The following was excerpted from Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Compassion by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D. and from the Center for Nonviolent Communication's website (http://www.cnvc.org).
What is Nonviolent Communication?
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a way of being and relating to one another based on the work of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. NVC is a process that strengthens our ability to inspire compassion from others and to respond compassionately to others and ourselves. NVC guides us to reframe how we express ourselves and how we hear others by focusing our consciousness on what we are observing, feeling, needing and requesting.
NVC is a language of empathy and honesty, and is sometimes described as the "language of heart." Because the giraffe has the largest heart of any land animal, it was chosen as a symbol of Nonviolent Communication. Practical and proven in daily life around the world, Nonviolent Communication is a reliable language for being heard, hearing others, clearly and confidently expressing our needs and dreams, and for working through conflict with compassion and success.
We are trained to make careful observations free of evaluation, and to specify behaviors and conditions that are affecting us. We learn to hear our own deeper needs and those of others, and to identify and clearly articulate what we are wanting in a given moment. When we focus on clarifying what is being observed, felt, and needed, rather than on diagnosing and judging, we discover the depth of our own compassion. Through its emphasis on deep listening*to ourselves as well as others*NVC fosters respect, attentiveness and empathy, and engenders a mutual desire to give from the heart. The form is simple, yet powerfully transformative.
While it is taught through the use of a concrete model, and is referred to as "a process of communication" or a "language of compassion," Nonviolent Communication is more than a process or a language. As our cultural conditioning often leads our attention in directions unlikely to get us what we want, NVC serves as an ongoing reminder to focus our attention on places that have the potential to yield what we are seeking*a flow between ourselves and others based on a mutual giving from the heart.
Founded on language and communication skills that enable us to remain human, even under trying conditions, Nonviolent Communication contains nothing new: all that has been integrated into NVC has been known for centuries. The intent is to remind us about what we already know*about how we humans were meant to relate to one another*and to assist us in living in a way that concretely manifests this knowledge.
The use of NVC does not require that the persons with whom we are communicating be literate in NVC or even motivated to relate to us compassionately. If we stay with the principles of NVC, with the sole intention to give and receive compassionately, and do everything we can to let others know this is our only motive, they will join us in the process and eventually we will be able to respond compassionately to one another. While this may not happen quickly, it is our experience that compassion inevitably blossoms when we stay true to the principles and process of Nonviolent Communication.
Nonviolent Communication Skills
As the name implies, this approach to communication emphasizes compassion as the motivation for action rather than fear, guilt, shame, blame, coercion, threat or justification for punishment. In other words, it is about getting what you want for reasons you will not regret later. These techniques allow you to make conscious choices about how you will respond whether you get what you want, or not. It is definitely NOT about guilt and tricking people into giving you what you want.
The skills are built on Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg's application of Nonviolent Communication. The process of NVC encourages us to focus on what we and others are observing, how and why we are each feeling as we do, and what each of us would like to have happen. These skills emphasize personal responsibility for our actions and the choices we make when we respond to others.
Nonviolent Communication skills will assist you in dealing with major blocks to communication such as demands, diagnoses and blaming. In CNVC trainings you will learn to express your feelings without attacking. This will help minimize the likelihood of facing defensive reactions in others. The skills will help you make clear requests. They will help you receive critical and hostile messages without taking them personally, giving in, or losing self-esteem. These skills will be useful with your family, friends, students, subordinates, supervisors, co-workers and clients. These skills will be useful with your own internal dialogues.
NVC is a clear and effective model for communicating in a way that is cooperative, conscious, and compassionate.