Communication for Life
“The objective of NVC is not to change people and their behavior in order to get our way: it is to establish relationships based on honesty and empathy, which will eventually fulfill everyone’s needs.”
~Marshall B Rosenberg
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is both a mindset or consciousness that helps us see our common humanity, and a practical set of skills to help connect with ourselves and communicate more effectively with others in a way that values everyone’s needs.
NVC supports us to stay engaged in Life – open, curious. Living its principles inspires compassion, trust, respect, courage, acceptance, connection and strength.
NVC is a process that strengthens our capacity for compassion for ourselves and others. It reveals how blame, judgment and domination are learned behaviours reinforced by our language and thinking. It helps us to recognise and take responsibility for our own reactivity, and understand ours and others’ reactivity in terms of what matters to us.
It is a proven, reliable way to express ourselves confidently and clearly, be heard, hear others and work through conflict in a way that respects everyone and values everyone’s needs equally.
Why is it called Nonviolent Communication?
Popularised by Gandhi, the ancient term ‘ahimsa’ (translated as ‘nonviolence/compassion/harmlessness’) refers to the natural state of benevolence of humans that arises when we realise that we are not separate from the life around us.
Basic premises of NVC:
- We are compassionate by nature, and naturally enjoy contributing to the welfare of others when we can do so willingly, without any sense of guilt, shame or obligation.
- We all share the same basic universal needs.
- Everything we do is a strategy to meet one or more of our needs.
- Our thoughts and language play a large role in connecting or disconnecting us from our compassionate nature. They determine how we interpret our experiences.
What NVC is NOT:
- a sophisticated way to manipulate people to get our own way; it’s about taking responsibility for changing ourselves so that we inspire the quality of connection we want
- about being nice; it’s about being real
- a ‘soft’ option; it requires courage, authenticity, commitment and self-honesty
- a technique or formula; it’s an underlying consciousness that informs our worldview. If there is not an intention to connect, the words will be hollow, no matter how ‘textbook perfect’ they are.
- about either indulging or neglecting our own needs; it’s about valuing everyone’s needs equally
NVC is offered in over 65 countries worldwide in many different contexts: intimate relationships, parenting, adolescents, health care, social services, business organisations, police, prison staff and inmates, governments, schools and social change organizations.
In Aotearoa NZ there are about a dozen trainers throughout the country. A Charitable Trust, NVC Aotearoa NZ, was established in 2009 to support trainers and encourage the spreading of NVC.