An Ode to Nonviolent Communication

Holding Hands - Nonviolent Communication

Happy to announce I am now 100% nonviolent after reading Nonviolent Communication (NVC) by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg.

I am also 100% lying.

Because, like all good things in life, NVC takes effort. And practice. Having just finished the book, I only have an idea of what to say but no practical experience.

Conflict resolution is an interesting topic to me since we have to deal with conflicts in every aspect of our lives. How can we be stern and kind at the same time? How can we get the best out of any situation? Being able to communicate effectively is an art in itself.

I have always taken away something, if not everything, from every book I’ve read – a new kind of awareness. What I took away from this one was to take a moment to step back and focus on needs instead of the more apparent negatives during an argument. It helps with forgiveness. It keeps you calm. So it’s a win-win overall.

What is NVC?

Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a practice that must be consciously ingrained in our daily interactions to see results. It includes letting go of your judgments and interacting with the other person to focus on each other’s needs instead of playing the blame game. We attribute violence to physical and mental abuse. But here, the author talks about negative communication as violence too. Things like incessant blaming, judging, silent treatment, and mocking all form a part of violent communication.

So here are some of the key takeaways from the book:

Focusing on needs

The four components of NVC include: what we are observing, feeling, and needing, and what we would like to request to enrich our lives. To summarize, the two parts of NVC are 1) expressing honestly 2) receiving empathically.

Connect your feeling with your need: “I feel.. because I need..”

Something you need to keep repeating to yourself whenever you are agitated. What is it that you need? Focus on each other’s primary emotion (need) instead of lashing out at each other.

Avoiding blame and judgment

Why would people want to tell the truth, knowing they will be judged and punished for doing so?

The more people hear blame and judgment, the more defensive and aggressive they become and the less they will care about our needs in the future. So even if our present need is met in the sense that people do what we want, we will pay for it later.

Makes you think, doesn’t it? Why would someone tell you the truth if they knew they would be misunderstood or shouted at? I feel the more we make someone feel uncomfortable and “dirty” for telling us the truth, the more they will hide it the next time.

Being empathic even with people who hurt you

Blaming is easy. People are used to hearing blame; sometimes they agree with it and hate themselves – which doesn’t stop them from behaving the same way – and sometimes they hate us for calling them names – which also doesn’t stop their behavior. If we sense blame entering their mind, we may need to slow down, go back, and hear their pain for a while more.

NVC stresses hearing the other person a while longer and understanding their feelings before we put forward our requests. Such a method lets the other person relax and be in a proper frame of mind to receive and reciprocate.

Conflict Resolution

The more experience I have gained in mediating conflicts over the years and the more I’ve seen what leads families to argue and nations to go to war, the more convinced I am that most schoolchildren could solve these conflicts. If we could just say, “Here are the needs of both sides. Here are the resources. What can be done to meet these needs?,” conflicts would be easily resolved. But instead, our thinking is focused on dehumanizing one another with labels and judgments until even the simplest of conflicts becomes very difficult to solve. NVC helps us avoid that trap, thereby enhancing the chances of reaching a satisfying resolution.

Why can’t warring countries adopt this methodology, sit together, and discuss resolutions in a non-confrontational way? The world would be a more peaceful place to live in.

The Unseen, The Unheard

Anthem
Photo by Jatin Baghel

An anthem that exudes unity,

Of being one,

Brothers and sisters of the same soil.

But the words are empty,

As meaningless as a liar’s embrace.

As hurtful as a kin’s animosity.

As rancid as a forgotten fruit.

The unseen, the unheard,

Took over humanity,

Over love, compassion, empathy,

Burning them to dust.

Any wonder why hope is lost each day?

Why hearts break so easily?

Why fires light up hastily?

Why words tremble feebly?

We see more harm than good,

More violence than peace,

More hatred than love,

More you than ours.

More “you” than “ours.”

Eyes burn with hope,

Waiting wistfully for the day,

Humanity wins,

Love wins,

We win.

Over the unseen, unheard.

