Words are a double-edged sword. They can build deep relationships, but they also have the power to destroy them and produce pain. Learning how to speak from the heart and pay attention to your communication is paramount to a healthy relationship. That is why empathic and non-violent communication is so important.
Marshall Rosenberg, an American psychologist, developed this form of communication in the early sixties. He did so while studying the factors that affect our ability to be human.
His intention was to answer two questions that had bothered him since his childhood. The first was: what is it that disconnects us from our caring nature and helps us behave in a violent or rude way?
And the other was: how can it be that some people have a persistently caring attitude, even in the most critical situations.
The result was a development of non-violent communication. Let’s look at what this is all about.
“What I want in my life is compassion; a flow between myself and others based on mutual giving from the heart. ”
Empathic or non-violent communication
Many relationships get worse because the parties do not know how to communicate. Likewise, poor communication creates a significant conflict. We think talking together is like communicating, and we forget the other fundamental part: listening.
One solution to this problem is Rosenberg’s type of nonviolent or empathic communication. The essence of this form of communication is the idea of giving from the heart.
With this form of communication, we are able to find connection to ourselves so that we can connect with others. As a result, natural humanity flourishes.
Abilities related to verbal and non-verbal language form the foundation of this form of communication. These abilities allow us to continue to be human, even in extreme conditions.
In other words, this focus makes it easier to control impulses. No matter what the circumstances are or how easy it could be to let them take over. If we use these abilities, we can maintain sincere and honest communication that comes from the heart.
Empathy or non-violent communication helps us change the way we express ourselves and listen to other people.
As you probably know, this is nothing new. We have known all the components that make up this form of communication for decades. The key is to bring them forth, be aware of them, and apply them in our lives on a daily basis.
The components of empathic communication
Nonviolent communication can be incredibly transformative. Communication in a non-violent way means that one thinks beyond one’s own needs and listens to the other. This means setting aside habitual and automatic reactions. But how does one do that?
If we are to learn to give from the heart, according to Rosenberg, we must focus our consciousness on illuminating four different areas (the four non-violent components of communication)
- Observation. Observing what is happening in a given situation is the first component. Does it, as others say, enrich your life? The key is to know how to properly express whether or not you like what other people do. You will have to do it in a way that is not judgmental. For as J. Krishnamurti said, observing without judging is the greatest form of human intelligence.
- Feeling. The second component is to test how you are feeling. Do you feel hurt, happy or annoyed? The point is to identify the feelings and state of mind you are in at the moment.
- Need. The third component is to see which of your needs are associated with the emotions you have identified.
- Request. The last component of non-violent communication is to focus on what we want the other person to do to enrich their lives, as well as our own. If you want this to happen, you will have to make a special request.
Non-violent communication also means listening
But empathic or non-violent communication does not only concern our own ability to express ourselves honestly. It also means that we are able to empathetically receive communication from others.
So when we focus our attention on these four aspects of the process and help others do the same, true communication will emerge. It is a two-way street where both perspectives come into play.
On the one hand, I feel I am identifying what I need to enrich my life. On the other hand, what does the other person observe, feel and need to enrich their life as well?
The power of human speech
Non-violent communication is a human language. It is connection to inner connection and an honest and authentic connection.
Besides a form of communication, it is an option. This setting allows us to take responsibility for our inner process.
“The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines our quality of life.”
Before you get carried away by impulses and say things that you later regret, stop and listen to yourself. That way, you can gain understanding for yourself and try to gain understanding for others.
Shouting and being disrespectful does not help. Silence and tranquility can be useful tools towards your goal of brightening the dark moments.
Do not forget that the way you communicate affects your daily life. If non-violent communication prevails in your life, it is more likely that it will prevail in the lives of others as well.