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    If, on the other hand, you have ever felt pierced and heart broken by the spoken word…confused about how a conversation could go so terrible astray… read on my friend.

    Each week during the month of March, I will address a new aspect of toxin-free communication

    Week One: Non-Violent Communication

    Week Two: The Stages of Emotional Liberation

    Week Three: Listening 101

    Week Four: The 1-2-3 Dialogue: Taking care of emotions in a conflict

    Week Five: Creative Problem Solving

    Now, more than ever, in a time of division and discord at many levels of society, may we learn to speak and listen in a way that leads us to give from the heart, connecting us more deeply with ourselves and with each other.

    Part I: Non-Violent Communication

    It may feel strange at first to consider the way someone talks to be “violent” but the truth is that words can often lead to pain. When we don’t feel heard, we can’t listen, and vice versa. When we stop listening, when we get trapped in our own negative cycle of defending, withdrawing, and attacking in the face of a perceived threat, our hearts and our minds calcify so much that connection and creative problem solving shut down.

    When Dr. Rosenberg speaks about his process of non-violent communication, he uses the term non-violence as Gandhi used it—to refer to our natural state of compassion, connection and creative flow when violence has subsided from the heart.

    Imagine, instead of a knee-jerk emotional response to a trigger, that your words could be a conscious response based firmly on the awareness of what you are perceiving, feeling, and wanting. Then, that you could express yourself honestly and with clarity, while simultaneously paying others a respectful and empathetic attention.

    Four steps to a non-violent communication:

    1. State the actions you observe that affect your well-being
    2. How you feel in relation to what you observe
    3. The needs, values and desires that create your feelings
    4. Actions you request in order to enrich your life

    Ex: Honey, when you don’t call me to let me know you are going to be late, I feel scared that something happened to you and disappointed because I had dinner prepared for us and I like to eat dinner together at night. Would you please call me if you won’t be home when I expect you and could we please make a regular time at least once a week to eat dinner together?


    “I feel    ………..     when     ………      because…………”

    Although non-violent communication (NVC) has been referred to as a “process” or a “language of compassion” the truth is that it is more than that. On a deeper level, it is an on-going reminder to keep our attention focused on a place where we are more likely to get what we are seeking.

    Part of NVC is to express these four points clearly. The other part of this communication consists in receiving these four pieces of information. We connect first by sensing what someone else is observing, feeling, and needing and then discovering what would enrich their life by receiving the fourth piece, the request.

    The use of non-violent communication does not require that the people we are communicating with also know about it or even feel motivated to relate to us compassionately, although it is certainly helpful. By keeping your attention focused on the areas mentioned, and helping others do likewise, you can establish a flow of communication until compassion manifests naturally. Remember that the essence of NVC is in our consciousness of the four components, not in the actual words that are exchanged.

    Stay tuned for next week’s piece about moving from Emotional Slavery to Emotional Liberation!

    For more details about non-violent communication: check out http://www.cnvc.org/

    The source for this article was the book written by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg Nonviolent Commuication: 2nd Edition.

    Aline Bethea Defiglia LCSW, MPH, CADC  is a licensed psychotherapist, life and career coach, trainer and consultant practicing in Chicago and Elmhurst, Illinois.  You can find out more at abwellness.life


    This is so needed in our society today, Aline! Thank you for sharing such wisdom! I am so excited to see how you are impacting our world and will continue to do so!


    […] The following was excerpted in part from Nonviolent Commuication: 2nd Edition by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. This article is the second in a five part series about clean living through toxin-free communication. To read Part I about Nonviolent Communication, click here. […]


    […] about clean living through toxin-free communication. To read Part I about Nonviolent Communication, click here. To read Part II about Emotional Liberation, click […]


    […] about clean living through toxin-free communication. To read Part I about Nonviolent Communication, click here. To read Part II about Emotional Liberation, click here. To read Part III about Listening, click […]