I am NOT Violent

by Dorothy Ann Cole

The more I learned and experienced and benefited, the more I wanted to teach others and to spread the word. I now conduct workshops, teach a university graduate class, and joined the board of the state organization, Oregon Network for Compassionate Communication (ORNCC) at www.orncc.net.*  What am I talking about?  I am talking about how to give EMPATHY!!

Foreign Language
Learning the Language of Peace, also known at Nonviolent Communication (NVC) created by Marshall Rosenberg, is a lot like learning a foreign language. It does take practice. I decided to become a certified trainer, so I am going through the process now. Part of the training is to teach and practice NVC and to live it. So I use it with my partner, my family and friends, in my classes and my counseling. I use it with strangers too. Recently, I used it with a deputy sheriff. Man, was he startled. He probably never has a person really listen to him.

A Compliment May Be Violent
“Wow! A compliment is a violent statement. I can’t believe it! I compliment people all the time. I want to make them feel good. How could this be violent?” Ah, my thoughts exactly.

If you heard me say, “You are ugly,” you would probably get that this is a violent statement. However, when you hear me say, “You are beautiful,” it probably surprises you to learn that both of these statements are judgments. The content may be different, but the construct of the sentences is the same. When I tell you what I think you are, I am judging you. Who am I to tell you what you are, to judge or criticize you? This is the nature of violence in our language and most of us do not realize it.

When we judge, criticize, analyze, diagnose, or evaluate another person, we are engaging in communication which Marshall Rosenberg characterizes as “life-alienating”. In contrast, most of us derive joy from helping others, which is “life-serving” or “making life more wonderful.” NVC can help us learn how to make life more wonderful for ourselves, our families, our friends, and even our work places.

Global NVC
NVC is being used in over 77 countries on the world, by individuals, couples, families, and in schools, social agencies, and prisons. In schools, the bullying rate drops over 50% and the academic performance increases.
Dr. Rosenberg, founded the Center for Nonviolent Communication, (www.cnvc.org) and developed the model for NVC. He teaches NVC all over the world, and he does mediation in war torn countries.

Change your Life
Having not spoken with my mother for over a year without pain, I am now able to have a joyful conversation with her. In fact, she recently asked me to email my teaching materials because she would like to learn more about NVC. It warmed my heart.

Compassionate Communication is transforming my life. I have received tremendous healing benefits from learning this way of speaking, more too, in this way of being, with myself and with others. I have witnessed many of my friends and clients become more peaceful, serene and tranquil. They are happier people.

I figure this is a good way to change the world. As one person said to me,
“Yes, you are changing the world, one sentence at a time.”
I invite you to join me.

The gifts of Nonviolent Communication are to be heard,
to be understood, and to be accepted.
~ Dorothy Ann Cole

*This article was originally written in 2003.