Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, the author of Non-Violent Communication: A Language of Life says that violent communication is the use of words “in ways that result in harm, … with moralistic judgments, evaluations, criticisms, demands, coercion, or labels of “right” versus “wrong. Speaking and thinking in these ways often leads to inner wounds, which in turn often evolve into depression, anger or physical violence.”
If your inner voice is harsh, critical and demeaning, it’s definitely not helping you live the life you’re capable of living. It’s keeping you small. It’s keeping you stuck in judging, labeling, criticizing, commanding, demanding, threatening, blaming, accusing and ridiculing yourself, even when it looks like it’s directed at others.
Combine this with the insidious nature of negative self-talk and you’ve got a recipe for regret, anger, bitterness and emotional self-harm.
When Jealousy Is A Wake-up Call
How do I know? Because my self-talk kept me from noticing a crush.
A twang of jealousy was my first wake-up call. There was a moment when I saw my crush talking to someone else and the comparison monster popped the thought – ‘yeah they make a much nicer couple’ into my foremind. I hit snooze and still didn’t get it.
A year passed.
It was brought to my extreme consciousness when another person, after having observed my crush and me talking, asked me if I wanted them to set me up with my crush. My actions during that interaction helped me see and hear my own violent self-talk.
My automatic self-talk was saying and I was believing it without resistance – ‘no one wants to date me‘.
Yet I realize these six little words have been controlling my relationships and lack thereof far longer than just the last year. How many relationships have I avoided because of this thought? I can’t ever know for certain.
What Can Non-Violent Communication Do for Negative Self-Talk?
What action can I take now that I realize my self-talk is impeding the life I want to live?
Now that I’m very conscious of the thought, ‘no one wants to date me’, just telling myself that I’m datable and likable and worthy, isn’t quite enough. Affirming it wasn’t going to be enough to overcome the deep rut engrained in this thought.
I decided to apply the principles of Non-Violent Communication to this insipid bit of self-talk that had me blind to my own crushing.
The four components of NVC are:
- Observation of the situation. See, hear, imagine and/or remember the situation without judgment, evaluation or comparison. State the facts.
- Identify a feeling based on the observation of the situation. I am feeling sad, is not the same thing as you make me feel sad. Feelings are always personal and not caused by someone else.
- Identify the need or desire. This is always personal and not about an expectation from someone else.
- State your request. Clearly request what you need with specific and kind words. No coercion, demands or guilt.
- Bonus – Obtain feedback. Check in with yourself, in the case of using NVC on self-talk or with the person you’re communicating with, if you’re having a conversation.
I use the NVC process on the thought ‘no one wants to date me’.
While I haven’t had the opportunity to talk to my crush again since doing this process, I can definitely sense a difference in my thoughts around dating and relationships.
What’s your experience with Non-Violent Communication? Is there some self-talk or someone in your life where this process might enrich your relationship? Share in the comments.
Until next time,
Live. Love. Explore.