Nonviolent Communication - Marshall B. Rosenberg

Nonviolent Communication - Marshall B. Rosenberg

Happiness and fulfillment are also in the way we communicate. Learn how to get out of bitterness and learn to communicate with respect, empathy and without being violent!

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If you are a short-fused person and don’t know how to communicate in stressed or surprise moments, this summary of the book “Nonviolent Communication”, by author Marshall B. Rosenberg, is made for you!

If you get too stressed, know that you may be hurting people with your words and also through them hurting yourself.

It turns out that we must be prepared to deal with the most different types of situations and especially people. To promote respect, attention, and empathy, we must know how to communicate and treat others.

In addition, having language and communication skills is critical for us to always remember who we are, above all: humans.

About the book “Nonviolent Communication”

Nonviolent Communication: a language of life” was published in 2006 by author Marshall B. Rosenberg. The book consists of 360 pages divided into 13 chapters.

This international bestseller talks about aspects of our social interactions, communication, and tells exciting stories while passing on the author's knowledge.

Who was Marshall B. Rosenberg?

Marshall B. Rosenberg (1934-2015) was a psychologist, obtained a Ph.D. degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Wisconsin. Marshall founded the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC), educating various professionals, such as businessmen, guards, civil servants, and prisoners.

He is also the author of several books such as “The Language of Peace in a World of Conflict”, “Raising Children Compassionately”, among others. The author likes to work on topics such as nonviolence and empathy, thus promoting his culture of peace.

To whom is this book indicated?

Everyone who needs to improve their communication with others by taking violent thoughts away from them and achieving more peace and happiness.

Main ideas of the book “Nonviolent Communication”

  • Knowing your feelingsin unusual situations helps control them in the future;
  • Not expressing feelings and holding a grudge harms your health;
    Making misjudgments is a kind of misrepresentation;
  • Honesty and empathy help maintain more effective communication;
  • We must forgive others and especially ourselves;
  • For the author, each is responsible for their actions, thoughts, and feelings;
  • Empowering people in tense situations can avert the potential risk of violence;
  • The exaggeration of self-criticism prevents us from seeing the beauty we have within us.

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[Book Summary] Nonviolent Communication - Marshall B. Rosenberg

From the Bottom of Heart: how to use communication to build better relationships? 

According to Marshall B. Rosenberg, nonviolent communication (NVC) consists in:

Language and communication skills that strengthen our ability to remain human even in adverse conditions.

NVC helps us lessen offensive postures and violent reactions through compassion. In addition, it aims to promote respect, attention, empathy and generate the desire to surrender from the heart.

When using nonviolent communication, we must express ourselves clearly, taking into account our feelings, needs, and what we observe and ask.

It allows us to be in a state of natural compassion for ourselves and others. The approach becomes effective at various levels of communication and various types of relationships. Even NVC provides depth and affection in intimate relationships.

Communication that blocks compassion: how to avoid the negative aspects?

Marshall B. Rosenberg condemns guilt, insult, depreciation, labeling and other negative aspects that disparage and compare people to each other.

The author quotes Dan Greenberg, who says that:

The act of comparative thinking can have a chance on us of an unhappy life in the future.

Such evaluative thoughts can disrupt the pity or compassion attributed to yourself and others.

According to Rosenberg, using expressions that deny our personal responsibility, such as “I have to do this” or “You make me feel guilty” only distances us from the truth that we - and only ourselves - are responsible for our thoughts, feelings, and acts.

Demanding that we will be met anyway is also a threat that generates the blockade of compassion, argues the author. This is because some actions may result in rewards, but others in punishment.

Observe without rating: how to avoid misjudgments?

When we look at each other, we should not add or judge anyone from our experience, as the other lived something different. This act can affect both our lives and our well-being as well as his.

According to the author, evaluative observation makes it less likely that others will hear the message we wish to convey.

According to Indian philosopher J. Krishnamurti:

Observing without evaluating is the highest form of human intelligence.”

This may not be an easy task as we are led to “judge the book by its cover”.

However, letting go of this precept also takes us out of the bonds of society that deprive us of living quietly without judging anyone or being judged.

Why is it important to identify and express feelings?

According to the author, we live in a world where feelings are not always considered important. We look at each other too much and forget to look at our emotional state and it ends up costing us dearly.

Life would be simpler and more useful if we could express ourselves correctly and talk about what we are really feeling.

We should express ourselves in accordance with our feelings and thus seek the clearest way to convey them, making it clear whether our expectations are being met or not.

How to take responsibility for our feelings?

We can choose how to respond to what others say and do, according to Rosenberg:

What others say and do may be our stimulus, but never the cause of our feelings.

Dissatisfaction with some area in our life may be the reason for negative judgment and criticism of one another. These are all expressions that are associated with our needs.

Generally, when we hear criticism, we tend to invest our energy in self-defense and counterattack.

According to the author, finding that we are responsible for the feelings of others corresponds to emotional slavery. In this way, we tend to see the people closest to us as burdens.

How to expose our needs through Nonviolent Communication?

When our needs are not being met, it is best to find a way to talk/ask each other so that they understand what we need.

When making a request to someone, use positive and clear language about what you want, either to express some discomfort or not to mistakenly assume that the listener understood the request.

When we openly express ourselves to someone, there is often anxiety to know what the listener is feeling, thinking, or willing to do.

Marshall Rosenberg says nonviolent communication is not an appropriate tool for changing people and their behavior. However, it requires a change in one's behavior. NVC's goal is to establish a relationship based on empathy and sincerity.

How to receive a message with empathy?

