NVC Journal: Reflections on the Need for Connection

in ecotrain •  2 months ago  (edited)

I've only just stumbled across the concept of Non Violent Communication (NVC), as developed my Marshall Rosenberg, thanks to this recent post by @eco-alex in which he invites people to take part in a 5 week (I think) workshop to learn more about NVC.

This post is a response to this and hopefully part of one of five interesting posts along the same theme. This is the introductory post and based on watching this 10 minute intro to NVC by Marshall Rosenberg.

NB it's worth a watch, there's a lot in here, it's very well-edited!

The general idea of NVC (As I understand it ATM) is to connect with people at the level of feelings and needs and to make the main intention of communication one of enhancing the other person's well-being, rather than merely reacting to what people say.

In the above video Rose uses the example of his work in a Palestinian refugee camp when one individual, on finding out he was an American labelled him a murderer.

Rather than responding with a typical 'hey I'm not a murderer, you shouldn't label all Americans the same' he responded with 'what kind of support would you rather be receiving from us' (or something to that effect) and thus by asking a question managed to show he was listening to his 'labeller' and showing a certain level of care for his well-being.

Rose summarises this as not necessarily listening to what is said, but rather committing to figuring out the feelings and unmet needs underneath, and once you do that, people are much more likely to listen back to you.

I'm sure there's a lot more to the concept of NVC than this, but at root, not responding to mere words that are said in anger is a useful takeaway. Rather, NVC is about seeing the human being behind name calling.

I say I've never hear of the concept, at least I've never heard of this specific manifestation of it - as a Buddhist it fits in perfectly with N8P3 (Noble Eightfold Path Aspect 3) Right Speech, which incorporates right listening and communication more generally.

Also, with almost 20 years teaching under my belt, this practice of not responding to words, but finding out the needs behind them, that's actually a professional teaching duty, that's ingrained!

In essence it's a very simple idea, potentially one of the most useful mindfulness tools there is, much harder to put into practice under pressure I imagine.

Responses to workshop questions

As part of the workshop, we have been asked to answer the following questions:

  • Describe a moment that you felt deeply connected to another person.
  • Where were you, and who were you with?
  • What were you doing? What was the other person doing?
  • What words, if any, did you express and/or hear the other person say?
  • What qualities did you experience that let you know you were connecting? Be as specific and detailed as you can be.

I don't feel comfortable sharing personal examples, and TBH I don't tend to connect closely with specific others so I can't really think of any individualist examples to draw on, so here's something more general...

I'd say I feel most connected to other people when I'm working in solidarity with them.

Take the time I spent as a teacher, for example, it was easy, so easy, to connect with pretty much any other teacher on the basis of the shared experience of the stress of the job, or through the struggles of mutual students.

This is a connection not through language as such, but through sharing an experience, a situation.

Reflecting back on my teaching time, some of the most disconnected times were when I was in the pub on a Friday and certain people were just whinging on about how much they disliked certain other members of staff, especially management.

I frequently remember being in the pub at 19.00 thinking 'FFS I'm being kept in work mentally by this continual whinging'.

At that time I tried to overcome this by changing the subject, but some evenings it would always come back round to talking shop.

Having watched the video on NVC, maybe what I should have done is to have worked to bridge the gap, and brought the whinging back round to commonality, that would probably have closed the matter so we could then have 'closed shop' earlier and moved onto the evening outside of work proper!

Anyway, just a short example of how a brief 10 minute video has helped me rethink how I might have made a previous 'type of situation' more peaceful, and certainly more chilled!

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I frequently remember being in the pub at 19.00 thinking 'FFS I'm being kept in work mentally by this continual whinging'.

The reason I don't go drinking after work, that and I can't drink more than one beer and that has to be German beer due to all the shit placed in the English stuff. I can't do with it.., the chit chat I mean. Being a contractor has it's benefits.

We euphemistically called it 'cathartic', it was a lie!

I guess you could just go for one with @goblinknackers, and then leave him to sink another 7 or so!

I take it you don't drink ale then, different to English lager, that is generally crap.

I take it you don't drink ale then, different to English lager, that is generally crap.

I like the local bitters, is that ale? Lager.. not since I was 25 or so.., horrible stuff that I can hear fizzling inside my gut.

I think bitter classifies as a type of ale, don't quote me on that though!

That's my thang - ale, bitter, stout, porter, anything flat and warm basically.

Having been a member of CAMRA since before I could legally drink, I can assure you both that bitter is an ale.
Pale ale might not be an ale, if it's an American pale ale, in which case it's a lager.
If the beer is pulled with a hand-pump, with a genuine pumping action (i.e. it's not just a very big tap), then you are buying real ale and it is worth giving some attention to when tasting.
If your workmates are drinking lager in a UK pub then you might want to move desks...

BTW @revisesociology - good post - I don't think I ever got through all of your 8-fold-path posts back in the day, but they did make me think very hard about my attitude tot he universe, as does this.
Thank you!

Thanks for the clarification about the categories - I think most bitters wld be milds right?

Also good life advice....

If your workmates are drinking lager in a UK pub then you might want to move desks...

That n8p fold path was heavy | if you like philosophical spiritual stuff - you just missed a great discord show with @orlev - pt 2 next week 10.00 pm Thursday gmt!

Mild and Bitter are on a continuum of strength; in the very old days it would be one recipe at different levels of percentage %.
Mild < Bitter < Porter (< Stout, but that is probably a different recipe).
A good mild is hard to find these days in the south. Black Cat Mild is personal favourite.

I'll make a point of trying a mild next beer festival I'm at!

In the meantime have a


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thanks for sharing this.. its Ok if you dont want to share a specific detail.. you got the feeling i think which is what is important. I have just posted a Primer post that nails the definition a bit more, and has some great short videos at the end.. Here we go! xx

I will check those out over the weekend for sure.

You missed a great discord show with @orlev last night btw, then again I guess you're quite familiar with his ideas already!

Great vibe, which was nice!

nope, i just listened to it all, including the chat feed.. Was a great show, the hour went fast.. isnt orlev easy to listen to! Its always really amazing to see how on the same page we are!

for you

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