Veteran Peacemaker, Marshall Rosenburg teaches his readers the 4 steps to creating harmony and better accord in their lives through their words. Readers will learn how to use empathy to speak their truth, while acknowledging the emotional needs in others, how to dissolve volatile situations and how to disarm powerful emotions like fear, anxiety or anger in their tracks. Families, businesses, students, teachers all ove the world ave benefitted from this approach, now ordinary people can also learn how to create more peace in their lives.
My key Takeaways from “Nonviolent Communication: Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with Your Values" by Marshall Rosenberg PhD
Takeaway #1 Communicating Compassionately & Clearly
When you see that someone has done something that they know you dislike, whether it's your husband leaving dirty socks around the house or your kids not putting their toys away, rather than losing your temper and yelling at them, stop and observe the situation. Are you mad because you have to repeat yourself and don't feel heard or another reason? When the red mist has cleared, tell the person clearly and compassionately what you would like them to do and why; identify your needs without resorting to the blame game. You could say “When I see your dirty socks laying around I feel frustrated, I need to live in a clean and orderly home. Would you be willing to put your socks in the laundry basket without me needing to remind you?”
You can continue to communicate effectively by clearly articulating your feelings and being clear with your words. Don't be vague – Saying “I feel a bit down” or “Everyone is ignoring me” fails to convey your exact emotional state or the exact situation at hand.
Takeaway #2 Keep Your Observations Away From Your Evaluations
It's difficult to separate the two but you should avoid using the words “you never” or “you always” and instead refer to a particular moment. For example, “John is always late to work” is an evaluation where as “John does not arrive before 8.30am” is more exact. By being specific you reduce the likelihood of a misunderstanding and lessen criticism which makes the recipient defensive.
You should also avoid labeling people as this makes you think that you already know what the person is thinking. For example, if you label someone as a liberal, when you're having a discussion with them you will presume you already know their answer.
Takeaway #3 Learning To Listen
Listen emphatically, try to feel what the other person is feeling by asking questions instead of offering advice or reassurance and remember that what people say they need is not always the same as what they truly need.
When someone comes up to you with a criticism, repeat it back to them which allows them to agree and expand I.e “You're so lazy” - “I'm lazy?” - “Yes, you're so lazy, you didn't put the garbage out or walk the dog”. In this way you get to the bottom of the problem, can explain your reason for not doing it – or apologize – and there's no misunderstanding, providing you've kept your temper. Most often the problem won't actually be with you but will be because the other person didn't do or remember something so you can communicate calmly to put actions into place so it doesn't happen again or so that you agree on a turn-taking system.
Nonviolent Communication Chapters
Chapter One - Giving from the Heart
Chapter Two - Communication that Blocks Compassion
Chapter Three - Observing without Evaluating
Chapter Four - Identifying and Expressing Feelings
Chapter Five - Taking Responsibility for Our Feelings
Chapter Six - Requesting That Which Would Enrich Life
Chapter Seven - Receiving Empathically
Chapter Eight - The Power of Empathy
Chapter Nine - Connecting Compassionately with Ourselves
Chapter Ten - Expressing Anger Fully
Chapter Eleven - Conflict Resolution and Meditation
Chapter Twelve - The Protective Use of Force
Chapter Thirteen - Liberating Ourselves and Counseling Others
Chapter Fourteen - Expressing Appreciation in Nonviolent Communication
Best Quotes from Nonviolent Communication
“What I want in my life is compassion, a flow between myself and others based on a mutual giving from the heart.”
“All violence is the result of people tricking themselves into believing that their pain derives from other people and that consequently those people deserve to be punished.”
“Every criticism, judgment, diagnosis, and expression of anger is the tragic expression of an unmet need.”
“You can't make your kids do anything. All you can do is make them wish they had. And then, they will make you wish you hadn't made them wish they had.”
“At the core of all anger is a need that is not being fulfilled.”
“We only feel dehumanized when we get trapped in the derogatory images of other people or thoughts of wrongness about ourselves. As author and mythologist Joseph Campbell suggested, "'What will they think of me?' must be put aside for bliss." We begin to feel this bliss when messages previously experienced as critical or blaming begin to be seen for the gifts they are: opportunities to give to people who are in pain.”
“We are dangerous when we are not conscious of our responsibility for how we behave, think, and feel.”
“Peace requires something far more difficult than revenge or merely turning the other cheek; it requires empathizing with the fears and unmet needs that provide the impetus for people to attack each other. Being aware of these feelings and needs, people lose their desire to attack back because they can see the human ignorance leading to these attacks; instead, their goal becomes providing the empathic connection and education that will enable them to transcend their violence and engage in cooperative relationships.”
“My theory is that we get depressed because we’re not getting what we want, and we’re not getting what we want because we have never been taught to get what we want. Instead, we’ve been taught to be good little boys and girls and good mothers and fathers. If we’re going to be one of those good things, better get used to being depressed. Depression is the reward we get for being “good.” But, if you want to feel better, I’d like you to clarify what you would like people to do to make life more wonderful for you.”
“Analyses of others are actually expressions of our own needs and values”
“To practice the process of conflict resolution, we must completely abandon the goal of getting people to do what we want.”
“As we’ve seen, all criticism, attack, insults, and judgments vanish when we focus attention on hearing the feelings and needs behind a message. The more we practice in this way, the more we realize a simple truth: behind all those messages we’ve allowed ourselves to be intimidated by are just individuals with unmet needs appealing to us to contribute to their well-being. When we receive messages with this awareness, we never feel dehumanized by what others have to say to us. We only feel dehumanized when we get trapped in derogatory images of other people or thoughts of wrongness about ourselves. ”
― Marshall Rosenberg Ph.D. - Nonviolent Communication: Create Your Life, Your Relationships, and Your World in Harmony with Your Values
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Editor and Founder
Tal Gur is a location independent entrepreneur, author, and impact investor. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His most recent book and bestseller, The Art of Fully Living - 1 Man, 10 Years, 100 Life Goals Around the World, has set the stage for his new mission: elevating the next generation of leaders to their true potential.