Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Communicating Through Needs and Feeling

Tonight I attended a seminar on nonviolent communication (NVC). NVC is also known as compassionate communication. I had high hopes for this couple of hours because I know I can be rather direct and probably not always the best at communicating in times of stress, anger or even with less than eight hours of sleep. I also like to take opportunities to better myself and learn new things, so this seminar seemed like a great chance to flex my mental and emotional range.

I was introduced to this seminar by my contact at Goodwill. She is a big proponent of NVC and says it has changed her life. She and another woman from the local NVC chapter facilitated the class. After sitting in a circle, breathing deeply and connecting from the heart with a treasured memory, we were taught the four steps and cornerstones of NVC: observing, feeling, needing and requesting.

I'm not sure if I am just jaded, but to me NVC sounds like a bunch of hooey. I don't feel that I would be comfortable going through my day saying things such as...I sense you are feeling angry with me, is that because you don't like my tone? I like the idea of NVC which is speaking from the heart and finding compassion in yourself to share with others, but I would have a difficult time with the recommended language. I don't want to wander through life using neutral words and "I feel" statements. That wouldn't be communicating from my heart.

I might be willing to attend another seminar, because more than anything, I don't get it. I don't get the point or how this type of communication is used when two people have contrasting needs. I should probably also explore within myself why I am so resistant to the idea of communicating in a different manner, with a different purpose and using new words.

Anyone have any experience with NVC?

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