Our attention is focused on classifying, analyzing, and determining levels of wrongness, rather than on what we and others need and are not getting.
Marshall B. Rosenberg
Communicating with the people in our lives can be surprisingly tricky, can’t it?
We think we’re being clear… but, somehow, the message gets lost in translation.
If this sounds frustratingly familiar, you might want to give nonviolent communication a try.
A simple yet powerful approach to getting our needs met, nonviolent communication focuses on self-responsibility for our own thoughts, feelings, needs, and actions. The goal is clear, compassionate communication, rather than the “blame game” we tend to default to.
It’s a radically new way of looking at how we interact with the people around us.
And with a little practice? It can become second nature to you!
We’re sharing the 4 components of nonviolent communication, and examples of how you can start practicing it today:
What they are: Neutral statements of what we’re noticing
What they aren’t: Assumptions, labels, judgments, or interpretations of what we’re noticing
- “I’ve noticed you haven’t paid back the money I lent you…”
- “This is the third time you’ve cancelled our plans this week…”
- “I’ve heard you ask me repeatedly to play this game with you tonight…”
What they are: The pure feelings/sensations we’re experiencing in our bodies
What they aren’t: Verbs that imply blame (e.g., (I feel) abandoned, attacked, offended, disrespected, misunderstood)
- “I feel irritated…”
- “I’m feeling frustration and sadness…”
- “I’m exhausted…”
What they are: The values that are important to us; the principles that guide and sustain us
What they aren’t: Blaming or “should” statements
- “I consider trust an important part of our friendship…”
- “I need to know we’re both committed to making shared time together a priority…”
- “I’d like to be well-rested so I can enjoy my time playing with you…”
What they are: Concrete, doable, specific requests/asks, made in the present, to help fulfill our needs
What they aren’t: Demands that use fear, guilt, reward, or other manipulation
- “Will you please pay me back this week?”
- “Can you help me understand what’s getting in the way of keeping our dates?”
- “Would you be willing to postpone the game until after I’ve had a nap?”
Putting it all together
As long as your nonviolent communication includes the 4 components above, you can rearrange them in whatever configuration suits you best.
“I feel irritated [feeling] because I’ve noticed you haven’t paid back the money I lent you [observation]. I consider trust an important part of our friendship [need], so will you please pay me back this week [request]?”
“I need to know we’re both committed to making shared time together a priority [need]. I’m feeling frustration and sadness [feeling] because this is the third time you’ve cancelled our plans this week [observation]. Can you help me understand what’s getting in the way of keeping our dates [request]?”
“Would you be willing to postpone the game until after I’ve had a nap [request]? I’ve heard you ask me repeatedly to play this game with you tonight [observation]. I’d like to be well-rested so I can enjoy my time playing with you [need], but I’m exhausted [feeling].“
Curious to learn more about practicing nonviolent communication in your life?