If we could just say, "Here are the needs of both sides. Here are the resources. What can be done to meet these needs?," conflicts would be easily resolved. But instead, our thinking is focused on dehumanizing one another with labels and judgments until even the simplest of conflicts becomes very difficult to solve. NVC helps us avoid that trap, thereby enhancing the chances of reaching a satisfying resolution.
For the longest time, I didn't understand what being judgmental means. Friends have proposed that it is making judgments that hurt the other person's feelings. That could be the case but it's pretty to hard to know what statement would hurt someone''s feelings. We often say things that unintentionally hurt people. Fortunately, I came across nonviolent communication and Marshall Rosenberg's poem perfectly captures the meaning of "judgmental".
I can handle your telling me
What I did or didn’t do.
And I can handle your interpretations
But please don’t mix the two.
If you want to confuse any issue,
I can tell you how to do it:
Mix together what I do
With how you react to it.
Tell me you’re disappointed
With the unfinished chores you see,
But calling me “irresponsible”
Is no way to motivate me.
And tell me that you’re feeling hurt
When I say “no” to your advances,
But calling me a frigid man
Won’t increase your future chances.
Yes, I can handle your telling me
What I did or didn’t do,
And I can handle your interpretations,
But please don’t mix the two.
I read this very short book in July 2019. It is a spin off of Marshall Rosenberg's world famous book 'Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life' and specifically focuses on how to handle anger the NVC way. I learned that how we feel is the result of how we interpret the behaviour of others at any given moment.
The first step in handling our anger using NVC is to be conscious that the stimulus, or trigger, of our anger is not the cause of our anger. That is to say that it isn't simply what people do that makes us angry, but it's something within us that responds to what they do that is really that cause of the anger. This requires us to be able to separate the trigger from the cause. The second step is to be conscious that it is our evaluation of people--in the form of judgments that imply wrongness--that causes our anger. The third step involves looking for the need that is the root of our anger. The judgments we make of other people--which cause our anger--are really alienated expressions of unmet needs. The fourth step is to make a clear, present request of what we want from the other person in relationship to our feelings and unmet needs. We need to ask ourselves: "What do we want the other person to do differently than what they are now doing?" and "What do we want the other person's reasons to be for doing what we want them to do?"
Marshall Rosenberg proposes that vengeance is a distorted cry for empathy. Our real need is for those who hurt us to understand how we have suffered. We want them to hear the pain that goes on in our heart when they said certain things. We want them to see what needs of ours do not get met when he said that. We do not want to blame that person. To fully express our anger means putting our entire consciousness on the need that isn't getting met. There is a need that isn't getting met in there. We have to get that need met. We need the energy to motivate us to get that need met.
1. Identify the stimulus for our anger, without confusing it with the evaluation.
2. Identify the internal image or judgment that is making us angry.
3. Transform this judgmental image into the need that it is expressing; in other words, bring our full attention to the need that is behind the judgment.