Nonviolent communication? What would the violent one look like? Most of us have experienced it and it manifests in an aggressive choice of talk, the inability to listen or empathise, or to fail to find a common ground.
Compassionate or collaborative communication is scientifically proven and was invented by Marshall Rosenberg in 1960, based on the theory that all human beings have capacity for compassion and empathy. It it consists of the following 4 steps:
- Observation. Similarly to active listening, observing the other talk on a neutral ground is very different from evaluations, labels, analysis, judgments, Interpretations or assumptions.
- Emotion. Is is absolutely normal to feel a certain way about something. But it is key to stay with describing our feeling/sensation and not go as far as victimising ourselves and assuming that someone has certain malicious intentions or is our enemy or wants the worst for us.
- Need. We all have needs and values and it is healthy to express these. That said, no one else is responsible for satisfying our needs. Blaming others for our needs not being met can lead to ‘should thinking’ which is ineffective and toxic.
- Request. Once we have talked about our feelings and needs, it is okay to make a request. Requests are different to complaints or demands. And asking is much scarier. Why? Because once we ask for something, we then need to deal with the vulnerability of not getting it. Can we cope with not getting it? Or would that make us feel insignificant, worthless or that they don’t care enough for us?
I notice a lot of couples who struggle with giving and receiving. Who are so used to not ASKING, and asking kindly seems the most difficult thing for them. On the other hand, RECEIVING from their partner puts them in such a vulnerable place that they eventually stop asking. Because they don’t trust that their vulnerability can be kept safe with their partner for long enough without them getting hurt.
In our everyday conversations, it is therefore key to:
Have the ability to create a shared reality.
Have the ability to describe someone’s experience of that reality.
Have the ability to turn a complaint into a request.
Have the ability to receive selflessly once we are given.
Do you feel like you are unable to talk with your partner without attacking them and do you genuinely believe that they want the worst for you?
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