Articles on Personal Growth

Be Careful What You Hear During the Holidays

By Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD.

The holidays can be one of the most stressful times of year. Family gatherings, busy schedules, entertaining, and the bustle and pressure of expectations around gift giving. In this training excerpt, world-renowned peacemaker and author, Marshall Rosenberg, gives frank advice to keep our compassion in check by shifting our thinking.

The Big Cover-Up: How to Stop Hiding Behind the Stories We Make up About Ourselves, and Finally Find the Love We Want

By Tiffany Meyer and edited by Lucy Leu

Just weeks ago my partner and I had reached our biggest moment of disconnect, and our relationship was hanging on the brink of disaster. But before we started round number three, listing everything that was wrong with the other person, we decided to stop, take a break and get clear.

Change Within Ourselves: Growth Through Self-Education

By Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD.

When we look at how Nonviolent Communication can contribute to change, remember this: We want people to change because they see better ways of meeting their needs at less cost, not because of fear that we’re going to punish them, or “guilt” them if they don’t.

Compassionate Communication: Confessions From a Cling-On (PDF)

By Kelly Bryson, MA, MFT

Using humor and anecdotes, Bryson helps us move beyond destructive inner dialogues to empathic connection.

Don’t Do Anything That Isn’t Play!

By Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD.

When I advise, “Don’t do anything that isn’t play!” some take me to be radical. Yet, I earnestly believe that an important form of self-compassion is to make choices motivated purely by our desire to contribute to life rather than out of fear, guilt, shame, duty or obligation. When we are conscious of the life-enriching purpose behind an action we take, then even hard work has an element of play in it. By contrast, an otherwise joyful activity performed out of obligation, duty, fear, guilt or shame will lose its joy and eventually engender resistance.

Eat by Choice this Holiday Season: Simple Ideas to Honor Your Needs Instead of Eating Them During the Holidays

By Jan Henrikson

What if your family clapped and cheered every time you grabbed dessert at a holiday gathering? With every spoonful of peppermint ice cream, you not only enjoy a burst of sugary flavor, but an instant sense of belonging. Stuffing yourself is as much a family tradition as watching “It’s A Wonderful Life.” So is waking up the next morning cursing yourself, vowing that at the next gathering you’ll be “good.”

The Fear Within: Transforming Debilitative Fear from Ruling Your Life and Your Relationships

By Tiffany Meyer

Just the other day a wise friend described fear — of intimacy, of abandonment, of being vulnerable — as a form of emotional control, especially when it creeps its way into an intimate or personal relationship. Control? But, wait a minute, how can my fears control my partner?

Feel a Fight Coming On? Find the Clues to Transform Your Intimate Partner’s Anger into an Opportunity for Connection and Growth

By Wayland Myers, PhD.

The most common emotion I’ve seen couples struggle with is anger. This is what often happens: Someone gets angry (usually because they are hurting or afraid). The couple comes together to try to resolve the anger. So far so good. But then the trouble starts — their dialogue is filled with ways of speaking and thinking that tend to make matters worse, like blaming, shaming, accusation, criticism, name-calling, defensiveness, and even silence.

Filling Your Emotional Tank: Tips to Retain Your Self Compassion When the Daily Grind is Overwhelming

By Jessica Dancingheart

You’ve had a long day at work. You pick your children up from day care or school and they’re cranky, whiny and tired. You’re ready for some down time, to relax and the thought of having to do one more thing for someone else feels overwhelming. Your kids begin to ask things of you and don’t listen to what you have to say or what you want. Your partner is preoccupied with a project.

Forgiving Past Mistakes: A Self-Guided Exercise Into the Spirituality of NVC

By Lucy Leu, Raj Gill and Judi Morin

While most spiritual teachings guide us in how to forgive others, many people struggle forgiving our own past mistakes. When we do or say things we wish we hadn’t, we often judge ourselves and feel shame, guilt or anger. NVC offers a compassionate and productive process to relate to our mistakes, foster learning, and to experience regret without blame or self-hate.

Forgiving the Past by Focusing on the Present: From Speak Peace in a World of Conflict

By Marshall Rosenberg, PhD.

Very often, a lot of healing work goes on in our trainings. Realize first of all that this takes place in front of as many as eighty or ninety people, so you might say there are many witnesses to the efficacy of our approach. Participants regularly tell me they get more out of thirty or forty minutes of what I’ve done than they received from six or seven years of traditional psychotherapy. Read

Healing From the Blame That Binds (PDF)

By Kelly Bryson, MA, MFT

“Just as blame is a protective move based on fear and ignorance, compassion is a corrective countermove based on courage and understanding,” says Bryson in this in depth exploration of the destructive power of internal and external blame. Learn to transform blame and moralistic judgment into a reconnection to human needs.

