Nonviolent communication is a method that enables relationships based on empathy, compassion, cooperation and harmonious respect for self and others.
The concept of nonviolent communication (NVC) has been introduced in the late 80s by Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD in clinical psychology. Influenced by Carl Rogers, whom he was a student of, Rosenberg has developed a method of interpersonal communication that is simple and structured to facilitate relationships and enhance them with empathy.
Avoid elements of violence in your communication:
The first step to communicate without violence is to avoid:
* Label: we classify a person in a category;
* Put Downs: we deny the qualities of another, or reality, attributing causes to the environment or the context;
* Reproach, or worse, insult: we assign to others the responsibility for our annoyance, anger, frustration …
* Merit: we condition action to reward or punishment;
* Comparison: we evaluate ourselves against other;
* Demands: we use verbs such as “have to”, “must” … or we use an accusing and threatening “you”.
The 4 Stages Of Nonviolent Communication:
Rosenberg breaks down the process of nonviolent communication in four stages: observation, feelings, needs, requests.
* Observation: “I observe a specific behavior that affects my well-being”
Firstly, observe what really happens in a given situation. What, in the other, contributes to my welfare or on the contrary to my irritation, even my aggressiveness? The key is to understand the situation by way of any order or any assessment.
* Emotion: “I react to this behavior with an emotion, feeling”.
This a phase to question our inner emotional state at the moment. Am I happy, sad, angry, etc.. ?
* Needs: “I identify the needs, desires, values that have awakened this feeling”.
This phase is about discovering the needs behind those feelings.
For example, a person who says “you never understand me,” expresses the fact that his need to be understood is not satisfied. The “non violent” expression of that need could be: “I do not feel sufficiently understood.” Similarly, a woman who delivered a reproach to her husband as a “you come home late every night,” expresses an unmet need for privacy or support.
* Requests: “I ask the other concrete actions that will contribute to my well-being”.
Awareness of these three components (which can be expressed or not) leads to clear and sincere communication. The time of expression is the “requests” stage.
In addition to this process that applies to oneself, MB Rosenberg enriched NVC with another dimension: empathy. It teached us to give time and space in the dialogue that the other needs to express himself and feel understood.
Non-violent communication is often presented as the method to follow the four steps above. But in fact, what is said is far less important than the intent with which it is. Because if the intention is that the other do what we want, it is not nonviolent communication. The intention, in fact, is a very different matter. Our intention is to create with one another a certain quality of energy that will ensure that the needs of both are satisfied and that everything they give to each other will be given willingly. When speaking with this consciousness, then the mechanics of the four steps is very useful. But if one believes one way or another that the other has a hidden purpose behind the use of this method, or possibly they are not as interested in our needs than in theirs, the mechanics will not help and will be useless.