“Forgive your brother for what he has not done.” – A Course in Miracles

I mourn what our culture does to our kids. I so often see adults speaking to kids in ways that are shaming and punitive, and I see the kids faces, and my heart breaks. I want to take them and reassure them that it’s not them! It’s not their fault! They were born into a culture of domination, and they’re innocent.

There are plenty of times in my own life where I’m distressed and/or angry with someone’s behaviour. And sometimes all it takes to soften that is to wonder, what happened to them as a child, to make them behave this way? What happened, when they were so little and vulnerable, with zero power, that left them having to choose this behaviour as the only way they could see to survive? When I picture them as a child, face fallen, as an adult in their life unfairly shames them, I can forgive almost anything.

Behaviour looks so different on the outside, versus the inside. From the outside, it can look like power over, aggression, not caring, “trying to hurt me” … and from the inside, it usually looks like “Help! I’m in pain!”  Even when that’s not in the momentary awareness of the person, it’s usually underneath there somewhere.

Even after 10 years of living and breathing NVC, teaching NVC, I still often have to remind myself of these things. I’m one of those wounded kids too. I react. I get angry and blame. And NVC helps me come back to balance. To remember my innocence, and yours.

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