Review: Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg

Marshall B. Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication; A Language of Life, is a life changing book. It is not so much that it focuses on topics that haven’t been touched upon before but rather that the topics are broached from a practical, how-to perspective. We all want to do better and live better and deal with others better but whilst it is all well and good to talk about our higher selves and communicating from a place of neutrality and peace, without clear, practical guidance on how to do this, the aim can be hard to execute.

Let’s shine the light of consciousness on places where we can hope to find what we are seeking.

Nonviolent Communication then is more of a work book for achieving peaceful and helpful communication with those around us. It encourages us to take responsibility for the way we feel and guides us to understand why we often feel unheard or ignored. It gives us practical advice on dealing with others and is an enlightening read that is all the more illuminating when read along with somebody we particularly wish to experience better communication with.

Learn how to hear needs regardless of how people express them.

NVC is based on four components: Observations; Feelings; Needs; Requests with the objective of arriving “at a mutual desire to give from the heart”. Each component is clearly set out and chapters end with reflections and exercises. The numerous examples of how NVC has been used to diffuse tense situations and allow clear and non-emotional communication are useful as they help us to understand how to apply what is being taught.

What others do may be the stimulus of our feelings, but not the cause.

Despite it’s usefulness and workbook-like structure, this is a gentle book that is a deeply nourishing and spiritual read. Nonviolent Communication offers you more the more you read it. Although instantly clear and frequently enlightening, a first read offers insights that only deepen on a second and third reading. There is a reason that this book continues to be a bestseller; it a book of hope and transformation. By replacing the emotion in our communications with logic and understanding, we are able to more easily communicate from that place of peace and neutrality that our higher selves operate from. By learning to see why confusion and misunderstandings occur in communication, we are able to avoid confrontational and defensive behaviour and “connect with each other and ourselves in a way that allows our natural compassion to flourish.”