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Melissa

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Reply with quote  #1 
Over the years, it appears to me that its not uncommon for people in NVC culture, whether on a local or global level, to present "inclusion" as a need when --in the context its used-- it is really a strategy or ideology. When this happens I experience some level of distress and despair.  I long for the type of precision of awareness around how we think about "inclusion", so that we may better support human needs and compassion, and enrich lives.
 




Example:

To illustrate what I mean, take the (perhaps strange) example of a someone who is serial murderer (let's call her Beth) who urges a children's daycare to hire her because she has a need for inclusion.  And a children's daycare hires Beth because they want to be compassionate towards her needs. 
 



Here are four things I see as often unnoticed in NVC culture:
  1. When inclusion is presented as a need, when it is really a strategy (ie. it focuses on particulars, such as "who" is included, rather than on focusing on an inclusion of needs), we may be pulled by someone's need for acceptance and belonging.  I'm all for including those needs. But when we are talking about strategy (of being a staff member at a daycare, in this case), this is another matter altogether.
  2. When "inclusion" of a particular person is presented as a need, there times I hear it as a "should" that implies that no one has the right to say "no" (in this example, saying "no" to hiring a Beth). Sometimes I hear it as though people are asking the "need" for inclusion (when really its a strategy), to eclipse all other needs. Is it always wrong to choose to not include people?
  3. At times, inclusion of some people in an organization (in this example, Beth), can lead to an exclusion of other people's needs (in this example: children's safety, families' trust, compassion for the little ones, etc).
  4. And sometimes inclusion of some people could lead to exclusion of others.  If I were a parent, and found out one of the staff is a murder, I'd intentionally opt to "exclude" my family from going anywhere near the daycare.  If I further chose to express this concern and urge the daycare to make changes in their decision making process and outcomes, it would be out of concern for all those families affected, and maybe I don't want my children to experience the heartbreak of no longer being in touch with their friends at daycare; I wouldn't be choosing this honest feedback as way to get the daycare to give the middle finger to Beth. Its a matter of protecting my loved ones out of care.  Sometimes the choice to not include can be an act of compassion.
 
 
 
Five Questions to Consider 
  1. When does "inclusion" become more like an obligation (or demand), than a need?  How can we tell when this has happened -- what are the signs?
  2. If someone gets upset about not being included and presses on about their need for belonging and acceptance, does the act of chosing not to include them necessarily mean that the person (eg. Beth) won't get their need for belonging nor acceptance met?  How much is her "need" based on the meaning she is making of the situation? Is it more important to have an inclusion of people, than to have an inclusion of people's needs?
  3. What are the other costs of applying inclusion as an imperative?
  4. What do you think of the type of inclusion that serves personal gain at the expense of the group purpose (in this example, the purpose of the daycare is care for the well being of children, while their parents are attending to other matters)?  How can we reduce or eliminate inclusion as coming at a cost to values (eg. trust, joy, care, etc) that support the purpose of an organization? 
  5. Is inclusion more valuable than compassion? If not, how can we make inclusion more compassionate towards those who are negatively impacted by inclusion? When is inclusion less than caring towards parties involved? 








Melissa

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Reply with quote  #2 
In response to the post above, someone said they most definitely see inclusion as a need. Yes, I see inclusion like any other need. 
 
I see any need (including "inclusion") as something that could be turned into a strategy, once it becomes attached to particulars (such as who, when, where, etc). My dream is that we'd have clarity about the difference between the two; that we can detect when need has been turned into strategy. And when a strategy has landslided into "demand" territory.  One tip I've heard about for checking to see whether a need has become a strategy or not, is to ask ourselves:
 
Quote:
 If everyone in the universe, except for this one person (or group), met my need for "X" would my need be met? 
 
If yes, it likely checks out as a true need. 
 
If no, then your mind is likely hooking on to that particular person or group as the strategy to meet the need. In other words, the need has now transformed into a strategy.  In my view, it's now a faux need.



Melissa

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Reply with quote  #3 
Also, someone else asked me to give another example to illustrate. So here it is.