13 Thought-Provoking Quotes From Colleen Hoover’s It Ends With Us

Photo by Hernan Pauccara

I’ve read a couple of Colleen’s books before. I knew I was in for another treat when I picked “It Ends With Us” after reading a couple of positive reviews by fellow bloggers. In this book, the author’s personal perspective makes the story stand out among others. In her own words, “This was not entertainment for me. It was the most grueling thing I have ever written.” The despair is apparent in her characters – their anguish, suffering, and hopelessness. There were tears shed, not going to lie. It’s impossible not to. If you have ever lost a loved one, you would be able to relate to the agonizing emotions expressed so articulately in the book by Colleen. It Ends With Us is filled with introspective, profound quotes about life, love, and everything in between. Sharing a few of my favorites here.     

All humans make mistakes. What determines a person’s character aren’t the mistakes we make. It’s how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.

Life is a funny thing. We only get so many years to live it, so we have to do everything we can to make sure those years are as full as they can be. We shouldn’t waste time on things that might happen someday, or maybe even never.

Maybe love isn’t something that comes full circle. It just ebbs and flows, in and out, just like the people in our lives.

Imagine all the people you meet in your life. There are so many. They come in like waves, trickling in and out with the tide. Some waves are much bigger and make more of an impact than others. Sometimes the waves bring with them things from deep in the bottom of the sea and they leave those things tossed onto the shore. Imprints against the grains of sand that prove the waves had once been there, long after the tide recedes.

Sometimes even grown women need their mother’s comfort so we can just take a break from having to be strong all the time.

I think that’s one of the biggest signs a person has matured—knowing how to appreciate things that matter to others, even if they don’t matter very much to you.

Just because someone hurts you doesn’t mean you can simply stop loving them. It’s not a person’s actions that hurt the most. It’s the love. If there was no love attached to the action, the pain would be a little easier to bear.

If I had to compare this feeling (of separation) to something, I would compare it to death. Not just the death of anyone. The death of the one. The person who is closer to you than anyone else in the whole world. The one who, when you simply imagine their death, it makes your eyes tear up. It’s an astronomical amount of grief. An enormous amount of pain. It’s a sense that I’ve lost my best friend, my lover, my husband, my lifeline. But the difference between this feeling and death is the presence of another emotion that doesn’t necessarily follow in the event of an actual death. Hatred.

I feel like everyone fakes who they really are, when deep down we’re all equal amounts of screwed up. Some of us are just better at hiding it than others.

I don’t think being a little guarded is a negative thing. Naked truths aren’t always pretty.

Sometimes you can’t control where your mind goes. You just have to train it not to go there anymore.

Sometimes the things that matter to you most are also the things that hurt you the most. And in order to get over that hurt, you have to sever all the extensions that keep you tethered to that pain.

Cycles exist because they are excruciating to break. It takes an astronomical amount of pain and courage to disrupt a familiar pattern. Sometimes it seems easier to just keep running in the same familiar circles, rather than facing the fear of jumping and possibly not landing on your feet.

An Ode to the Kind Stranger at the Café

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels

A bitter argument,

A door slam,

An empty apartment. A heavy heart.

Tears. Surplus tears.

Misery spanning the entire morning and half of afternoon,

No breakfast, no lunch; hunger killed by words as sharp as a knife,

Hunger killed by heart-numbing brashness.

Soul crushing, sky falling, world burning,

It feels like death – this beginning of the end.

Death of a person still very much alive,

Death of a marriage,

Death of love.

I push myself up, wiping away tears,

I head outdoors,

I walk aimlessly, like a lost soul,

And I spot a small café.

Self-care beckons,

I should eat something.

An order placed with gloom. Face full of despair.

Eyes down. Gaze lowered. No strength to face anyone,

No strength to smile.

A cup of coffee and a sandwich.

The order arrives,

I lift my gaze, and I smile,

The coffee has a heart on top.

A beautiful little heart.

Intrigued, I look at other cups around me,

No, this one is just for me.

In a sea of pain, it felt like a wave of comfort,

A compassionate message,

A comforting hug.

I look around for the waiter,

I spot him in a corner,

Working but eyes fixed on me.

He smiles compassionately,

I smile back,

Warmth.

A sign that the world is not so bad after all,

A sign that I’ll be okay – even if it’s the beginning of the end.

Context: The magic of kindness. A stranger I’ve never met before provided me hope on the most hopeless of days. I never met him after that. The incident happened years ago, but I still think of it fondly. I feel a cocktail of emotions whenever I remember that moment in the café. It still makes me smile.