Nonviolent Communication: Peace through words
Nonviolence is more than the absence of war and physical violence. It consists of different methods and approaches. First of all nonviolence includes the personal practice of being harmless to self and others under all circumstances. However, nonviolence is defined not only passively, it also includes nonviolent actions to achieve political and social change. Therefore, the way we communicate with each other plays an important role. We influence unconsciously our surroundings and the atmosphere of dialogues by our words and argumentation. Especially in the context of peacebuilding and reconciliation, a constructive and nonviolent communication is helpful to build trust, sympathy and understanding.
The American psychologist Marshall Rosenberg developed the concept of ‘Nonviolent Communication’ in the 1960s with the aim to use communication as method for a peaceable, joint and respectful interaction to resolve conflicts in a constructive way. According to this idea communication is not used to convince somebody for any specific action but rather to develop an appreciative relationship for more cooperation for a common life together. According to his argumentation the achievement of a sustainable peace and peaceful relations is only possible by real and empathetic contact. Nonviolent Communication is characterized by empathy and solidarity instead of separation and judgement. ANP promotes this kind of communication and includes Nonviolent Communication in its trainings and workshops. ANP understands the importance of Nonviolent Communication for building a nonviolent society and uses this technique in its workshops and training to build up a safe and respectful space for our participants.
To learn more about Nonviolent Communication watch this movie!
How does Nonviolent Communication work?
The expression of our needs is the main obstacle when it comes to the solving of conflicts. In hostile communication needs and desires are expressed in form of reproaches, judgments or claims. These messages can hurt others, who in turn answer with new justifications, more reproaches and more misunderstanding instead of a common solution – voila a vicious circle. Nonviolent Communication teaches us how to express ourselves and how to understand the needs and desires of others. Instead of automatic reactions, our words become conscious responses based firmly on awareness of what we perceive, feel and want in that moment. Simultaneously we are paying others a respectful and empathetic attention.