Nonviolent Communication begins by assuming that we are all compassionate by nature, that we all share the same basic human needs, and that all we do in life, every minute, every day, we do in order to satisfy these needs.
Nonviolent Communication consists of two parts: to listen honestly and to express ourselves honestly. Both parts include the use of the four elements of nonviolent communication: observation, feelings, needs, and requests. Its practice reduces the use of blame, judgment, or domination, and enhances our ability to experience the deep pleasure of contributing to each others’ well-being. By communicating with greater authenticity, increased understanding, deeper connections, and a higher rate of conflict resolution are achieved.
Mindfulness practice is a great ally of Nonviolent Communication: they complement each other. Mindfulness enhances our capacity to dispassionately observe our thoughts and emotions. We take time to be present, listen deeply, and see whatever is unfolding with greater clarity. We refrain from adding commentaries, creating imaginary stories, and hastily judging and condemning. We don’t rush to conclusions so quickly, and we don’t react so impulsively. We practice to see clearly and to separate facts from our interpretation of the facts. We take our time to understand our feelings and needs, and to understand other people’s feelings and needs as well. This deep investigation helps us clarify what values we want to live by, and what we want to ask of ourselves and others.
Mindfulness cultivates wise assessment and wise discernment, which in turn leads to wise speech and wise action.
Nonviolent Communication can be seen as both a spiritual practice that helps us see our common humanity and a concrete set of skills that helps us create better relationships. The emphasis on deep listening helps us discover the depth of our own compassion and creates a path for healing and reconciliation. It reminds us how good it feels to authentically connect to another human being.
The work of teaching this technique is being carried out, among other organizations, by the Center for Nonviolent Communication.
“When your internal dialogue is centered in a language of life, you will be able to focus your attention on the actions you could take to manifest a situation that meets your needs along with those of others.”
~ Marshall B. Rosenberg
Excerpt from A Better Life in a Better World: "Can Mindfulness Save Us from Ourselves?" by Piero Falci