Non-violent communication

Having spend an amount of time on social media, I came across this a lot: the use of violent en disrespectful words.

People reacting agressive/defensive when asked a question, calling people by a number instead of a name, putting a psychiatric label on someone  without being trained to do so, not being able to look beyond their own bubble; their own beliefsystem. I experience this as a dehumanising tendency and it really shocked me to the core. Since when is this ok and where is the human measure?

Understandable, people can be scared, unsure or not being drawn to a certain way of thinking and that is ok. To voice it, is ok, as long as their freedom of speech is not used to incite (physical) violence. However, certain word usage can also be particularly violent and therefore harmful. Not just for the one against whom it is directed, but also for the person who speaks/writes them. The proverb that: ‘You do not want to happen to you, do not do that to another’, is in effect here. I think it is a human need to be seen, heard, being treated with respect, right? What can you do to turn this tendency around? It made me think of nonviolent communication.

Nonviolent communication

Nonviolent communication is developed by Marshall Rosenberg. He was born in 1934 in Ohio, USA and he worked as a psychotherapist. He found there is a correlation betwee language and violence (verbally, physically and psychologically). He found that much violence is based on a way of thinking that seeks the cause of conflict in the other. As a result, people are no longer able to see their own role and own share.

The non-violent communication model consists of the following steps:

  • The intention: the desire to have real contact/connection with the other.
  • Observation:  the objective observation of an event, free from interpretations/judgements.
  • Feelings/emotions: signalling (un)pleasant feelings that are evoked by the events.
  • Needs: detecting the need that underlies your feelings. If you allow a feeling, you can try to get in touch with the underlying need. The feeling indicates whether the need is fulfilled.
  • Request: and last but not least, formulate a concrete and feasible proposal, so that your needs can be fulfilled.

Enough to practise with, I would say! If you feel like it, let me know how you are doing with those wonderful pointers!

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