What is Nonviolent Communication

Way back in the 1960s a man named Marshall Rosenberg developed a communication process which became known as nonviolent communication or NVC for short. The communication process was also known as collaborative communication or compassionate communication. NVC focus on three key aspects when communicating. These three aspects are empathy (being able to understand with our heart what we see in another person), self-empathy (a deep and compassionate awareness of our own inner being), and honest self-expression (being able to express yourself in an authentic way to inspire compassion among others).

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The concept of nonviolent communications is based on the idea that each and every human being has the ability to show compassion and that we tend to resort to violent means or bad behavior whenever we fail to see and discover strategies that are more effective for reaching our goal. Rosenberg believed that our habits of speaking and thinking that inclined us to violence whether physical or psychological is a result of our own culture.

The theory in which NVC is based on is an idea that the behavior of every human being is a result of the desire to meet our so called “universal human needs” and that since everyone has such needs, they are never in conflict. The conflict is present when our strategies to try to reach these needs start to clash. NVC believed that if we as humans understand ourselves and each other and recognize our needs and the needs of other human beings, we can be able to work together and our emotions and behavior will achieve harmony.

The main purpose of nonviolent communication was to improve communication by inspiring compassion among the community, but there are also other people that have used NVC as a form of spiritual practice, principles and values, an approach to parenting, a method of educating, and even a perspective of the world.

The concept of NVC has been used on a number of different settings, namely in business, organizations, household, classroom, healthcare, mediation, prison rehabilitation, etc. There are even children’s books based on nonviolent communication which is really a step forward to teaching our children how to properly communicate and not resort to any means of conflict.

Rosenberg himself says that he has brought the concept of NVC in peace programs in areas that have seen a lot of conflict. He has taught the concept of nonviolent communication in areas of Rwanda, Nigeria, Indonesia, Burundi, Malaysia, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Serbia, Croatia, the Middle East, and other conflicted territories facing occupation.

In the early 1960s, Rosenberg was a civil rights activists and he has searching for a way to efficiently teach skills of peacemaking. It was during this search that he has developed the concept of nonviolent communication.

Today, nonviolent communication training is done by trainers that have been certified by the Center for Nonviolent Communication and a number of different organizations based on nonviolent communication have developed today. Through the efforts of these trainers and organizations, the world can be made a lot less violent.

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