Thursday, October 9, 2008

Nonviolent Communication

So I have been reading a book by Marshall Rosenberg. It is a really powerful book with tough concepts. It's about changing the way we think when it comes to our interactions with others. I would actually put it up there with Oprah's favorite book "A New Earth" except that the practical applications, I believe, are more.

I say tough concepts but they aren't really.... They are very easy to understand and practical for use until you are in a situation with oh say your kids. I really dislike the push/pull of power struggles and I don't want my kids to grow up feeling like an iron fist is being wielded. I am not talking about physical abuse or mental abuse for that matter. I want them to have respect for everything around them including themselves but I feel that I am failing in this aspect. I know for respect to be given, it also needs to be reciprocated. This is a tough idea. As a parent, we get used to the idea that we can tell/make our kids do what we want them to do but what does this really do for them except to try and make them obedient kids and then have them rebel later on.

Okay so to get back to the Rosenberg. He has for 4 part approach. To take directly from the book, page 7 "NVC Process
The concrete actions we observe that affect our well-being.
How we feel in relation to what we observe.
The needs, values, desires, etc that create our feelings.
The concrete actions we request in order to enrich our lives."

My example of this.... Say I ask Max to unload the dishwasher but he isn't doing it in a timely manner.

Instead of exploding or getting more irritated. I need to observe my feelings, see the prior statement. Then ask myself what needs of mine are not being met (this was a big revelation to me, because I had considered the feelings part and sometimes I could observe my feelings as if slightly disconnected from myself except it wouldn't stop me from still spouting off at the mouth) And then make the request that expressed my needs and not as much my feelings unless I was truly being responsible to my feelings. So my request might be, 'Max, I need you to feel ownership of this household which means contributing to the upkeep and care of our home by emptying the dishwasher.' What I need to let go of is that he might not do it in my timetable every time but if there are distractions, I might need to try and clear those (ie tv playing at same time).

Now being responsible for my feelings isn't a new concept to me because it was something my parents pounded, I mean, taught us from a fairly early age. Someone can't make you feel anything. We choose to feel the way we do. What Rosenberg does is take it a step further and say because some need is not being met. I am still trying to understand how I can express this for myself. The feeling he speaks to is anger and its derivatives. How often do we say or heard said 'He, she, it makes me so angry....' We need to step back and really look at why we are feeling this way and how we can change our perception. Our best bet is to stop and breathe as Rosenberg says in the book so we can gain more perspective and really translate to ourselves what we are feeling.

Okay I got to cut this short and get out of here. Maybe I will have more to write later but I really want to take on the challenge of getting my family on the nvc bandwagon.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I'm going to have to look that one up. It sound slike we have a lot of the same goals for how we want to communicate, but you are right. It can be very difficult.