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.
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. 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.
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.
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
The Kashtans further offer that practicing NVC involves holding these intentions:
Expressing from the heart
Receiving with compassion
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: ( 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.