All that has been integrated into NVC has been known for centuries about consciousness, language, communication skills, and use of power that enable us to maintain a perspective of empathy for ourselves and others, even under trying conditions.
NVC is language, thoughts, communication skills and means of influence that serve my desire to do three things: 1) to liberate myself from cultural learning that is in conflict with how I want to live my life. 2) to empower myself to connect with myself and others in a way that makes compassionate giving natural. 3) to empower myself to create structures that support compassionate giving.
This language is from the head. It is a way of mentally classifying people into varying shades of good and bad, right and wrong. Ultimately, it provokes defensiveness, resistance, and counterattack. It is a language of demands.
As NVC replaces our old patterns of defending, withdrawing or attacking in the face of judgment and criticism. We come to perceive ourselves and others, as well as our intentions and relationships, in a new light. Resistance, defensiveness, and violent reactions are minimized.
When you ride the wave, the thrill is so exhilarating that you forget everything else. You live in the moment where nothing else matters, so intent on riding the wave perfectly that you and the wave become one. Pain and worry disappear, replaced by euphoria, akin to flow. Similarly, when giving empathy, you want to strive for this kind of total presence for the person you are listening to.
The Indian philosopher J. Krishnamurti once remarked that observing without evaluating is the highest form of human intelligence. When I first read this statement, the thought, 'What nonsense!' shot through my mind before I realized that I had just made an evaluation.
Children need far more than basic skills in reading, writing, and math, as important as those might be. Children also need to learn how to think for themselves, how to find meaning in what they learn, and how to work and live together.
Imagine connecting with the human spirit in each person in any situation at any time. Imagine interacting with others in a way that allows everyone's need to be equally valued. Imagine creating organizations and life-serving systems responsive to our needs and the needs of our environment.
Teacher, school administrators and parents will come away from Life-Enriching Education with skills in language, communication, and ways of structuring the learning environment that support the development of autonomy and interdependence in the classroom.
I find that my cultural conditioning leads me to focus attention on places where I am unlikely to get what I want. I developed NVC as a way to train my attention-to shine the light of consciousness-on places that have the potential to yield what I am seeking.
In nonviolent communication, no matter what words others may use to express themselves, we simply listen for their observations, feelings, needs, and requests. Then we may wish to reflect back, paraphrasing what we have understood. We stay with empathy, allowing others the opportunity to fully express themselves before we turn our attention to solutions or requests for relief.
The objective of Nonviolent Communication is not to change people and their behavior in order to get our way: it is to establish relationships based on honesty and empathy, which will eventually fulfill everyone's needs.
If you have an image of someone cutting off a relationship, it's the cutting off that will lead to your suffering. If you see the action as their need being expressed, then the message is within them, not you. Any interpretation you put onto another person's message (such as passive-aggressive, withholding, etc.), you will pay for because of how you took it.
As radical as it may seem, it is possible to do things only out of play. I believe that to the degree that we engage moment by moment in the playfulness of enriching life- motivated solely by the desire for its enrichment- to that degree are we being compassionate with ourselves.
Empathy is a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing. Instead of offering empathy, we often have a strong urge to give advice or reassurance and to explain our own position or feeling. Empathy, however, calls upon us to empty our mind and listen to others with our whole being.
Public education for some time has been heavily focused on what curricula we believe will be helpful to students. Life-Enriching Education is based on the premise that the relationship between teachers and students, the relationships of students with one another, and the relationships of students to what they are learning are equally important in preparing students for the future.
Any evaluation which implies rightness or wrongness is a tragic, suicidal expression of an unmet need. Tragic, first because it decreases our likelihood of getting our need met! Even if we think it. And secondly, because it increases the likelihood of violence. That's why I'm suggesting any evaluation which implies rightness or wrongness is a tragic, suicidal expression of an unmet need. Say the need! Learn a need-consciousness.