Monday, July 29, 2019

Nonviolence starts with our words

I believe that the most important element in any relationship is communication. Still, even the most skilled communicators need help with understanding others, improving their words and getting to the root of what is actually being communicated.

Tons and tons and tons of books are out there about communication, and I find Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication (2015, third edition) the most useful.

Nonviolent communication presumes that conflict between individuals exists because of a miscommunication of their needs. That miscommunication mistakenly uses forceful or manipulative language that brings up fear, shame and guilt.

Understanding nonviolent communication, what upsets me is that sometimes leaders, either consciously or subconsciously, use overt or veiled violent communication for their agendas. I truly wonder what hope our world has for improved communication, and more understanding and harmony, when our leaders often communicate so violently.

The great news about being well-versed in nonviolent communication is that it makes every conversation much easier. We can go ahead and forget about "winning" conversations or merely communicating for factual information. Instead, we can go deeper in our relationships, understand each other better and show our children how to communicate effectively and with meaning.
It is a conscious decision to place Nonviolent Communication in the 100 Nonfiction Books I Recommend category of parenting because I believe good communication must start at home. As soon as a baby is born, it communicates to its parents. The parent communicates back immediately, and healthy parents bond with the child and show love.

Just like we've come a long way with putting babies in incubators away from parents when they're born, we have come a long way with communication for those interested in improving theirs. We may live in a world of Tweets, social-media posts and one-sided communication without depth, but Nonviolent Communication is an excellent book for not only improved communication but an improved life.

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