What would it be like if you could work with powerful emotions, in yourself and others, find the wonderful sentiment behind all of it, and use that base to create a connection and meaning?

Non-violent Communication (NVC) is a language that helps us to connect with ourselves and others to understand one another, and to explore ways we can willingly and naturally contribute to one another's well-being.  Also often called Compassionate Communication.

In essence, powerfully working with needs and feelings to create connection and shared understandings... Emotional intelligence

Some links to organizations and centers:

"People try nonviolence for a week, and when it does not work, they go back to violence, which hasn't worked for centuries."  Theodore Roszak

For a PDF of all the material below, and much more, download here

 

Compassionate Communication -- an introduction

Troubling perspectives

  • Depression, guilt, blame, labeling, obeying, should, demands, comparing, judgment (whose fault?), and shame = alarm clock not meeting needs
  • Any words we use that imply the wrongness of others are tragic and suicidal.  Tragic because it doesn’t lead to people enjoying contributing to our wellbeing, and suicidal because we get defensiveness and counter-aggression.  Diagnoses and judgments are tragic and suicidal.  
  • Anger requires a moralistic judgment to keep it going, a “should.”  There is no connection there.
  • What people do is not the cause of our feelings.  We are responsible for our own feelings.
  • Changes in attitude rarely result from displayed facts, lawyerly arguments, or other attempts to persuade. 
  • Time pressure, situational stress, pain, laziness, anger, fear, envy, pride, and greed are all stumbling blocks toward compassionate communication. 
  • Agreeing to disagree.  This perspective inherently includes disconnection. 
  • False hope of NVC newbies:  “Now I’m going to get my needs met!”

Helpful perspectives

  • Seek to understand before being understood. 
  • Connection is of primary importance.  You can’t be making a connection and a point at the same time. 
  • We are responsible for advocating for our needs. It isn’t anyone else’s job but our own. Clean communication.
  • Every choice we make is in service of a need.  All behavior is communication
  • Nothing feels better than contributing to another person’s well being.  In the past 48 hours, what have been your brightest moments?  Reflect on a moment when you were really open to giving and receiving.
  • When we don’t “hear” people’s pain, it keeps coming out in ways that make empathy even harder.
  • Right Speech.  It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will.
  • Power = the capacity to mobilize resources to meet our needs.  Power With = I strive to identify, connect with, and meet my needs as well as others’ needs.  Power Over = I strive to meet my needs whether or not it meets others’ needs. 

Universe of Model Application

  • There are only three ways to apply the model of Non-violent Communication. 
  • That’s it.  There is no other way.  These are your only options, ever. 

Model:  (more a consciousness than a technique)

Expression

Empathy

Observation

When I see / hear . . .

Observation

[When you see/hear . . .]

Feeling

I feel . . .

Feeling

Are you feeling . . .

Need

Because I need . . .

Need

Because you need . . .

Request

Would you be willing?

Request

[Would you like . . .?]

Observations: 

Description of what is seen or heard without added interpretations.  Supports seeking common ground.

    • Everyone needs to agree with the observation, like what a video camera would record. 
    • There are no evaluations; it’s what is without spin.  Data.  Pure info.  “Just the facts.”
    • For example, instead of "She's having a temper tantrum," you could say "She is lying on the floor crying and kicking."  Without adverbs. 

Examples:  “Remembering when . . .”  “When I think about . . .”  “When I see you do . . .” 
“When I hear you say . . .”  “I’m noticing . . .”

Feelings:   

Our emotions rather than our story or thoughts about what others are doing.

    • For example, instead of "I feel manipulated," which includes an interpretation of another's behavior, you could say "I feel worried."
    • Avoid the following phrasing: "I feel like . . . " and "I feel that . . ." – the next words will be thoughts or behaviors, not feelings.  Instead of saying “I feel like crying,” say “I feel sad and frustrated”
    • For folks allergic to the word “feel,” just say the feeling without the word feeling.  “I’m upset.”  “I’m delighted.”  “I’m hurt.”  If they are really allergic, skip the feeling and go for the need instead.

Examples:  “I get really . . .”  “I am . . .”  “I’ve noticed that I’ve been feeling . . .” 
“Sounds like you’re feeling a bit . . .”  “I imagine you’re feeling kind of . . .”
“I wonder if you’re feeling . . .”  “Seems like you’re feeling sort of . . .”
 

Needs:   

Feelings are caused by needs, which are universal and ongoing and not dependent on the actions of particular individuals.

    • State your need rather than the other person's actions as the cause.   Needs don’t refer to a specific action, thing, or person. 
    • For example, "I feel annoyed because I need support" rather than "I feel annoyed because you didn't do the dishes."   

