Why did Marshall Rosenberg call it “Nonviolent Communication” ?
I was meeting with a group of friends today practicing Nonviolent Communication, when one member of our group expressed a need for more understanding of why Marshall Rosenberg called our way of communicating Nonviolent Communications.
I realized that it was time I explained this term, so here I go.
The word “non-violence” comes from Ghandi who used it in 1920 to express a peaceful way to bring about political and social change. He had a commitment to non-violence especially when protesting oppression, injustice, or discrimination.
Marshall Rosenberg named his method of communicating Nonviolent Communication because he believed that compassion towards yourself and others brings more joy and a greater sense of well-being. He noticed that we often communicate violently with ourselves. We say things like, “you are so stupid” or “how could you be such an idiot”. Many of us judge ourselves harshly (violently) when things don’t go as planned and this can weaken our self-confidence and sense of wonder and joy. We also judge, blame and shame others using language Marshall called violent.
Marshall’s favorite saying was that “He wanted to make life more wonderful for everyone”. How can we make life wonderful for ourselves if we judge ourselves harshly? If we ask ourselves what kind of world we want to live in? Is it a world where those around us are filled with compassion and aware of their needs or is it a world where we live unconsciously tossed from one day to the next, struggling to survive and unaware of our needs and choices?
I choose Nonviolence and I am committed to following the path set out by Marshall Rosenberg where we endeavour to make life more wonderful for everyone.