Example #2

You have private empathy sessions about various things you feel ashamed about in your family, business and social change activities. Here are the parties involved and their needs:
 
  1. You do private empathy sessions because you have a need for private space to sort out how you feel about things without the emotional interference of worrying what others think (or would misunderstand) about your emotional processing. You've had the experience of people misunderstanding your experience and motives -- resulting in your getting sued. Care for your process of self discovery is important to you. You're longing for self connection that brings greater inner awareness. You're yearning for ease and emotional sustainability, when you're in the process of digging into things you normally don't want to look at. You cherish being able to build experiences where you're met with emotional attunement and "mattering" no matter what uncomfortable tender, vulnerable, inner truths exist within you, that are waiting to unearthed. 
  2. Your ex husband, Bob, wants to be included in hearing your empathy sessions so he pushes for wire tapping both the room you have those sessions in, and your phone where you make empathy calls, and getting the passwords to all your email addresses. He says he wants his need for inclusion.  But why does he want inclusion?  When asked turns out its because he wants to better understand you so that you guys can work things out for the sake of the kids.  He has a need for information that bridges understanding, so that you two can better cooperate.
  3. Other people across the world are also wanting inclusion in being "in-on" your empathy sessions because they want to assess if you, as the CEO of your global business "should be" trustworthy, so they also push to have those sessions published online in a live stream public viewing that zooms in on your micro-expressions, so that everyone can decide for themselves if they want to do business with you. They say they have a need for inclusion. Why? To protect their informed choice.
  4. The government wants to pass a law so that all empathy sessions from the world's population wire tapped and uploaded to the internet for public review. The government is looking to be included in on your empathy sessions.  Why? They claim its so that it can keep better order, harmony and ease. Perhaps they want inclusion because they are afraid of the next uprising being planned, and effectively executed.
 
If we talk about inclusion as a need, then perhaps there's a way all parties could come together with solution(s) that meets the need for information, understanding, cooperation, informed choice, trust-building, order, harmony, ease, etc.  And all in a way that doesn't come at the expense of your (or others') need for private space to do inner work without interference (and along with protection from those sessions leading to a further shame spiral, emotional trauma, or another unnecessary lawsuit based on misunderstanding).
 
If we stick to pushing for the strategy of making someone's empathy sessions public, and we call it "inclusion", I see inclusion as now becoming both a strategy and demand. 
 
I'd rather us loosen up on the strategy and instead turning our hearts towards working together to find solution(s) that effectively supports the purpose (eg. Purpose of a daycare, or empathy sessions) and needs involved  -- rather the battle of who is right or wrong about strategy (eg. strategy of having access to someone's private empathy sessions). 
 
In other words, I'd rather the central question become "How can we extend our capacity towards care for the needs of all parties involved, without compromising our needs?" Rather than "Is it wrong to exclude people from things?"
 
Clemie

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Reply with quote  #4 
Please see my responses within your copied text below:

"Here are four things I see as often unnoticed in NVC culture:
  1. When inclusion is presented as a need, when it is really a strategy (ie. it focuses on particulars, such as "who" is included, rather than on focusing on an inclusion of needs), we may be pulled by someone's need for acceptance and belonging.  I'm all for including those needs. But when we are talking about strategy (of being a staff member at a daycare, in this case), this is another matter altogether. In my NVC training I was taught that needs are not person, place or time specific. 
  2. When "inclusion" of a particular person is presented as a need, there times I hear it as a "should" that implies that no one has the right to say "no" (in this example, saying "no" to hiring a Beth). Sometimes I hear it as though people are asking the "need" for inclusion (when really its a strategy), to eclipse all other needs. Is it always wrong to choose to not include people? Also in my training, I have been taught that needs are nouns, otherwise they are strategies. And, depending on the needs of folks certain strategies are chosen and sometimes that means not including people. 
  3. At times, inclusion of some people in an organization (in this example, Beth), can lead to an exclusion of other people's needs (in this example: children's safety, families' trust, compassion for the little ones, etc).Yup.
  4. And sometimes inclusion of some people could lead to exclusion of others.  If I were a parent, and found out one of the staff is a murder, I'd intentionally opt to "exclude" my family from going anywhere near the daycare.  If I further chose to express this concern and urge the daycare to make changes in their decision making process and outcomes, it would be out of concern for all those families affected, and maybe I don't want my children to experience the heartbreak of no longer being in touch with their friends at daycare; I wouldn't be choosing this honest feedback as way to get the daycare to give the middle finger to Beth. Its a matter of protecting my loved ones out of care.  Sometimes the choice to not include can be an act of compassion. YUP
  5. Is inclusion more valuable than compassion? NOPE. All needs are of equal value. Each person determines what needs best enhance life at a particular moment. When more than one person is involved communicating about individual needs becomes important to determine a group's needs. If not, how can we make inclusion more compassionate towards those who are negatively impacted by inclusion? When is inclusion less than caring towards parties involved? Melissa could you please ask this question in another way so I can understand it better?