Examples:  “I love”  “I thrive on”  “I really enjoy”  “I would be nourished by”  “I value”  “I want” 
“. . . matters to me”  “. . . is fun for me”  “I feel as I do, because I am needing . . .”
“Were you hoping . . .”  “Would you have liked . . .”  “Sounds as if you really wanted . . .” 
“Perhaps you would have preferred . . .”  “And now you’d like . . .”    “It’s important to me to have . .”
“You really missed me?”  “You want to do your own thing?”  “You don’t want to do a chore?”
“You want the same for everyone?”  “You want to just chill by yourself?”

Requests: 

Doable, immediate, concrete, and stated in positive action language (what you want instead of what you don't want).

    • Demands are often disguised as questions; there is only one right answer. “Would you clean your room now?”  
    • A good example, "Would you be willing to come back tonight at the time we've agreed?" rather than "Would you make sure not to be late again?"
    • Requests are disconnected from demands.  A Request is a Strategy if there is no negative consequence to saying no.  A demand will piss you or the other person off in some manner if the answer is no. 
    • You’re asking for understanding, connection, or an action.  Striving to meet everyone’s needs.
    • By definition, when we make requests, we are open to hearing a "no," taking it as an opportunity for further dialogue.  You have to hear the YES and the NO. What are they saying "yes" to that is inviting them to say "No" to my request?  What are the needs behind their choices? 
    • A “No” is really a “Trans-Yes-Tite” 

Examples: 

  • “Tell me what comes up for you when I say this . . .”  “How do you feel about what I just said?
  • “I really appreciate your . . . (intention/behavior) . . . can you look at where I might be coming from?” 
  • “Would you like to hear how I feel about that?”  “What does that sound like to you?”
  • “Would you be willing to toss ideas around to find something that works for both of us?”
  • “What did you get out of what I just said?”  “Would you let me know what you heard me say?”
  • “Can you tell me how you feel right now?”  “What’s your reaction to this?”  “What’s up?”
  • “How does that sit with you?”  “Does that work for you?”  “Does that ring true?”
  • “Would you tell me what you need in order to agree to my request?”
  • “Would you tell me your understanding of my feelings and needs?”
  • “Would you tell me what needs of yours are preventing you from saying yes to my request?”

 

 

Questions for self reflection before communicating
These are solo, reflection questions – not a dialogue you enter with someone right away

  • What’s alive in me?  Clearly expressing how I am.  My “please.”  Receive, with empathy, how you are.
  • What’s alive in them?  What might their feelings and needs be, both met and unmet? 
  • What can I do to make life more wonderful?
  • What do I want them to do?
  • What do I want the person’s reasons to be for doing what I want them to do?
  • What do I need to know about their needs so they can freely give me what I want?
  • What gets in the way of my holding their needs dear?
  • Rate the intensity of my feelings – is this a 2 or 10?  Is this an 8 or 9 for me?
  • I have to hear the YES and the NO. What are they saying "yes" to that is inviting them to say "No" to my request?  What are the needs behind their choices?  They are choosing something positive and bright.
  • What needs of mine are preventing me from saying yes to their request?
  • Can I understand them the way they’d like to be understood?

 

 

Feelings

  • Feelings let us know how we are doing; how our “becoming” is going.  Reflects a met or unmet need.
  • Higher stakes often involve more intense feelings, which may increase the difficulty of practicing NVC.
  • The lists of feelings and needs are not intended to be exhaustive, but rather illustrative.

Faux, or Foe, Feelings

What are they

Examples

  • interpretations masquerading as feelings
  • something someone else has done to us
  • judgment about the other
  • inflame instead of inform
  • give away your power and responsibility
  • born from fear and sadness – need to get to needs below those

Abandoned

Abused

Attacked

Betrayed

Bullied

Cheated

Disrespected

Ignored

Intimidated

Invisible

Judged

Let down

Manipulated

Neglected

Overreacting

Put upon

Rejected

Resentful

Rushed

Unappreciated

Wronged

Feelings

Joy and Contentment

Fear and Anxiety

Adventurous

Affectionate

Alive

Amazed

Amused

Astonished

Calm

Confident

Content

Curious 

Delighted 

Determined 

Eager 

Ecstatic

Encouraged

Loving 

Moved 

Overjoyed 

Peaceful

Excited 

Fascinated 

Friendly  Giddy

Glad

Grateful

Happy

Hopeful

Inspired

Intrigued

Invigorated

Joyful

Pleased 

Proud 

Refreshed 

Relaxed 

Relieved 

Satisfied

Stimulated

Surprised

Thankful

Thrilled

Touched

Tranquil

Trusting

Upbeat

Afraid

Alarmed

Anxious

Apprehensive

Bewildered

Cautious

Concerned

Confused

Desperate

Distressed

Distant

Disturbed

Dread

Dubious

Embarrassed 

Impatient

Hesitant

Jittery

Nervous

Overwhelmed

Panicky

Perplexed

Puzzled

Reluctant

Restless

Scared

Sensitive

Shocked

Stressed

Terrified

Uncomfortable

Worried

 