It’s Time to Graduate From Draining Guilt

By Holly Michelle Eckert

Have you ever found yourself playing mental tennis, trying to convince yourself that what you’ve done (or left undone) was justified or not? Do you ever avoid certain people because you get an icky feeling when you’re around them? Perhaps you’ve caught yourself digging in your heels defensively when a particular subject comes up?

Living in the Success Zone

By Holly Michelle Eckert

For many NVC newcomers, noticing and expressing your own needs can be revolutionary. And while this brings a new level of exciting engagement with life, it can also bring an awareness of an overwhelming number of unmet needs! I feel my child tugging on my skirt, and I notice my need for autonomy. I hear the phone ring, and I long for peace. I see your dirty dishes in the living room, and I need greater order and beauty.

Money Fears: A Heart Dis-Ease

By Kelly Bryson, MA, MFT

Using humor and anecdotes, Bryson helps readers explore the root of their relationship to money.

Non-Coercive Self-Motivation (PDF)

By Kelly Bryson, MA, MFT

Using humor and anecdotes, Bryson presents a more life-enriching method for self-motivation that moves beyond the coercive strategies of punishment and reward.

Non-Rushn’ Unorthodox (PDF)

By Kelly Bryson, MA, MFT

Through personal stories and a conversational style, Bryson helps readers make the important distinction between our anxiety-provoking, catastrophic-thinking related to hurrying through our day, and other more productive kinds of thinking such as planning or preparing. Learn to nurture your needs and get to the root of why you’re rushn’ around.

Perfecting Your Selfishness (PDF)

By Kelly Bryson, MA, MFT

Using stories, poems and anecdotes, Bryson helps readers develop a new understanding of “selfishness” – to help us always give of ourselves willingly and from the heart.

The Price of Nice (PDF)

By Kelly Bryson, MA, MFT

Bryson explores some of the cultural conditioning that leads us to put our needs aside and be “nice” instead of speaking from our heart. Understand the impact of this “niceness”; as needs remain unmet, and our focus is continually drawn away from meeting basic human needs.

Setting New Year’s Resolutions You’re Likely to Meet

By Tiffany Meyer

I’m a big believer in the idea that we’re all a work in progress. I also believe our family — whatever shape it comes in — can be an exceptional source of inspiration and support in our continued self-improvement. The beginning of a new year offers the opportunity to reflect and set goals for self-improvement. Resolutions can be a great motivator.

Shaking the “Shoulds” (PDF)

By Kelly Bryson, MA, MFT

Should is a little hairball of fear that clogs the pipe connection to self and blocks our natural flow of passion, compassion and creativity . . . Compassionate self-acceptance is the Draino that frees our passionate being up so it can experience itself through doing.

Start Living Your True Potential: Steps to Move Beyond Your Judgments and Live Your Best Life

By Mary Mackenzie

Do you ever find yourself in the same emotional landscape over and over again? Okay, sure, the scenery and faces around you might be different, but the way you feel — a tangible sense of dissatisfaction — seems all too familiar. Could it be Deja vu? Karma? A result of your childhood? How can we live up to our true potential, a life filled with relationships and experiences that truly meet our needs, when we keep putting our focus on the outside rather than looking inward?

The Value of Taking a Step Back: Keys to Have a “Fight to the Life” Instead of “to the Death”

By Kelly Bryson, MA, MFT

Have you ever gotten a fishing line all tangled up? You got so frustrated you just started yanking on the different loops of line, which of course made the knots and tangles even tighter and more difficult to untangle. Wouldn’t it be great if you could notice the minute you were starting to tangle things up in a discussion with your loved one? To be able to stop and take a step back — a time out — before the frustrated yanking occurs?

What’s My Intention: A Simple Exercise to Connect to the True Intention Behind Every Action (or Inaction)

By Lucy Leu

There is an intention behind everything we choose to do or not do, say or not say. For example: I decide to wash the dishes that someone has left in the sink. My intention might be to make that person feel guilty and teach them a lesson on how things “should” be done. If I become aware of my intention, I can choose to follow-through on it or choose not to. And, if I do decide to wash the dishes, I might then do so because I want to contribute to a cleaner and more pleasant living space.