“Non-violent Communication,” a theory/technique/philosophy of communication (and of life) created by Marshall Rosenberg, has changed my life in really positive ways in the past year. It’s given me ways of looking at myself and others and my relationships that I don’t know if I’d ever have discovered on my own. It’s helped me as a parent. It’s shown me a way out of the pain of constant anger over the nation’s political system.
And now it’s time for me to say goodbye.
Well, not really. I don’t think I’ll ever leave behind the lessons I’ve learned trying to practice NVC. I don’t want to stop learning more about this way of relating to people. It’s done good things for me and I’m sure it’s got more to teach me.
But it’s hurting my effort at living mindfully.
You see, for all it bills itself as a technique of communication, NVC is also a worldview, a way of understanding human life. It’s a picture of the world. And I’m a sucker, as I’ve said, for worldviews, theories, that claim to be “the real truth,” the little-known inside scoop on reality which if you know it makes everything easier. And accepting a particular model of reality, a particular way of understanding the world, as *the* way of understanding the world, is a mindfulness-killer.
Here’s the tip-off: you’re following instructions and you don’t get the results they promised. You don’t question the value of these instructions for you, you question your own value, ability, competence, worthiness. That’s a dead giveaway.
So I’m gonna back off. I’m going to stop making a conscious effort to use NVC in my parenting and other parts of my life, at least for a while. I’m going to open my mind to other ways of thinking about things. I’ve got it there as a way of looking at things but I’m not going to make it *the* way of looking at things.
I think even Marshall would approve. After all, he called his book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, not Nonviolent Communication, The Language Of Life.