What, no more rice milk?
I am standing in the kitchen in the morning. My brother is visiting. My drowsy morning standard move has just led my hand to an empty spot in the fridge where I usually keep my rice milk. I look at my hand, then my gaze wanders to the kitchen table, then to the trash can. Because it’s pretty full I can see the rice milk package, folded neatly on top. Finally my gaze comes to rest at my brother, the vegan, who’s already sitting at the kitchen table. He has obviously squeezed the last drop out of the last pack of rice milk to put it in some chia-buckwheat-agave-syrup-muesli-creation of his with handpicked cucumber flakes or something like that…!
And today is Sunday and the shops are closed! Alright, just don’t get angry now, Miha—————not working. In my imagination I am chopping his head off. On the other side of the table my brother has noticed my annoyance and holds his breath.
I hold my breath, too. And I put a stop sign before my thoughts. OK, starts working. Hand on heart: what am I feeling and what am I needing? And all nice and slow: I want to be understood and I don’t want any criticism or blaming to slip in between:
„I am feeling upset because my need for consideration, no wait….for cooperation isn’t met, when I see that all the rice milk is gone on a Sunday and nobody bought a new pack.“ I put the first to steps of NVC into that sentence: my observation and my feeling.
It is important to become clear about your feelings first of all. They function like the warning lights in a car dashboard: They notify us about met or unmet needs of ours. Through our feelings we gain access to our needs. In this case my feeling upset leads me to my unmet need for cooperation.
My brother is looking at me with big friendly eyes: „So I heard you became upset when you saw that all the rice milk was gone, because you wish for more cooperation in our grocery shopping.“
Yes! That’s it. Nobody is guilty. He looks at me and I feel that at this moment he simply sees me in my frustration without starting to beat himself up and withdraw. That’s new! We both look at each other and understand each other as though we were seeing each other for the first time. And somehow it really is like that.
In the meantime I have gone vegan myself, by the way, inspired by my brother. And I am feasting in my very own oatmeal-buckwheat-amaranth-chia-tumeric-cinnamon-figs-n-pear……..mush. And I love it, thanks little brother!
Read part 2 of the story here: how the story would have turned out without NVC