I delayed this chapter because I have trouble with it and I think it is important. I did a lot of hilighting in this chapter. I still have a way to go to fully integrate this knowledge.
In this chapter Rosenberg discusses self-compassion, how we can use NVC to improve the way we treat ourselves. Our culture promotes a style of self-evaluation that leads to blaming oneself rather than learning and growing as a result of mistakes. "Shame is a form of self-hatred, and actions taken in reaction to shame are not free and joyful acts." Why not shoot for freedom and joy instead? Rosenberg wants to show us how.
"Should" is a powerful negative word that denies the role of choice in our actions. When we don't allow ourselves to choose, we resist the demand we place on ourselves. Demands take the joy out of our actions. Even if we do as we "should", the coercive aspect spoils it.
"Self-judgements, like all judgements, are tragic expressions of unmet needs." If we can figure out the need we were pursuing, we can change the experience from shame and guilt to something more positive and learn from the experience. The regret we feel is NVC mourning. Once we recognize our need, we can pursue it more effectively, connect emphatically with ourselves, and forgive ourselves.
If we do something because we choose to do so to fulfill a need, we can adopt a more positive attitude and turn it into play.
Rosenberg describes an exercise. Write down things you feel you "must" do. Put "I choose to " in front and "because I want" at the end, and then fill in the because part (unless you decide you choose not to!).
Rosenberg lists some extrinsic motivators: money, approval, punishment, shame, guilt, duty. These are not needs. Is this really clear? I choose to do my taxes (currently) because I want to avoid punishment. I hate the process even more than I resent paying. I have long since become accustomed to the idea of paying tax, but I have never adjusted to trying to decipher the annoying instructions, or even the accountant's "simplification" of my part of the process. I'd be willing to pay a lot more if I could give to charity and skip the record keeping and form filing. They want me to calculate things I don't care about and remember stuff I'd rather forget. Maybe I should consider switching to an accountant who is more willing to help out. But I can't imagine turning it into play. Am I denying choice? I can fill out the forms, or I can risk jail, or ... What? Adjust my attitude? I could use it as an exercise for snarking at the IRS agents, but that is another good way to end up in Kafkaland. I think I just have a tragic need to avoid jail, and tax season will never "serve life" for me.