According to Chinese philosopher Chuang-Tzu:

True empathy requires listening to the whole being: listening with the ears is one thing, listening with the intellect is another.”

Empathy only occurs when we get rid of all preconceived ideas and judgments about others. We should listen to other people's observations, feelings, and needs regardless of the words they use to express themselves.

We can then ask the other person for confirmation of what he said and give him time to reflect on what he said as an opportunity to dive into himself.

According to the author, we should be careful when sending a message, because in a hurry we can get the idea that we have no interest in your feelings and needs.

If we cannot empathize despite our best efforts, this is usually a sign that we are too lacking in empathy to be able to offer it to others.

After all, what is the Power of Empathy?

Carl Rogers says:

It's amazing how problems that seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens, when someone doesn't judge, tries to take responsibility for the person without trying to shape it.”

According to Marshall Rosenberg:

When we empathize with others, it becomes easier because we will then have touched their humanity and realized the qualities we share.

In Rosenberg’s view, offering empathy to people in tense situations can avert the potential risk of violence. On the other hand, our solidarity can be denied.

In this case, if we take it personally when we hear no, we may feel hurt and lose the chance to know what is really happening to the other person.

How do we compassionately connect with ourselves?

NVC influences every area of our lives, but most relevant is the way we treat ourselves. Being too self-critical, for example, prevents us from seeing the beauty we have within ourselves and losing our connection with the divine energy that is our origin.

Rosenberg says that people evaluate themselves, censor their bad deeds daily, and suffer in advance. These actions create a plot of hatred against ourselves. However, we must keep in mind that our mistakes only serve to teach us great lessons.

When we have empathy, we can forgive ourselves. We are able to recognize that our choice was an attempt to survive, even though the grieving process has shown us that it did not work very well.

Life's own situations sometimes try to blame us, and that can negatively affect us. Given this, you must not be upset and always seek to be taking care of yourself.

An important form of self-pity, according to Rosenberg:

Is to make choices motivated by our desire to contribute to life, not fear, guilt, shame, duty, or obligation.”

How to fully express anger?

“We should rid our minds of thoughts that we associate with other people when we feel angry because that kind of thinking causes us to express our anger superficially by blaming or punishing the other person.”

According to “Nonviolent Communication”, the first step in expressing anger is to understand that no one is responsible for your feeling of anger other than yourself.

Third-party actions may be stimulating to what you feel, but they are not the cause of you feeling good or bad. The cause, in turn, is linked to thoughts, ideas of guilt and judgments.

Rosenberg provides four steps for you to fully express your anger:

  1. Stop and breathe;
  2. Identify our thoughts that are judging people;
  3. Connect us to our needs;
  4. Express our unmet feelings and needs.

How to make the use of force to protect?

According to Marshall B. Rosenberg, the true intention of using this force is to eliminate certain judgments, privileges, and injustices that may exist in our daily lives and in society. It consists of protecting, not condemning, blaming or punishing.

In his work, he says we could hardly achieve what we want if we used force to change people's behavior. If you are having this kind of attitude, he recommends that you stop and ask yourself:

  • Question 1: “What do I want this person to do?”;
  • Question 2: “What reasons do I have for this person to do this?”;

How do we free ourselves and counsel others?

We have a lot of deep-rooted cultural learning that can either help or even hinder us, thus creating a block.

To get rid of it requires a lot of energy and awareness to turn destructive learning into positive thoughts and attitudes.

According to “Nonviolent Communication”, our internal dialogue is impregnated with judgments, which makes us alienated by what we need. As a result, depression develops, which prevents us from taking action to really meet our needs.

Using NVC helps us create a more peaceful state of mind, either to encourage and focus on what we want or to stop being overwhelmed.

Marshall states that through nonviolent communication, rather than interpreting people and professionals as indicating psychotherapy, one must first empathize with them and create relationships that are mutual and authentic.

How to express appreciation in nonviolent communication?

NVC presents the three most important components as we express appreciation:

  1. The actions that contributed to our well-being;
  2. The specific needs that have been met;
  3. The pleasant feelings generated by meeting these needs.

According to the author, NVC encourages us to receive appreciation with the same empathic quality as we express ourselves. Receive and express yourself empathetically, even though most compliments may not be goodwill.

Other books about self-knowledge

In “The Secret”, Rhonda Byrne argues that everything is energy. This energy vibrates as you think and feel. The tip is to let go of that part of your past that doesn't suit your present and your future. To be aware of the present is to become aware of the power of your thoughts and the state of your feelings.

Understanding your emotions is related to emotional intelligence. To this end, Ken Robinson, in “Out of Our Minds” states that emotional intelligence (EQ) is as important as IQ. this, because it involves the process of knowing oneself and others, besides being able to control feelings.

Engaging in business, in “A Whole New Mind” Daniel H. Pink shows that empathy is also related to the universe of persuasion and enables the creation of strategies and direct actions that promote good coexistence with team members.

Okay, so how can I communicate better?

  • Put yourself in the other's place, trying to understand your motives;
  • Observe and do not judge people;
  • Think with your heart, forgive those who offend you, and forgive yourself for not getting what you wanted;
  • Realize how you feel in stressful situationsand try to soften it;
  • Use empathy in all your relationships, whether speaking or listening to another person;
  • If you hear something negative, take a deep breath and yet treat people with empathy and cordiality, but don't hold grudges;
  • Speak your mind in a softer way;
  • Treat other people as you would like to be treated;
  • Always be honest with yourself and others;
  • Do activities that will only please you and you have chosen to do them.

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