking about theoretical, I’m talking about lived experience here – is vulnerability. Specifically: ‘How do I bring my vulnerability into the world and what is this thing called vulnerability anyway?’ And for me, it’s been quite a learning. Not only have I been sharing NVC, which to me is all about vulnerability, for 16-17 years, but recently, my experience of vulnerability has gone to a whole new level of understanding.
Some of where it’s gone to is that my vulnerability is actually my biggest strength. Because we have layers of needs, and one layer of need is emotional safety. For example – it’s all of those times when I was a child and my parents argued or violence was around me or I wasn’t seen in the way I would like….where I then decided that it wasn’t safe to show up in some way. And so I would withdraw. Or maybe I would push back in a rebellious way.
All of these were ways in which I was meeting my own need for emotional safety.
The thing is though, that my need for emotional safety was actually a wall against my deeper needs. And the needs underneath the need for emotional safety were – to be seen or to belong or for love or acceptance or for care or connection and many others.
Now, I’m not saying that we should ignore this need for emotional safety. In fact, acknowledging our need for emotional safety is the number 1 step because unless we can acknowledge it, something within us will not trust going to our deeper needs.
So step 1 is to acknowledge: ‘Right now, I have this need for emotional safety. It really matters to me in this situation. I feel so highly triggered when you raise your voice like that’ or ‘when I see you come home from the pub after having a few drinks’ or ‘when you start speaking fast.’
So it’s to own that and it’s to do the best I can do to get that need met.
Once I start to meet that need – for example, ‘when I see you come home after having a few drinks at the pub.’ Own that and say ‘I notice that I’m feeling nervous and I’d actually prefer to honour own my need for emotional safety and sleep in the other room. I’m not saying you’ve done anything wrong. I’m just saying I want to acknowledge what is going on inside of me, which I haven’t done in the past.’
And of course, this could look different, depending on the situation.
Once I’ve done that a number of times, then I might have sufficient inner trust that I’m going to take care of my inner needs enough, that I can then start to focus on what’s going on at the level of my even deeper needs.
I will leave it there for now because I’m going to come back to this in the next video; as to how, once I’ve built up enough trust that I can meet this need for emotional safety, that I might then start meeting my deeper emotional needs.