Are you feeling angry today ?

AUDIOBLOG by Meena Serendib

 
For whatever reason, I have been so angry lately. And I mean like angry. My daydreams have turned into fantasies of punching passerbys who piss me off. Old, young, men, women. I’d like to punch the world in the face.  Punch it in the face, the stomach…and then in the face again. Now I’m not normally a violent person. In fact for the last three years, I have been studying Non-Violent Communication.

Listen to Meena Serendib’s Audioblog

 


 

Now I know, I get this a lot – what the heck is Non-Violent Communication? Being really nice and not yelling at people? Kind of, but not really. Non-Violent Communication is kind of a misnomer because it has less to do with the absence of violence and more to do with the openness of the heart.

The principles on which Non-Violent Communication is based or basic concepts which have existed forever, but which were given a specific structure by its founder Marshall Rosenberg. Rosenberg has it pretty well mapped out. As humans, we all share a set of universal needs, meaning everybody’s got the same needs and the needs are really basic (such as respect, consideration, joy, love).

Our feelings are a result of how those needs are met. If you are happy, chances are a need is being met. If you are angry, chances are a need is not being met. So in those instances, we then employ strategies (actions or behaviors) in order to get our needs met. Disagreement (and subsequently violence) occurs when two or more people use strategies which then conflict with each other.

But how does one define violence?

If one person hits another, most people might call that violent.  In which case, how is spanking a child not violent? Objectively speaking, it is one person using physical force to obtain what they want (obedience) from another person.

The notion of “Spare the rod, spoil the child” is a sentiment which many Sri Lankan parents will empathize with.  A mother who hits her child may be doing so because she sees her child engaging in a bad habit or potentially dangerous behavior and quite possibly because she doesn’t know any other strategy  to get her kid to behave and to behave safely. A spanking then can be defined as a protective use of force, a form of violence which is done for the well-being of someone else.

What my Amma is basically saying in that last bit is she doesn’t know why her mother chose to hit her as a form of punishment. She guesses that probably her mother was spanked as a child and probably yelled at. And then my Amma poses the question, if her mother had never been hit or scolded as a child, would she have behaved that way as a parent?

In his book, Marshall Rosenberg never clearly defines violence.  He does however define “non-violence” – “communication – speaking and listening – that leads us to give from the heart, connecting us with ourselves and with each other in a way that allows our natural compassion to flourish.”

Even after weeks of meditating

pondering, thinking, and praying, I still don’t know what it is that’s gotten me so pissed off. It’s probably something that will have to be worked out in its own time, in its own way. So as this week begins, I won’t necessarily ask my heart to be less violent. But I will ask myself to be a little more quiet, so that if she wants to, she can start to flourish.

BIO:

Meena Serendib is an actress, dancer, and spoken word poet. Television and film credits include Bones, CSI:NY, Trauma, NCIS:LA, Apparition,Simply Plimpton, Diary of A Single Mom, and Soham Mehta’s Student Academy Award winning film Fatakra! Aside from her career in the arts, she has worked as a crisis counselor in both suicide prevention and rape crisis management since 2009. She has found Non-Violent Communication to be an invaluable asset both in her line of work and as a means to win fights against her Amma.

Comments

  1. krayemar says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Apart from the very interesting subject, I couldn’t help thinking while listening that Ms. Serendib has one of the most beautiful spoken-word voices I have ever heard. I will hope and watch for more entries!

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