Non-violent communication or NVC is a tool used for positive social change. It gives users the tools to understand what triggers them so that they can begin to take responsibility for their reactions. It also helps to deepen the connection with yourself and others, thereby transforming habitual responses to life. It is a radical change in how one thinks about life and meaning.
This type of communication is based on needs without interpreting or conveying criticism, blame, or demands and allows for deeper creativity to flourish. In doing so, solutions arise and both conflicts and misunderstandings can be resolved with greater ease. There are four components. They are observations, feelings, needs, and requests.
NVC allows users to express and hear themselves and others in ways more likely to foster understanding. It allows users to support everyone involved and allows them to nurture the joy in giving and in receiving. The practice of non-violent communication also includes self-empathy so that one’s own needs are met and both actions and responses are made based on self-connection and self-acceptance.
Developed by Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg, NVC works by having those involved state concrete observable actions observe in oneself or the other person. This is followed by communicating the feeling that the observation is triggering. As well as both guessing what the other person is feeling, and asking them to tell you. NVC continues with an account of the need that is the cause of that feeling. However, if that is not possible, one can guess the need that caused the feeling in the other person and ask. Finally, a concrete request for action to meet the need just identified is completed.
To begin with, the observation that is made must be free from judgment so that there are no right or wrong feelings mixed in. For example, instead of saying, “You’re disgusting,” you should say, “When I see your shoes in the middle of the hallway, it bothers me because someone could trip over them.” This tells the other person what you see, and why it troubles you.
Continue by asking, “Would you be willing to or is it possible for you to put your shoes off to the side or in your room?” You can also ask, “Is there somewhere else you can put your shoes?” as this gets them involved in the decision making process in how to fix the problem of your needs not to trip and his or her needs to be able to take their shoes off when they enter the house and be able to find them when needed.
Non-violent communication takes time to learn. However, patience, it can become an important part of any school anti-bullying program. In addition to the above, participants also must learn to overcome denial of responsibility and learn how not to communicate desires and demands. In addition, one must be able to overcome feelings of being motivated out of guilt, as well as learn that needs are the basis for all communication.