Monday, May 3, 2010

Cultivating the courage to ask for help

I asked an NVC colleague to give me empathic listening time about a difficult issue. We have an agreement that we are welcome to ask one another for help at any time, and yet I still felt uncomfortable. A part of me still believes asking for help is "taking," and I have no right to "take" without giving back.

My colleague gave me feedback about what it was like to accompany me. From her response, I experienced that asking for help is not only "taking" from someone, it is also giving.

What helps me get in touch with that is the "post-empathic request": would you be willing to tell me how you are affected by being with me in this way?

When I take time to elicit, receive and be affected by the response of the person helping me, it connects me with the flowing of giving and receiving in my body. It’s a physical experience I can call to mind anytime. Taking time to receive it makes it more likely I will remember it.

Making the post-empathic request and receiving the answer gives me the courage to keep asking for help because it supports me in remembering how asking for help can make both our lives more wonderful.


I offer Nonviolent Communication coaching, introductory and deepening workshops. I also integrate NVC in my practice of holistic psychotherapy. Sessions are available at $75/hr or 3 sessions for $200. For more see, or contact me at or 613-868-9642. Follow me on Twitter: Shuliji

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