Five Questions to Consider 
  1. When does "inclusion" become more like an obligation (or demand), than a need?  My guess is when other needs are also up or when needs of both sides haven't been fully heard or integrated, or when implicits on either side are triggered and not consciously named. How can we tell when this has happened -- what are the signsMy guess is that you can tell because folks will have less willing to hear each other fully or explore other strategies.
  2. If someone gets upset about not being included and presses on about their need for belonging and acceptance, does the act of chosing not to include them necessarily mean that the person (eg. Beth) won't get their need for belonging nor acceptance met?  It is up to the individual to say whether those needs are met. How much is her "need" based on the meaning she is making of the situation? In my experience meaning can be made about anything so yes it could be be based on the meaning made of the situation or any aspect of the dynamic. Is it more important to have an inclusion of people, than to have an inclusion of people's needs? For understanding and connection to be alive, needs of all members need to be fully heard and implicits need to be named and addressed. It is from the place of fullest understanding that strategies will arise that meet needs of those involved.
  3. What are the other costs of applying inclusion as an imperative? Inclusion or any need used as a strategy could have many gifts and/or costs. Best to stay with inclusion as need, not strategy, unless meets all needs.
  4. What do you think of the type of inclusion that serves personal gain at the expense of the group purpose (in this example, the purpose of the daycare is care for the well being of children, while their parents are attending to other matters)?  How can we reduce or eliminate inclusion as coming at a cost to values (eg. trust, joy, care, etc) that support the purpose of an organization? If the needs of all are heard and integrated then this scenario should not happen. I repeat myself now. All needs need to be heard and integrated in order for a group to come to a place of full understanding where strategies arise from that place and people can be at peace with the strategies. If they are not, then more listening and attending to implicits need to happen. 


Melissa

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks for engaging in this discussion, Clemie!  

  1. I'm really curious about "needs are nouns".  What do you mean?  My understanding of nouns is that they are person, place or things -- which seems to be the opposite of what you said in the response to the prior question ("needs are not person, place or time specific").  Do you mean "when inclusion is a noun, it's a strategy; inclusion not a need when its turned into a noun"?
  2. I really like your view (in #1, 2, & 4) on implicits, and when people are less willing to explore other strategies.  I'm really appreciating this clear marker for where a situation is at!  It's also given me further food for thought.  My read of this is that the block to what I call "collaborative care" (collaborating for the purpose of infusing care into the situation) can be lifted when implicits and needs of all parties are named and addressed, so that fixations on particular strategies being the only way forward, can be turned into flexibility around finding strategies to meet as many needs as possible.
  3. You addressed the question of "Is inclusion more valuable than compassion?" and then asked to rephrase the question of "If [inclusion is] not [more valuable than compassion], how can we make inclusion more compassionate towards those who are negatively impacted by inclusion? When is inclusion less than caring towards parties involved?".  Here's a wedding invitation example: 
  • Do you need to invite 300 more people who desperately want to be at your wedding, because "in order to be truly compassionate about things, inclusion in any group has to be compulsory"? If not, how can we increase the chances that inclusion is compassionate and caring to as many people involved as possible?

I see it as more within the spirit of compassion to hear why inviting those people is an issue (maybe it costs you $60 a seat at your wedding party and you'd feel miserable in the presence of those people at your own party).  If it would negatively impact you (financial sustainability, joy, etc) to invite even just one more person to your wedding, its a question of how we could make "inclusion" become more compassionate towards you, as well.  Not just focusing on the needs of those who want to attend.

