Aren't we lucky: we have a very rich vocabulary for telling others what's wrong with them when we don't like how things are going - words like: right/wrong, good/bad, normal/abnormal, appropriate/inappropriate, should/shouldn't, selfish, rude, etc.
Are we lucky or have we just acquired some debilitating habits?
When we resort to using language in this way - with ourselves (self-talk) or with others - we are applying moralistic judgment. Instead of moralistic judgments, NVC promotes the use of value judgments. This means we turn our attention inwards and investigate what needs of ours and others are not met by what we're experiencing.
So instead of saying something like, "You're inconsiderate," I might say, "When you don't inform me that you will be late for your shift, I feel both frustrated and worried ... frustrated because I need to be able to rely on staff and worried because I want to know that you're ok." This approach paves the way for a different kind of dialogue, one that opens doors instead of closing them.
When we apply the NVC process, we commit to taking responsibility for our feelings and needs and to similtaneously not assign blame to others for how we feel. This puts us squarely in the driver's seat which is very empowering.
Nonviolent Communication terminology includes:
Moralistic judgment: Any judgment we make that is based on right/wrong thinking. Speaking this way generates defensiveness which makes connection next to impossible.
Value judgment: When we evaluate behaviour based on whether or not it serves life. Does it meet needs or not meet needs?
Needs: In NVC, needs are both positive and universal. Everyone has the same needs. Examples of needs would be: Respect, Love, Security, Autonomy, Purpose, Meaning ...
Feelings: In NVC, feelings are expressed without mixing them up with thoughts or judgments. Examples of feelings would be: Fearful, Alone, Discouraged, Anxious, Enthusiastic, Optimistic. Mixing thoughts and judments, one might say they are feeling manipulated or disrespected. These are not feelings however but rather interpretations of what others are doing. Rather than helping to resolve a conflict they will in fact exacerbate it.
Honesty: In NVC, honesty is sharing our vulnerability with others as opposed to out opinions and positions about something. Sharing our honesty in the spirit of connection and openness is far more likely to lead to genuine cooperation than telling people how we think things should be.
Empathy: One of the most valuable things we can do for ourselves and others is to learn how to deeply listen ... to be fully present without wanting to fix, control, advise, educate. It seems so simple and yet it remains one of the most challenging things for people. NVC helps people develop this most important and essential life skill.
Reminder of how prevalent and unconscious our violence-based culture and communication is, and how little training we all have in honestly looking at how we want our lives and how to get there.…(more)