October Book of The Month: Nonviolent Communication

October Book of The Month: Nonviolent Communication

Book of The Month: Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg

“It drives me crazy that you never help with the kids when you get home from work.”

“Why do you have to be on your phone all the time?”

“It never feels like you’re listening when I talk to you.”

Do any of these comments sound familiar? Do you notice a connection between them? All of them tend to provoke defensiveness in the person being spoken to. All of them neglect to communicate the speaker’s actual, underlying need. In his book, Nonviolent Communication, American psychologist, mediator and author, Marshall B. Rosenberg, helps readers learn how to communicate from a place of clarity, vulnerability, and care. He outlines a four-part process that can help people express themselves more gently, and create connection, rather than defensiveness or further arguing.

The Four Components of Nonviolent Communication:

  1. Observations
    • What I observe, (see, hear, remember, imagine) that does or does not contribute to my well-being.
      • When I see…
  2. Feelings
    • How I feel (emotion or sensation, rather than thought) in relation to what I observe.
      • I feel…
  3. Needs
    • What I need or value that causes my feelings.
      • because I need/value…
  4. Requests
    • The concrete actions I would like taken.
      • Would you be willing to…?

Using nonviolent communication, we might shift the above comments to:

When I see you playing video games after work, I feel annoyed because I’m exhausted at the end of the day, too, and I need your help with the kids. Would you be willing to spend a few minutes every day after work helping out?

When I see you playing on your phone, I feel sad because I value spending time with you. Would you be willing to turn your phone off for a couple of hours at night so we have time to connect?

When I sense you’re not being fully present with me, I feel discouraged and lonely. Sometimes I need someone to vent to. Would you be willing to focus your attention on me right now?

Rosenberg’s book includes all kinds of helpful anecdotes, role-plays and exercises for improving the quality of your relationships, deepening your sense of personal empowerment, and communicating more effectively.

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