How are observations used in nonviolent communication?
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a method of talking with others that helps you be more compassionate. Instead of judging, you make emotion-free observations.
Steps to NVC
NVC has four main steps:
Observation: You list specific observations, data, and facts. You speak without judgment.
Feeling: You state how you feel.
Need: You explain the underlying need or motivation driving your feeling.
Request: You make a specific request that can address your needs.
How Judgment-Free Observations Help NVC
The first step in NVC is to make judgment-free observations instead of using blaming or negative language. For example, if a father realizes that his daughter didn't study for a test, he might say that she is lazy and ungrateful. This type of language and observation can lead to a negative self-image.
Instead, judgment-free observations require the father to state facts with no judgments attached. He could say that the daughter didn't study for the test, leaving out the unsubstantiated and hurtful reasons as to why.
An indirect way of judging someone might be to compare them to someone else. For example, a man might say to his wife that she isn't exercising as much as all of his friends' wives. While this doesn't have an explicit judgment, one is implied. NVC suggests that we also avoid these types of statements.
In general, we should try to keep from evaluating other people. Words that may carry judgment include: always, never, frequently, and seldom.
By speaking only about the action instead of the other person's character, we help to avoid making them feel bad about themselves or putting them on the defensive. With judgment-free observations, we can use NVC to communicate more effectively.