You're helping me see how it comes back to your statement about how when implicits and needs of all parties are name and addressed we are more likely to receive one another's experiences around the question of "invitation" (and how we are all impacted) with more tender heartedness.  And we are more likely to move away from who is "right" or "wrong" about the question of inviting or not inviting.


Overall, I agree with and appreciate your responses.  Helps me think deeper about it, and gain some clarity and understanding.  Thanks for the gift 😉

Melissa

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Reply with quote  #6 
Someone wrote to me saying 


Quote:
"I think it's also worth thinking about the privilege that someone already in a group has, and I would hope that with that power and privilege, the person would also assume responsibility to be reasonable in making decisions when the other doesn't have a voice.  It might be reasonable to go out of one's way to ensure the person without a voice is given one." 

 
Yes, I'd hope so too! 
 
I'd also hope that people wouldn't automatically assume that just because group members are already part of a group, that means they're wielding power and privilege. I'd hope that bias against members wouldn't be a knee-jerk reaction. (See my example below for what I mean.  I'm finding too much joy in coming up with examples! [wink] ).
 
I especially hope that the question of "purpose" and "needs" would be at the forefront of what all parties would be focusing on (see example below for how this applies).
 
 


The value of looking at Purpose in groups,
Exclusion, Power/Privilege motives, & Enemy Images
(Using an example of women wanting to become part of a men's group)
 
I see "purpose" is important because for example, if you're a member of a men's group, ideally the purpose of keeping it "just men" isn't because of much-snobbery, or an (un)conscious power/privilege bias. I imagine part of the purpose of keeping a men's group "men only" (please correct me if I'm not accurate, or add to it if I missed something) is to process difficult experiences unique to men, unimpeded by concerns about how they may appear to women (or perhaps prevent enemy images of men arising based on misunderstanding) -- as women didn't grow up the way men do, and also don't have the same expectations and psychological burdens placed on them by others and themselves. Perhaps the purpose for men's groups being exclusive is for creating a strong enough container to hold any shame, anger, hurt, etc that would arise, and process it in a way that holds "sacred space" for shared reality, attunement, ease of understanding, and emotional sustainability.
 
If women wanted to join because they have a need for inclusion, belonging and acceptance, and they claimed men's groups were being exclusive out of sexism, hopefully this would be a misunderstanding about the nature of the "no", and the needs (the inner yes) behind the "no". As a woman, I don't see that men's groups should be inclusive of women just because of women have a need for inclusion; it's not as though men's groups are wrong or bad for being exclusive. 
 
Women's needs for inclusion, belonging and acceptance are important too. I'd hope women could find a way to nourish an support those needs in a way that would also nourish and support men's needs too.
 
In my view, it'd be truly tragic if enemy images (of these men as wielding power/privilege) arose in place of such misunderstandings. 
 
And it'd be also tragic if the men's group really did hold sexism that masqueraded as something politically correct.
 
 
 
 
 
What does genuine care look like
when someone is upset at being excluded? 
 
On another note, if women (in the above example) get upset at being excluded, what does genuine care look like? Which one of the following (or combination of the following) would it look like?

  • A.) Men being responsible for women's upset.
  • B.) Men making their men's group an all inclusive group, open to women.
  • C.) Men pivoting their decisions based on someone's story that not being included means that there's no care towards women (even when men know this isn't true)
  • D.) Men practicing clear differentiation by not buying into someone's story about their group "not being the strategy for someone's being included" means "they aren't being caring". In other words, men having the clarity that their saying "no" to others request, isn't the same as saying "others' needs don't matter".
  • E.) Men being responsible for finding other ways to support and nourish women's need for inclusion -- because they should do so, otherwise they're not being very compassionate.
  • F.) Men finding other ways to support and nourish women's need for inclusion -- not out of obligation, but rather doing so only if they are moved to do it. And if men don't feel compelled to find ways to support women's needs, then mourning their own inner state or limits (maybe because they value needs such as care and support for all).
  • G.) Men communicating with as much care as possible that their group is not the strategy for women's need for inclusion, expressing the "yes" to certain needs behind their "no", and mourning that there's mismatch of strategies (maybe they mourn because they value certain needs, such as support for all). Perhaps they'd express that there's a trade-off for being exclusive and mourning that trade-off.  And maybe there could be creativity to enter the picture of creating a separate group that's all-inclusive as result. 
 
