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  • surajsubudhi10

From Misunderstandings to Moments: Navigating Connection with NVC

Ever felt like you and your partner or your best friend or your parents are speaking different languages? I mean from a third-person perspective he/she can see you both care and love each other in your own way, but somehow they don't understand or appreciate each other. It's like they have their own story or judgment going on for the other person in their head. What if there was a translator, a bridge to understanding?


I have read a very fine book that might come in handy here, it's a book by Marshall B. Rosenberg - Nonviolent Communication (NVC).

To understand it let's get into a story:


Meet Maya and Deepak, a couple in love but often lost in translation. Maya feels they're not spending enough quality time together. Deepak, on the other hand, feels overwhelmed with work and seeks solace with friends. The stage is set for a typical couple conflict stuff.


Maya, feeling neglected, could've said, "You never have time for me! All you care about is work and your friends." At the same time, Deepak might've retorted, "You're always so needy! I can't be with you 24/7."


Instead, Maya took a moment and tried to follow NVC to express her feelings and needs.


She expressed, "Deepak, I've noticed we haven't had much 'us' time lately. I feel lonely when we don't connect. I need to feel cherished in our relationship. Can we find a balance?"


Deepak, surprised by her calm and direct approach, responded, "Maya, I didn't realize you felt this way. I've been stressed with work. I need some downtime, but I also value our time. Let's work this out."


In this short story, Maya's NVC-inspired approach turned conflict into understanding. Instead of accusations and misunderstandings, there was empathy and a shared goal.


NVC is a method designed to help people connect with each other in a compassionate way, especially in situations of conflict. The process is based on the idea that all human beings have the capacity for compassion and empathy and that people only resort to violence or behavior harmful to others when they don't recognize more effective strategies for meeting needs. It differs from other communication methods in its emphasis on empathy, understanding, and the genuine expression of feelings and needs without judgment or blame.


It guides us to:

  • Observe without judgment: Describe the situation without adding your own drama.

  • Express feelings: Share your emotions without blaming your partner.

  • State needs: Clearly convey what you need without making it a demand.

  • Make requests: Ask for what you want in a way that invites collaboration.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid:

  • Avoiding Absolute Terms: Words like "always" and "never" can feel accusatory.

  • Confusing Feelings with Thoughts: "I feel like you don't care" is a thought, not a feeling. Instead, "I feel hurt" is more genuine.

  • Making Demands vs. Requests: "You need to spend more time with me" is a demand. "Can we find more time together?" is a request. One should be able to accept no as an answer while making a request.


There are many more real-life experiences that Dr. Rosenberg has shared in his book to help us understand this process and I found all of them to be very insightful.


I know it is easier said than done, and even though I know this process, I also fail to apply it whenever needed. The good part is one being aware of the process and how he/she is trying to resolve any conflict and how NVC would be helpful at the moment, understanding these will help us to apply it in the future.


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