User:White Eagle/Nonviolent Communication

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A recent conflict between two members of our WikiEducator community calls on me to propose a way of communicating with each other that was developed by Marshall B. Rosenberg, a psychologist from Denver.
It is called Non-violent Communication (, because it enables us to deal with conflicts in a peaceful way.
I’ll try to explain in my own words.
All of us know situations like this: You want something and someone else just stands in your way and wants something else that gets in conflict with your interest. So you start quarrelling, each one pushes, the whole thing escalates and you end with a big bang of shouting and tears, followed by feelings of fear or guilt, and finally you have wasted so much energy on the conflict, that you regret having started it up. So why don’t we take a less straining approach?
O. k., now imagine you could see such a conflict of interests as a chance to deepen your knowledge of life. Who am I, that I have this interest? What need of mine is behind, and is even so strong, that I get angry when it is not being met? And who is the other person, what is her interest, her need behind? It’s so amazing how different we are and how equal! And when we have understood all this in a satisfactory way, how can we collaborate to meet both of our needs? How can we show each other, how the other one can contribute to our wellbeing?
We need not push or force each other to do something we want (this is violent), but we could formulate a proper request.

Here in WikiEducator and in other online communities we deal with each other in a very virtual way. We don’t see the partner, don’t see each others mimic and gestures, we don’t even hear each others voices. And our idea who the other person “is”, is often extremely limited. Maybe we even project experiences we made with other persons into our partner, assuming we know “people like him” very well. If now interests collide, conflicts even come up easier like in a face-to-face situation.
My proposal how we can avoid conflicts, and especially the escalation of conflicts, is a certain scheme in non-violent communication. It is composed of four steps.
1) First, we say what we are observing.
(Example: “I read your last post on NC-sectarianism.”)
2) Then we state the feelings, that arise in us as a consequence of our observation.
(Example: “I get envious when I see you drawing so much attention to your work. Therefore I get angry, feel like hurting you.”)
3) We explain each other, what our underlying needs are.
(Example: “I would like my own contributions to be more appreciated.”)
4) We say what we would like to happen, f. ex. by formulating a request.
(Example: “Would you please cancel this post.”)
Probably this is not the end of the conflict, but now the other partner can reply without feeling offended and offer his own point of view.
The most difficult part in the whole thing is to get clear of ones own basic needs, but like always in life, the greatest challenges are also the greatest chances.

I’d like to add another dimension: Marshall Rosenberg always repeats saying that anger is a natural reaction to unnatural thinking. If we could all learn more peaceful ways of thinking, grounded on empathy and even compassion for each other, many conflicts on this planet could be avoided. Conflicts that may finally even result in wars! If we as WikiEducators want to educate millions of young people all over the world, we should be aware of the global responsibility we have. The way we deal with each other may become the way our students learn to deal with others.

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