Non-Violent Communication or NVC is based on the principles of nonviolence–
–the natural state of compassion when no violence is present in the heart. Non-Violent Communication begins by assuming that we are all compassionate by nature and that violent strategies—whether verbal or physical—are learned behaviors taught and supported by the prevailing culture.
Cultural behaviors such as Gossip, Judging, Negativity, Complaining, Excuses, Lying, and Dogmatism, aka Being Right. (1)
NVC also assumes that we all share the same, basic human needs, and that all actions are a strategy to meet one or more of these needs. People who practice NVC have found greater authenticity in their communication, Increased understanding, deepening connection and conflict resolution.
“The Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) is a global nonprofit organization founded by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. We are dedicated to sharing Nonviolent Communication (NVC) around the world, and, to that end, we offer International Intensive Trainings and we certify individuals as trainers.”
Observations vs Evaluations
An OBSERVATION is something you see or hear, described without judgment.
And EVALUATION is your opinion about something you see or hear. If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all, OR just observe reality. Your hair is brown, the snow is white, you called me a jerk.
Any judgment is your evaluation…good, bad, too much, not enough…we all have preferences, but to communicate non-violently, you need to describe what you saw without evaluation, and then move on to step 2!
Share your Feelings
Nobody can make you feel anything without your permission. Don’t blame, but be honest. When your needs are not being met, you might feel…
pain or tension, sadness, disappointed, worry, regret, resentment, hurt, lonely, vulnerable, tired, weary, embarrassed, helpless, confused, afraid, paralyzed, uncomfortable, envious, upset, overwhelmed, frustrated, annoyed, angry, mad, or hostile.
Describe how you are feeling about what you observed. Feelings are distinct from Perceptions, “Victim Verbs.” Express pure emotions and/or body sensations rather than what you think/perceive someone is doing to you. Victim verbs are thoughts disguised as feelings that often contain blame, such as: (I feel) insulted, attacked, blamed, unappreciated, disrespected, ignored, or misunderstood.
Share your Needs and Desires
Do you need trust, love, compassion, care, connection, contribution, significance, acceptance, appreciation, intimacy, kindness, honesty, adventure, fun, empowerment, free will, space, comfort, ease, peace, rest, or growth?
Describe your needs and how it would benefit the person you are communicating with. Needs/Values are distinct from Strategies, Blame, “Should Thinking.” Needs/Values are considered to be our universal life energy, that which motivates and sustains us. They are intangible, without reference to specific people, actions, or things.
Make a Direct Request.
Would you be willing to… Requests are distinct from Demands that use fear, guilt, shame, manipulation, or reward. Requests are made in the present, and are doable, concrete, specific, and affirmative actions (a “do want,” rather than a “don’t want”).
Two types of requests:
• Connection requests for reflection of what you just expressed, to see if what you said came across to your listener. For example: “Would you tell me what you’re hearing me say?” And, “How do you feel about what I’ve just said?”
• Action/Solution requests for strategies to meet needs: “Would you bring the groceries in from the car? I could use some help.”
When making a request, it is important to be willing to hear a “no”. Ask yourself before you make a request if you are attached to a particular outcome or action, because if you are, your request will likely be a demand or expectation in disguise. (Health and Safety issues are the exception.)
I’ve broken the principles into the Five Elements Energy Needs…
Observe the apparent desire or need, and teach the person how to get what they need without harm. To criticism… “It sounds like you are trying to offer advice. Would you be willing to tell me what you have tried and how it improved your results?” To hurt or upset… “It sounds like you want to let me know that you are upset with me. Would you be willing to tell me exactly what I did or said, and how you feel about it?” Read more…
Offer empathy and responsibility. “I’m really sorry to hear that…what are you going to do to resolve that?” Read more…
Share Value. Success. Encouragement. Appreciation. Kindness. Read more…
Ask clarifying question to understand a perspective. Ask for agreements and ask for help. Read more…
Put yourself at the top of your list and care for your needs without apology. Read more…