What We Mean When We Say Nothing

Among the acting performances which I’ve found memorable ranks that of Amy Madigan in the televised enactment of “The Revolt of Mother”, based on a short story by Mary E. Wilkins about a woman who silently secures her husband’s acquiescence in her desire for a new home after decades of living in a virtual hovel.  A poignant piece masterfully portrayed, and an eloquent message about pre-emptive action to thwart complaint.

What I mean is this:  If we watch the ones we love, whose comfort and contentment we desire to promote, we can create situations in which those folks have no need of complaint.

Marshall Rosenberg tells us that everything we do stems from our own needs.  He also believes that the natural state of humans is that of giving creatures.  If I have a need for a peaceful existence, then doing something which you desire to have me do meets my need.   My existence will be peaceful when you smile upon me with tranquility because I have done that which you desire me to do.  Wow!  Such a simple concept, but when you picture each person meeting his/her own need for peace and harmony by doing that which the other desires them to do, you understand that complaining can be eliminated altogether.

And Mother’s revolt was successful, but extreme.  She silently and somberly stated her complaint, and Father had no choice but to give her what she wanted or face the consequences.  How much better would it be to anticipate the other’s desires and needs before revolt becomes the only apparent answer?

One caveat, from Marshall Rosenberg:  Actions for the other must be freely given and the other must be free to decline.  And from me:  If the other declines to do that which you request, you can’t complain!  You must let them be free to decline.

It sounds complicated; but I’m not complaining.

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