All too often the method of communication that we learn to use from a young age tends to hurt both us and other people. For example, passing moral judgements on people that don’t have the same values as ours is a type of communication that can make others hostile to us. We all make value judgments, and through them we show what we believe in, for example even though we think of violence as a negative element, we pass a negative moral judgement when we say that people who resort to violence are evil. This habit of implying that people who don't have the same values as us are wrong gets in the way of our ability to communicate with empathy, the same thing happens when we make comparisons or when we ask for something in a presumptuous manner, insinuating a possible punishment or guilt if we don’t get what we want. Furthermore, this type of communication blinds us to our responsibility for our feelings and actions, for example, we might say: “I have to give marks because the school rules require it of me”, when in actual fact, “I give marks because I want to keep my job”. Non-violent communication is an approach to communication aimed at expressing one’s true feelings without causing pain to oneself or to others. Through non-violent communication we communicate with an awareness of everything that we perceive, without passing judgement or blaming, we manage to transmit our message with clarity and honesty.
By following the NVC method, our communication process can take on a new style which allows us to be clearer and help others understand us at the same time. Non-violent communication focuses on four key areas: 1) observations – the phase where we observe a situation without expressing an opinion; 2) feelings – we confirm what we feel when we witness the action; 3) needs – we express our needs linked to the feelings that we have just voiced; 4) request – we make a specific request of what we need.
Non-violent communication is used to mediate disputes and conflicts at all levels and has no fixed formula but it can be adapted to many different situations.