NEW YEAR. NEW HABITS SALE!
50% OFF MEMBERSHIP

Learn About Nonviolent Communication + How to Use It (Review of the Best Selling Book)

We all know what it’s like to accidentally escalate a conflict, when we respond in a way we think is helpful but is evidently harmful to the person we’re speaking to. Along the same lines, most of us have ended up in a confrontation without really knowing how we got there.

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Compassion aims to provide a strong framework for using nonviolent communication in your daily life to reduce violence to others and yourself.

The process of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), developed in the 1960s by clinical psychologist Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg, the author of Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Compassion, is founded on language and communication skills that helps us remember that we are all humans – imperfect beings full of feeling and wanting.
 

“What I want in my life is compassion, a flow between myself and others based on mutual giving from the heart.” – Marshall B.Rosenberg, PhD

 
With a forward by Deepak Chopra, this book outlines how to practice NVC in your relationships, in your own mind and how to mediate conflict resolution with others. These are broken down into easy-to-read chapters that provide both listening techniques and responding techniques along with examples and practices.
 

 
 

What Is Nonviolent Communication?

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a technique to help us continue to speak and listen with compassion, even under “trying conditions.”

Instead of an automatic response to conflict with either defense or blame, this method retrains our habits to respond more kindly by seeking to understand and reflect the hurt in the person with whom we are experiencing conflict.

“Nonviolence” refers to Gandhi’s use of the word, much like ahimsa, where words and thoughts may contribute to violence as well as physical acts.

Ahimsa: Your Guide to the First Yama From the Eight Limbed Path of Yoga
 
 

How Do You Practice Nonviolent Communication?

There are four components to NVC:

1. Observations: The actions we observe that affect our well-being
2. Feelings: How we feel in relation to those observations
3. Needs: Uncovering needs are not being met, which create those feelings
4. Requests: Concrete actions that meet our needs and enrich our lives

While using NVC, you may be listening to those four components or you may be expressing them. Rosenberg states that it is not a set formula but a framework, which may adapt to different circumstances and cultures.
 

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a technique to help us continue to speak and listen with compassion, even under “trying conditions.”

 
Some things that make it difficult to practice nonviolent communication is when we bring along judgements instead of empathy, when we push to defend instead of listen, and when we blame ourselves or others instead of using “present and positive action” words to resolve a conflict.
 
 

Let’s Break Down the Four Components of Nonviolent Communication:

 

1. Observations vs. Evaluations

Often, even when we practice mindfulness, we bring judgements into our thoughts and words without realizing it. In the book, Rosenberg outlines grammatical ways that you can tell when you or someone else is evaluating rather than observing, such as when we use the words always or never.

Another example of evaluating is if someone says, “You’re too generous.” That is not an observation, it’s an opinion. An observation would be, “When I see you give all your lunch money to others, I think you are being too generous.”
 

 
 

2. Identifying and Expressing Feelings

Rosenberg spends a lot of time with the concept and practice of identifying our feelings. In fact, he provides a few lists for developing a more coherent language around what feelings we have. One key distinction is to notice when we use the word “I feel” when we mean “I am thought of as…”

Here’s an example from the book: “I feel misunderstood.

Here the word misunderstood indicates my assessment of the other person’s level of understanding rather than an actual feeling. In this situation, I may be feeling anxious or annoyed or some other emotion.
 

3. Needs Indicated By Our Feelings

Rosenberg claims that our judgments of others are an “expression of our own unmet needs.” So, if you tell your partner that they work too much, In Nonviolent Communication, Rosenberg says that may indicate that you are seeking more connection with your partner. Working on your vocabulary around feelings may help you become more clear on those needs underlying your feelings.
 

4. Requests With Positive Action Language

When we’ve observed our conflict, recognized our feelings, and discovered our unmet needs beneath the feeling, it’s time to request a resolution. Positive action language, paired with our feelings and observations, make it clear to the listener that you are not attacking them and how they can help.

Positive wording means to request what someone can DO instead of what NOT to do. Action words reduce vague requests. Together, you have a concise and clear, compassionate resolution.
 
 

And That’s Only the Tip of the Iceberg of NonViolent Communication

One of my favorite things about Nonviolent Communication is the variety of information formats. Not only does Rosenberg include poems throughout, there are also lists of words for needs and feelings that we may not think to define, text blocks with key points, exercises to practice, as well as his own personal stories from the years of his training.

It may be worth noting that, since the technique was created in the ‘60s and the book published over seven years ago, there are a few outdated concepts that do not negatively impact the messaging. These include: gender and gender role assumptions, questionable trauma treatment, and a possibly generic assessment of mental health.

If you’re working on communicating more compassionately and effectively, Nonviolent Communication may be a life-changing practice to include in your life. This book covers so much more, like how to express anger, self-compassion NVC techniques, and how to give and receive appreciation.

This article has been read 263 times. Share it and spread the love!

Comments

wonderful comments!

Teresa Adele

Teresa is a 200hr RYT, writer, and a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. As a teacher and coach, she focuses on self-love, body positivity, and embracing challenges. She loves writing about the science behind holistic healing modalities, creative sequencing, and making whole-body wellness more accessible for everybody.

shop background image
Explore our premium on-demand classes
with world-class instructors.

Psst. Every class you take helps plant a food-producing tree.

See the classes
Mind, body & life wellness in your inbox.

JOIN US ON THE GRAM LET’S HANG @YOU.ALIGNED

Send this to a friend
Follow us on Close

Already have an account? Login


Create an Account

New to site? Create an Account



- OR -

Login

Lost password?