At first glance, the idea of nonviolent communication to solve huge conflicts may seem naive especially when you consider all the violence in the world. But Marshall Rosenberg is not naive. Not even close. He has developed a mode of communication that everyone can learn from. It is not a communication that is reserved for high level negotiators, it is something that we all can use in our every day lives to deal more effectively with each other.
For some people, and governments, peace is not an objective. Gaining and maintaining power and dominance over others is their only concern. For some people, mental illness prevents them from the ability to be reasoned with. So, you wonder, how can nonviolent communications be effective since, in many instances, these are the perpetrators? As, Rosenberg says, sometimes force is necessary but he’s not talking about violent force or punishment, he’s only talking about force that stops the momentum of the aggressor.
Can you imagine, though, if each of us started to employ Rosenberg’s technique to disarm anger that we encounter in our every day lives? Don’t you think that the world around us would change for the better? One of the places I encounter anger a lot is in online comments. They aren’t usually directed at me, but it does give me concern when I read comment after comment where civil communication breaks down so quickly. Could we make our collective experience online better if we disarm these angry people with compassion rather than to respond with anger? I would like to think so.
What if, slowly, we subdue the anger that has built up so much in our society by simply starting to listen to each other? What if judgement, condescension, and ignorance is scrapped by finding out what is really going on behind another person’s hateful words? Unrealistic, you say? Why? Try it first before you knock it. I’m not naive either. In fact, I know how difficult this initiative could be. A man like Rosenberg has a lot of patience if you ask me. My first reaction to being shouted at is to shout back even louder and meaner. But where has that got us? Exactly where we are now.
Please have a listen to this video. It is 10 minutes well spent.
Wishing you all a good Sunday.