Non-Violent Communication- A Language of Life

Do you hunger for skills to improve the quality of your relationships, to deepen your sense of personal empowerment or to simply communicate more effectively? Unfortunately, for centuries our culture has taught us to think and speak in ways that can actually perpetuate conflict, internal pain and even violence. Nonviolent Communication partners practical skills with a powerful consciousness and vocabulary to help you get what you want peacefully.

In this internationally acclaimed text, Marshall Rosenberg offers insightful stories, anecdotes, practical exercises and role-plays that will dramatically change your approach to communication for the better. Discover how the language you use can strengthen your relationships, build trust, prevent conflicts and heal pain. Revolutionary, yet simple, Nonviolent Communication offers you the most effective tools to reduce violence and create peace in your life—one interaction at a time.

About the Author

Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D. is the founder and educational director of the Center for Nonviolent Communication. Deemed international peacemaker, mediator and healer, he spends more than 250 days each year teaching these remarkably effective communication and conflict resolution skills in local communities, at national conferences and in some of the most impoverished, war-torn areas of the world. He is based in Wasserfallenhof, Switzerland.  Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. has initiated peace programs in war-torn areas throughout the world including Rwanda, Burundi, Nigeria, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Middle East, Serbia, Croatia, and Ireland. He is the founder and director of educational services for the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC), an international nonprofit organization that offers workshops and training in 30 countries. Dr. Rosenberg is the author of Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life (2nd edition, PuddleDancer Press, 2003).
From Wikipedia:

It focuses on three aspects of communication: self-empathy (defined as a deep and compassionate awareness of one’s own inner experience), empathy (defined as listening to another with deep compassion), and honest self-expression (defined as expressing oneself authentically in a way that is likely to inspire compassion in others).

 

NVC is based on the idea that all human beings have the capacity for compassion and only resort to violence or behavior that harms others when they don’t recognize more effective strategies for meeting needs.[4] Habits of thinking and speaking that lead to the use of violence (psychological and physical) are learned through culture. NVC theory supposes all human behavior stems from attempts to meet universal human needs and that these needs are never in conflict. Rather, conflict arises when strategies for meeting needs clash. NVC proposes that if people can identify their needs, the needs of others, and the feelings that surround these needs, harmony can be achieved.[5]

 

While NVC is ostensibly taught as a process of communication designed to improve compassionate connection to others, it has also been interpreted as a spiritual practice, a set of values, a parenting technique, an educational method and a worldview.

Non-Violent Communication

Assumptions

NVC trainers Inbal and Miki Kashtan characterize the assumptions underlying NVC as:

All human beings share the same needs

Our world offers sufficient resources for meeting everyone’s basic needs

All actions are attempts to meet needs

Feelings point to needs being met or unmet

All human beings have the capacity for compassion

Human beings enjoy giving

Human beings meet needs through interdependent relationships

Human beings change

Choice is internal

The most direct path to peace is through self-connection

 

Intentions

The Kashtans further offer that practicing NVC involves holding these intentions:[4]

Open-Hearted Living

Self-compassion

Expressing from the heart

Receiving with compassion

Prioritizing connection

Moving beyond “right” and “wrong” to using needs-based assessments

Choice, Responsibility, Peace

Taking responsibility for our feelings

Taking responsibility for our actions

Living in peace with unmet needs

Increasing capacity for meeting needs

Increasing capacity for meeting the present moment

Sharing Power (Partnership)

Caring equally for everyone’s needs

Using force minimally and to protect rather than to educate, punish, or get what we want without agreement

Communication that blocks compassion

NVC suggests that certain ways of communicating tend to alienate people from the experience of compassion: ([29] ch.2)

Moralistic judgments implying wrongness or badness on the part of people who don’t act in harmony with our values. Blame, insults, put-downs, labels, criticisms, comparisons, and diagnoses are all said to be forms of judgment. (Moralistic judgments are not to be confused with value judgments as to the qualities we value.) The use of moralistic judgments is characterized as an impersonal way of expressing oneself that does not require one to reveal what is going on inside of oneself. This way of speaking is said to have the result that “Our attention is focused on classifying, analyzing, and determining levels of wrongness rather than on what we and others need and are not getting.”

Demands that implicitly or explicitly threaten listeners with blame or punishment if they fail to comply.

Denial of responsibility via language that obscures awareness of personal responsibility. It is said that we deny responsibility for our actions when we attribute their cause to: vague impersonal forces (“I had to”); our condition, diagnosis, personal or psychological history; the actions of others; the dictates of authority; group pressure; institutional policy, rules, and regulations; gender roles, social roles, or age roles; or uncontrollable impulses.

Making comparisons between people.

A premise of deserving, that certain actions merit reward while others merit punishment.

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