Here are the 4 components of nonviolent communication in healthy relationships.
State concrete actions you observe in yourself or the other person. A pure observation is without comparison to the past and is what we see or hear that we identify as the stimulus to our reactions, the “trigger.” The observation gives the context for our expression of feelings and needs.
For example, “It’s 2:00 a.m. and I hear your stereo playing” states an observed fact.
Identify the feeling that the observation is triggering in you. Feelings are always related to your body, and never involve others. They represent our own emotional experience and physical sensations associated with our needs that have been met or that remain unmet.
For example, “It’s 2:00 a.m. and I hear your stereo playing (observation). I’m irritated (feeling).”
State the need that is the cause of that feeling. A psychic or basic need is always about oneself, not about another, and is always a basic human quality.
All human beings share key needs for survival: hydration, nourishment, rest, shelter, and connection to name a few. In the context of NVC, needs refer to what is most alive in us: our core values and deepest human longings. The key to identifying, expressing, and connecting with needs is to focus on words that describe shared human experiences rather than words that describe the particular strategies to meet those needs.
For example, “It’s 2:00 a.m. and I hear your stereo playing. (observation). I’m irritated (feeling) because I need to get some sleep (need).”
The need for sleep is a shared human experience.
Make a concrete request for action to meet the need just identified.
To meet our needs, we make requests to assess how likely we are to get cooperation for particular strategies we have in mind for meeting our needs. Our aim is to identify and express a specific action that we believe will serve this purpose and then check with others involved in their willingness to participate in meeting our needs in this way.
For example, “It’s 2:00 a.m. and I hear your stereo playing. (observation). I’m irritated (feeling) because I need to get some sleep (need). Please turn the volume down (specific request).”
We waste too much precious time and energy because we don’t know how to articulate what is in our hearts and minds safely.
We can “say a lot” by truly listening for other people’s feelings and needs and responding to them instead of just the words said.
As a community, we urgently need to move past power struggles to cooperation and trust. Using NVC, the improvement to your life and others you care for is immediate. Start practicing the principles of NVC today — over and over — until it becomes second nature