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10 Tips for Relationship Communication by Christine King, M.A.
Ten tools and techniques that can support positive, harmonious, and compassionate relationships
 
1. Connection before Correction If you find yourself in a position where you want discuss an issue with someone, begin by taking time to connect with them. What is important to them at this moment? What is their need or value instead of “Why did you do that?”, consider “I can imagine you needed to be heard how strongly you feel about that situation.” It will be much easier to understand their motivation before sharing what you are wanting from them.
 
2. Just the Facts When talking about challenging behavior, you can keep it neutral by using observational language free from evaluation or interpretation. Instead of saying “you were being disrespectful”, say “you were talking in a raised voice on your cell phone.” People can much more easily hear what they said or did rather than your interpretation of their words or actions.
 
3. There are no Difficult People...just people you are having difficulty with. Labeling someone as “difficult” or “a problem” makes them a problem. Instead, realize their behavior may be challenging for you. This challenge is an opportunity for self-reflection, growth, and skill-building.
 
4. It’s NOT Personal What others say and do is a reflection of their perspective, needs and values. When we take other people’s words personally, it’s easy to get defensive, reactive, and want to protect ourselves.
 
5. Be a PRO, not a JEDI When stimulated, our habitual response is often to Justify, Explain, Defend, or Inform. A more powerful response is to be a PRO.
• PAUSE. Take a deep slow breath. Exhale fully, slowly, calmly.
• RELAX. What’s happening in your body? Release any tension or tightness.
• OPEN. Release your judgment by empathizing with yourself the need motivating the other person.
 
6. Reflect, Reflect, Reflect When you are unsure of what to say or do, reflective listening is a great tool. “Let me see if I understood what you said....” or “I want to make sure I got you. I heard you say.... is that accurate?” (and remember to refrain from interpreting or evaluating what you heard the person say).
 
7. There is Only One Person you can Change Wanting the other person to change and be different can be a set up for more conflict. Instead, why not take self-responsibility and ask yourself ‘how can I see/do this differently?”
 
8. Self Care is the Highest Form of Service Be sure you have your oxygen mask on before giving air to others. If you are stressed or overwhelmed, it will affect those around you. Take time for self-care and stay connected to your own feelings and needs. Take on only as much as you can handle. Know when to ask for help. Ask yourself “who, what are my resources here?”
 
9. Gratitude When people feel they are acknowledged, relationships improve and there is more cooperation and harmony. It’s worth investing your time to acknowledge and appreciate others. Bring attention to things going well. Make gratitude a habit.
 
10. Kindness and Generosity According to Psychologist John Gottman, these two traits are the biggest indicator of healthy relationships. When we can stop being defensive and allow ourselves to be in the spirit of kindness and generosity, relationships can dramatically improve.
 
- christine
Grok-a-bye-Baby
There truly is no way to prepare yourself for having kids.
 
Prior to giving birth to my daughter Audrey, in my futile attempt to prepare for the unpreparable, (an excellent parenting book title) I purchased books on child development, eating, sleeping, etc. etc. etc. As the daughter of a communication specialist, I didn’t really think I needed the book, How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. Boy, was I wrong. 
 
When Audrey was two months old she woke up from a nap in the car. I watched her in the car seat mirror groggily summarizing that she was trapped in her car seat without her: binky, comfort lovey, or mommy within reach. Audrey scrunched up her face and the tears and wailing ensued.  Moms generally know their baby’s cries: hungry, tired, agitated, or in real trauma. I could tell this was not a traumatic cry, but it was still hard seeing her cry, so unthinkingly I sang, “Don’t cry, you’re ok!” Was I singing that for Audrey? Or me? How was that the first thing to pop out of my mouth? 
 
Now you think back to the last time you cried. Imagine someone saying to you, “Don’t cry you’re okay!” That is probably the last thing on earth you would have wanted to hear. So I stopped myself, took a deep breath, and said,
 
“I hear you baby. You sound so upset. I’m imagining you’re hungry or uncomfortable.” 
 
“You want to be home. I want to be home too!”  
 
“We’re almost there!”
 
Audrey reminds me, even on the road, compassion starts at home. I needed to self-soothe my own distress before I could be there for Audrey. Having done this, I then had the bandwidth to really be there to comfort her with true empathy. Soon we were both feeling more relaxed and calm.
 
I look forward to the day I can share the Kids GROK cards with my daughter. In the meantime, I use the GROK cards as a time for reflection and meditation, to give myself empathy for what can sometimes be the most difficult yet most rewarding job on the planet.
 
Claire Schwartz, mother of Audrey, and Christine’s daughter, is the new VP of Everything—social media, web site, customer relations, shipping, liaison with our Collaborators, and clerk of the works.
- christine
Do You Know How to Play With Your Sister?

I’m grateful to David Curlin (age 12) and his mom who both said “yes” to my request to share this with others. Their whole family has been integrating NVC principles into their daily lives and relationships, and David captured for me the essential aspects of us all “learning how to play with others” no matter what their age. I’m such a fan of play and fun and authentic connections! Thanks David!
Jean


*Do You Know How to Play to Play With Your Little Sister?*
****

By David Curlin****



age 12

****

Is your sister a pest to you? She may not seem like much fun
 but, if given the chance, she can be one of the most enjoyable people 
you’ll ever meet! All it takes is you to start playing with her.

****

First, to play with your sister, you must have two essential
 pieces of equipment. These incredible objects are you and a sister who wants to play.

****Secondly, and most importantly, the “you” object must be 
cheerful and kind. However, do not fake these emotions! If you fake your
 cheerful kindness in a sarcastic way, your sister will give you the “man,
you are such a bum” look, and transform into her slumped shoulders, pouty
 face position. Likewise, if you really cannot be cheerful, you, and she,
will not enjoy your time together. Therefore, before you ask to play with
 your sister, consider how well you will be able to play with her.

****

Thirdly, when you ask her to play, do not barge in on her 
privacy! Chances are she will want to play with you but occasionally this 
will change.  If she consents (remember, it’s a privilege to be able to 
play with her,) ask her what she wants to do. On the other hand, if you 
know that your sister will pick an activity that you despise playing, give
 her some choices to pick from that both you and she can enjoy. At times 
you may need to play some thing that you don’t like. Remember, the goal is 
to be with her, not to play your favorite activity.

****

Lastly, when you get tired, need to do something else, or when
 your sister is getting on your nerves, stop playing. An annoyed brother
 means a cranky, irritable (quick to get angry) brother, and sisters don’t 
enjoy that. Make sure you do not simply walk out of the room. Express 
your needs and feelings, give or think of a game that she can play by 
herself, and then move on to what you need to do. The important thing is
 to always be kind! Sisters adore kind brothers.

****

Playing with your sister may be hard for you, but remember,
even when she doesn’t show it your sister loves and is proud of you, and
 she is always excited for a chance to play with you.****

- Jean