Clemie

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melissa
Thanks for engaging in this discussion, Clemie!  

  1. I'm really curious about "needs are nouns".  What do you mean?  My understanding of nouns is that they are person, place or things -- which seems to be the opposite of what you said in the response to the prior question ("needs are not person, place or time specific").  Do you mean "when inclusion is a noun, it's a strategy; inclusion not a need when its turned into a noun"? What I mean by "needs are nouns" is, if you look at the words on the Needs Inventory, you will notice that they are nouns. e.g. the word, "inclusion" is a noun. When it is changed to a verb, e.g. the need for inclusion was met when they included him into the group. "Included" is the strategy. "needs are not person, place or time specific" means that a particular need can be met by anyone, at any place or at any time. The limit is one's imagination! For example, although I would prefer that Walter be the one to meet my needs for affection, that need could be satisfied with any trusted friend or animal. We often get stuck on wanting a particular person to meet needs and in doing so perhaps miss the opportunity for the need to be fully met through other people. An example about a need not being place specific is: If I had a need for rest, I might initially think of my bed or couch as a place to rest. If I know that it doesn't have to be place specific I might realise that I have many more places that will support that need for rest. Maybe a hammock, a beach, in a tree, on a raft or a float tank? How rich can life be if we are not so attached to a specific place to meet a need? Same goes for being time specific. I find that the more flexible I am able to be around time, the more likely I can meet my and others needs. Does this help clarify?
  2. I really like your view (in #1, 2, & 4) on implicits, and when people are less willing to explore other strategies.  I'm really appreciating this clear marker for where a situation is at!  It's also given me further food for thought.  My read of this is that the block to what I call "collaborative care" (collaborating for the purpose of infusing care into the situation) can be lifted when implicits and needs of all parties are named and addressed, so that fixations on particular strategies being the only way forward, can be turned into flexibility around finding strategies to meet as many needs as possible. Very happy to hear!
  3. You addressed the question of "Is inclusion more valuable than compassion?" and then asked to rephrase the question of "If [inclusion is] not [more valuable than compassion], how can we make inclusion more compassionate towards those who are negatively impacted by inclusion? When is inclusion less than caring towards parties involved?".  Here's a wedding invitation example: 
  • Do you need to invite 300 more people who desperately want to be at your wedding, because "in order to be truly compassionate about things, inclusion in any group has to be compulsory"? If not, how can we increase the chances that inclusion is compassionate and caring to as many people involved as possible?
I am really enjoying this "who to invite to the wedding" as an example as we lived through the pains of it not too long ago! We started with 30 people and in the end we changed venues to accommodate 105 at our wedding. Underneath the need for inclusion were sooooo many needs: mattering, trust, fairness, community, consideration, honouring, meaning, mutuality, accountability, intimacy, closeness, frequency (of contact), distance of travel (consideration, support, meaning, convenience), friendship (quality and length of), family. Was SOOO hard to decide...Ultimately we weighed these multitude of needs and the ultimate boundary came down to space and money! Thank goodness for something concrete, cuz otherwise my implicits would have continued to be constantly triggered! We did not invite anyone who we could not do so joyfully and requested that our helpers only do things from a place of joy, so that was a solid place to act from. We did wish we could invite more and we also know that we are both introverts and find more meaning and ease in smaller gatherings so we listened to that too. 

I see it as more within the spirit of compassion to hear why inviting those people is an issue (maybe it costs you $60 a seat at your wedding party and you'd feel miserable in the presence of those people at your own party).  If it would negatively impact you (financial sustainability, joy, etc) to invite even just one more person to your wedding, its a question of how we could make "inclusion" become more compassionate towards you, as well.  Not just focusing on the needs of those who want to attend.

You're helping me see how it comes back to your statement about how when implicits and needs of all parties are name and addressed we are more likely to receive one another's experiences around the question of "invitation" (and how we are all impacted) with more tender heartedness.  And we are more likely to move away from who is "right" or "wrong" about the question of inviting or not inviting. [smile][biggrin]


Overall, I agree with and appreciate your responses.  Helps me think deeper about it, and gain some clarity and understanding.  Thanks for the gift 😉 [love]

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