This should be required reading for anyone who has to interact with people.
The concept of Nonviolent Communication is a powerful one. It’s all about being conscious and mindful of the impact of our words and messages. The key is to listen with curiosity—to listen in order to understand. To truly ensure that the other person feels heard and understood. When we listen with the intent to understand, we are listening with empathy and compassion.
When we listen with empathy, we can help meet each other’s needs. Marshall Rosenberg posits that most conflicts arise from miscommunication and misunderstanding that creates fear, guilt and shame.
This was a book assigned for my parenting course, but it’s completely changed the way I want to communicate with anyone, including my husband, my parents, and my friends.
The whole book was fantastic and all of it was helpful. It can be a difficult read for those who have had to deal with Narcissists or abusers who manipulate language, though, so just be prepared for triggers if you are not quite as healed from trauma as you would like to be.
What I found the most useful was the suggested approach to conversations, in which we each state our:
Observations: Focus on facts and not generalizing it (pulling from the past or projecting into the future). It means to keep the conversation focused on the context and specific time.
Feelings: Focus on feelings free of thought or story. Be curious about those feelings and what they are telling us, specifically what unmet need is showing up.
Needs: All humans have needs. Understanding what needs we have, which are met, and which are unmet, can help us be more clear with ourselves and those we interact with.
Requests: Communications that are authentic and clearly transparent about our needs allow everyone to respond with what they can or cannot do. Requests that are free of demands come without the trigger to try to force the other person to comply.
There is no limit to how beneficial this book can be to anyone’s life. The concept of Nonviolent Communication starts with parents speaking with children, then people speaking with each other, and finally, groups to groups. If the whole world can shift towards the Nonviolent Communication approach in general, we would live in a more peaceful world, individually and globally.