Anger & Frustration

Aggravated

Agitated

Angry

Annoyed

Appalled

Bitter

Cranky

Disgusted

Enraged

Exasperated

Frustrated

Furious

Impatient

Indifferent

Indignant

Infuriated

Irate

Irritated

Perplexed

Pessimistic

Upset

 

Sadness and Grief

Bored

Depressed

Disappointed

Discouraged

Disheartened

Dismayed

Despairing

Exhausted

Helpless

Hopeless

Hurt

Lonely

Melancholic

Miserable

Sad / Sorrowful

Skeptical

Tired

Troubled

 

 

Needs

 Needs are the means/vocabulary of our becoming.  Needs are your yes.  They serve life.

 We are not responsible for meeting other people’s needs.  People need to be responsible for meeting their own needs, and for their own feelings.   We can still acknowledge the interdependence that exists though, and honor and negotiate the needs people often commit to meeting for one another.

 Needs vs. Strategies.  Strategies are how people go about trying to meet their needs.  When people communicate their strategy as a need, it is often heard as a demand.  What = need.  How = strategy. 

 NVC may not result in the resolution of a shared strategy to meet the needs of those involved.  There are irreconcilable conflicts of strategies, e.g., Israel and Palestine, past relationships, etc.  Feelings and needs can be perfectly understood, but the strategies to get those needs met does not match.

 The lists of feelings and needs are not intended to be exhaustive, but rather illustrative.

 Success Counselor need mapping: 

  • Fun                                                     Leisure, Creation
  • Love and Belonging                         Identity/Meaning, Understanding, Transcendence, Affection
  • Freedom                                           Freedom
  • Survival and Safety                          Subsistence, Protection/Security
  • Power and Worth                             Creation, Participation, Identity/Meaning, Understanding

Needs

Subsistence

Protection/Security

Participation

Freedom

Identity/Meaning

Clean Air & Water

Food

Rest

Shelter

Sustenance

 

Fairness

Honesty

Justice

Keeping Agreements

Nurturance

Openness

Order

Safety

Space

Trust

Accomplishment

Acceptance

Belonging

Capacity

Community

Competence

Connection

Dependability

Encouragement

Harmony

Interdependence 

Opportunities To Help Others

Power With

Recognition

Respect 

Support

To Enrich Life

To Serve Life

To Share Life’s Joys & Sorrows

Autonomy

Choices

Allowing

To Speak One’s Mind

Acknowledgement

Appreciation

Challenges

Clarity

Completion

Dignity

Integrity

Learning New Skills

Privacy

Resolution

Self-Development

Self-Mastery

Solitude

To Be Someone

To Make Sense Of One’s World

Understanding

Creation

Balance

Consideration

Empathy

Peace of mind

To be heard / known

 

Creativity

Expression

Inspiration

 

Leisure

Adventure

Celebration

Comfort & Ease

Play & Fun

Recreation

Spontaneity

Transcendence

Affection

Beauty To Behold

Goodness

Love

Peace

Rhythm

Companionship

Friends

Intimacy

Kindness

To Matter To
     Someone

Touch

Shifting World Views

Old World View

New World View

 

Old World View

New World View

Truth

Thoughts

 

Intent to correct

Intent to connect

Thoughts / Evaluations

Observations

 

Life-alienating

Life-serving

Evaluations

Feelings

 

Head

Heart

Strategies

Needs

 

Being (still)

Becoming (evolving)

Demands

Requests

 

Defy or comply

Choice

 

 

 

Extrinsic motives

Intrinsic motives

 

 

 

Power over others

Power with others

 

 

 

Moralistic judgments

Value judgments

What else is in the downloadable version?

  • Giraffe and Jackal as a metaphor
  • Preparing for self-expression
  • Needs literacy exercise
  • Graphic of pathway of emotions
  • Dance Floor
  • Reading Minds
  • Street Giraffe
  • Communication that cuts of connection
  • Gratitude and NVC
  • Enemy images
  • Needs and wants -- a differentiation
  • Clean communication and NVC relationship
  • Evaluations masquerading as feelings
  • Illusion of getting one’s own needs met all the time

Also, I particularly enjoyed this audio book by Marshall Rosenberg.