Marshall Rosenberg was an American psychologist, author and teacher who was born on the 6 th October 1934 and passed away 7 th February 2015. He has throughout his lifetime contributed with great insight and wisdom concerning human nature and psychology, thriving in making the world a more compassionate place to be.
Rosenberg developed a practice called Nonviolent Communication, for supporting partnerships and resolving conflict within people, relationships and society. He worked in many ways worldwide as a peacemaker. In 1984 he founded the Center for Nonviolent Communication, an international non-profit organization where he served as Director of Eduactional Services (Wikipedia 2018).
In his book Living Nonviolent Communication- practical tools to connect and communicate skillfully in every situation, Rosenberg shows us how to benefit from acting with more compassion and awareness connected to psychological patterns of behavior. He wants us to dig a little deeper in human behavior, to meet, see and be able to understand conflicts and how they can be resolved.
Be less critical
First of all we need to rethink how we often criticize each other. In many ways this also is human nature. Our brains function quite normal when we criticize. It’s not abnormal behavior. That’s also why we often do it automatically, not being quite aware what it does to the environment around us, even to ourselves. Sometimes is leaves us negative in our vibration, or our energy, if you prefer.
You can sometimes sense when people are angry or having a bad day. But instead of being affected by it, try sometimes to accept it, not being so eager to change people or describe how you feel all the time. Just feeling and sensing what is going on is as important as describing what’s happening or what we think of something. We can find more peace if we stop being so critical about everything and start being more present.
In our human nature we also might feel tempted to share people’s feelings, supporting their negative thoughts or getting wrapped up in other people’s chaos. We do this out of social and empathetic gestures and likeable means, but you need to stay centered at your own touch, with your own soul. If you remain more calm, the other person may reflect back some of your calmness.
Staying centered effects your communication. You may think it seems unnatural to stay silent, especially if you are a typically outgoing and extrovert person, but start to notice how people around you are affected by your silence as well. Silence does not mean you stay away from people or don’t answer their emails, but that when eye to eye you try to stay more centered at your own core individual.
Being there for others might give them more energy, rather than demanding or expecting things from the people around you. Also breathing more deeply may keep you better centered in your own heart and stomach. Listen more and ask more questions with an honest approach were you actually intend to listen to the answers you get.
Listen with your heart
In fact, if everyone got a little less critical, listened more and sensed the needs of others, everyone would benefit from it. In jobs like the prison system or psychiatric institutions listening are favorable skills you often learn during education. That of course can be practiced other places as well. Between parents and children, and loved ones, more calmness and listening can calm some rough waters. Instead of criticizing to harshly or jumping to conclusions, listen with more affection and earn your trust.
This does not mean you have to accept everyone coming into your life criticizing you. You have every right to stop someone from hurting you or step away from the situation, but sometimes in work or other relationships we need to work it out.
We need to keep sensing the feelings and needs behind words, also taking some feedback in a proper way. When somebody is negative, there are needs or feelings to be met behind their negativity. Dig a little deeper to see this emotional state of mind and try to accept it.
Ask yourself how you are contributing to the situation and try to understand the feedback you get. Even if you have every reason to be angry, you also have the choice of how to deal with it. Here might be multiple choices that seem right. Communication is an art.
Healing old wounds
Rosenberg suggests a step on the way is to become more aware that sometimes there are also old hurts that needs healing. It doesn’t even have to do with you, but sometimes people and kids need healing and comfort even if they don’t say it.
Empathy is the first stage of healing, accepting what is going on in the other person, seeing it, embracing it as if it was your own. Rosenberg says that empathetic connecting with other people requires the precious gift of being so present that you don’t bring in things from the past that may block the empathy.
This may be why some inmates from the Norwegian prison system has reported back that it was better for their motivation talking to a philosopher with a more positive mind rather than a psychologist that talked about your past. It might appear as a disconnection.
The magic of compassion
Rosenberg is referring to the energy of empathy, the compassion and heartfelt “presence” necessary for healing to take place. These techniques are not often taught at elementary schools or very broad in our community, so it’s important that we teach ourselves, training our skills in compassion. Dalai Lama has also written several books on these subjects.
One quote from Dalai Lama is: “Love and compassion are necessities. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” He believes all suffering is caused by ignorance.
“People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their own happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of inner peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, love and compassion, and the elimination of ignorance, selfishness and greed.”
Rosenberg says that magic happens when we learn to listen and speak from the heart, so let the magic begin- start working on your compassion.
Tekst: Anne Marie P. Monsen
Kilder: Wikipedia 2018
Rosenberg, M. (2012): Living Nonviolent Communication- practical tools to connect and communicate skillfully in every situation. Sounds True.