When I started this reflective blog, my hope was that readers would question what I wrote, and through this questioning, we would create a new understanding of the original idea. The point of reflective practice, after all, is learning and growth, and in my experience this is enhanced when the reflective process becomes collaborative.
Fortunately, my hope has been validated on many occasions, but the effectiveness of reflective blogging really made an impression on me after I posted Stop Blaming: Develop Emotional Literacy. As usual, I linked my post to Facebook. The next day, this comment was waiting for me in my message box:
I thought I would share a bit about how my brain worked after reading your post today: Yesterday I watched a television segment from “Positive Living.” A doctor was explaining (can’t remember his name) that a suggestion “Don’t spill your milk” activates the brain to imagine spilling milk which actually INCREASES the possibility of accidents. Instead the doctor suggested the mother to say, “take a sip and place the glass carefully back on the table.” When I read your post today I thought about “Stop Blaming” in the same way. Might a similar result to a milk incident be that someone who blames becomes blamed for blaming? Might it be better to suggest “When emotions are activated, recognize them, own them, and … [detach from the trigger].”
By beginning the collaborative process, this reader helped me remember something that had slipped my attention: the impact of negative language. I am fully aware that if we want to encourage someone to do something, the use of negatives such as don’t, never, no, and stop will probably encourage someone to do the opposite. This concept was first made clear to me when I read about positive action language in Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall Rosenberg. One of the quotes he uses, really brings this point home:
We’ve discussed the concept of positive action language on many occasions in our NVC practice group. I’ve also taught this concept during the classroom management courses I designed for our training program. For example, when helping students design classroom norms, instead of using, “don’t speak Korean” it’s more effective to use, “Please speak English”. Yet despite my awareness and knowledge, I still went ahead and used stop as the heading of my title!
So through this Facebook collaboration, I was reminded that reflection isn’t only about deepening one’s understanding to the realm of new ideas. Reflection is also about revisiting beliefs you may not have even realized you lost.
- Reflection and making sense of it (ona76.wordpress.com)