Nonviolence means allowing the positive within you to emerge.
Everything we do is in service of our needs. When this is applied to our view of others we’ll see that we have no real enemies, that what others do to us is the best possible thing they know to do to get their needs met.
Instead of being habitual, automatic reactions, our words become conscious responses based firmly on an awareness of what we are perceiving, feeling and wanting. We are led to express ourselves with honesty and clarity, while simultaneously paying others a respectful and emphatic attention.
Replace “I have to” with “I choose to”, and “I should” with “I might”.
Telling people what’s wrong with them is suicidal and tragic – and besides, it’s ineffective. We don’t want these judgments to mix in when we try to tell people what they’ve done that we don’t like. We want to go directly to the behaviour without mixing in a diagnosis, judgment or evaluation.
“Henry is aggressive.” – evaluation
“Henry hit his sister when she switched the television channel.” -observation
“You are a responsible child.” – evaluation (positive labeling)
“You are too generous.” – evaluation (positive labeling)
“When I see you doing that I think you being too generous” – NVC
“You are going to fall” – evaluation (statement with no possibilities)
“Be careful, I fear that you could fall” – NVC
Some feelings when needs are not fulfilled :
- Scared, Frightened, fearful, afraid
- Impatient, anguished, disturbed, stressed
- Concerned, distressed, worried, tired, anxious
- Confused, nervous, puzzled, reluctant, hesitant
- Angry, upset, annoyed, irritated, furious Indifferent, lonely, distant, passive
- Ashamed, embarrassed, guilty
- Overwhelmed, shocked, surprised
- Sad, hurt, sensitive, vulnerable
- Discouraged, frustrated, disappointed, uncomfortable, unhappy
- Helpless, Hopeless
- Envious, Jealous
Some feelings when needs are fulfilled:
- Optimistic, excited, energetic, eager
- Hopeful, confident, positive, trustful
- Encouraged, inspired, stimulated
- Interested, intrigued, curious
- Amazed, surprised, delighted
- Calm, comfortable, cool, relaxed
- Peaceful, carefree, composed
- Fulfilled, pleased, relieved, satisfied
- Happy, joyous, radiant
- Touched, moved
- Thankful, gratified, grateful, glad
- Tender, sensitive, warm
My education didn’t focus on helping me be more alive, more in touch with myself and others. It was oriented towards rewarding me for giving right answers as defined by authorities.
“I feel as I do because I need ____.”
Emotional liberation – we respond to the needs of others out of compassion, never out of fear, guilt, or shame. We accept full responsibility for our own intentions and actions, but not for the feelings of others.
- Choosing plans for fulfilling one’s dreams, goals, values.
- Choice, freedom, independence, space, spontaneity.
- Authenticity, honesty, presence.
- Celebration of life and dreams fulfilled.
- Clarity, competence, consciousness, contribution, creativity, efficacy, effectiveness, growth, hope, learning, purpose, self- expression, stimulation, understanding.
- Acceptance, affection, appreciation, belonging, cooperation, communication, closeness, community, companionship, compassion, consideration, consistency, empathy, inclusion, intimacy, love, mutuality, nurturing, respect/self-respect, security, stability, support, to know and be known, to understand and be understood, trust, warmth.
- Physical Well-being
- Air, food, movement, exercise, rest, sleep, sexual expression, safety, shelter, touch, water.
- Play/ Spiritual Communion
- Joy, humor, beauty, harmony, inspiration, order, peace.
I want you to tell me what needs of yours are met by drinking, and to discuss with me other ways of meeting those needs.” – NVC
“I want you to understand me.” – vague action
“I want you to tell me what you heard me say.” – NVC
After we express ourselves vulnerably, we often want to know:
- what the listener is feeling. “I would like you to tell me how you feel about what I just said.”
- what the listener is thinking. “I would like you to tell me what you think about what I’ve said.”
- whether the listener would be willing to take a particular action.“I’d like you to tell me if you would be willing to postpone our meeting for one week.”
“Would you be willing to set the table?” rather than “I would like you to set the table.
“Learn to analyze any situation only once for the purposes of learning new lessons. If you are thinking about a mistake over and over again, then you need to stop! You should not even call it a mistake. Call it feedback. “
What’s still alive in you as a result of what I have done?”
I find it tragic that we work so hard to buy love and assume that we must deny ourselves and do for others in order to be liked. In fact, when we do things solely in the spirit of enhancing life, we will find others appreciating us. Their appreciation, however, is only a feedback mechanism confirming that our efforts had the intended effect. The recognition that we have chosen to use our power to serve life and have done so successfully bring us the genuine joy of celebrating ourselves in a way that approval from others can never offer.
Empathy is a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing. It is emptying the mind and listening with our whole being.
When someone really hears you without passing judgment on you, without trying to take responsibility for you, without trying to mold you, it feels damn good.
When I have been listened to and when I have been heard, I am able to re-perceive my world in a new way and go on. It is astonishing how elements that seem insoluble become soluble when someone listens. How confusions that seem irremediable turn into relatively clear flowing streams when one is heard. Empathy allows us to re-perceive our world in a new way and move on.
Non empathic usual responses:
- Advising – “I think you should…”, “How come you didn’t…?” One-upping – “That’s nothing; once I was…”
- Educating – “This could turn into a very positive experience for you if you just…”
- Consoling – “It wasn’t your fault; you did the best you could.”
- Story-telling – “That reminds me of the time…”
- Shutting down – “Cheer up. Don’t feel so bad.”
- Interrogating – “When did this begin?”
- Explaining – “I would have call but…”
We have all found ourselves in the midst of a lifeless conversation. This is common when people talk without consciousness of what they are feeling, needing, or requesting.
To make clear how our life has been enriched, we need to say three things to people, and praise and compliments don’t make these three things clear:
- What the person did that we want to celebrate, what action of their part enriched our lives.
- How we feel about that. What feelings are alive in us as a result of what they’ve done.
- What needs of ours were met by their actions.
Instead of attributing the cause of conflict to wrongness in one’s adversaries, we do our best to think of oneself or others in terms of human needs and vulnerability –what one might be feeling, fearing, yearning for, missing, etc.
It is important not to confuse value judgments and moralistic judgments. Value judgments reflect our beliefs of how life can be best served; for example we might value honesty, freedom, or peace.
Blame, insults, put-downs (critical remark), labels, criticism, comparisons, and diagnoses are all forms of judgment. When we judge, as a result, we increase defensiveness and resistance from others.
Responsibility for our feelings:
We are each responsible for our own thoughts, feelings, and actions. What others say and do may be the stimulus, but never the cause of our feelings. We see that our feelings result from how we choose to receive what others say or do, as well as our particular needs and expectations in that moment. It’s not what other people do that can hurt you: it’s how you take it.
By equating stimulus and cause, we trick ourselves in thinking that other’s behavior is the cause of our anger. The basic mechanism of motivating by guilt is to attribute the responsibility for one’s own feelings to others. Our language facilitates the use of this guilt- inducing tactic.
Anger indicates that we have moved up to our head to analyze and judge somebody, rather than focus on which of our needs are not getting met. Use anger as a wake-up call. Consciously replace the phrase “I am angry because they…” with “I am angry because I am needing…”
The intention by expressing gratitude is all-important: to celebrate life, nothing else. We’re not trying to reward the other person. We want the other person to know how our life has been enriched by what they did.