Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life


Chapter 7 - Receiving Empathically

The two parts of NVC:

  1. expressing honestly
  2. receiving empathically
  • Empathy: emptying our mind and listening with our whole being.
  • Ask before offering advice or reassurance.
  • Intellectual understanding blocks empathy.
  • No matter what others say, we only hear what they are (1) observing, (2) feeling, (3) needing, and (4) requesting.
  • Listen to what people are needing rather than what they are thinking.
  • When asking for information, first express our own feelings and needs.
  • Reflect back messages that are emotionally charged.
  • Paraphrase only when it contributes to greater compassion and understanding.
  • Behind intimidating messages are merely people appealing to us to meet their needs.
  • A difficult message becomes an opportunity to enrich someone’s life.
  • Paraphrasing saves time.
  • When we stay with empathy, we allow speakers to touch deeper levels of themselves.
  • We know a speaker has received adequate empathy when (1) we sense a release of tension, or (2) the flow of words comes to a halt.
  • We need empathy to give empathy.

Chapter 8 - Power of Empathy

  • Empathy allows us “to reperceive [our] world in a new way and to go on.”
  • “Don’t just do something….”
  • It’s harder to empathize with those who appear to possess more power, status, or resources.
  • The more we empathize with the other party, the safer we feel.
  • We “say a lot” by listening for other people’s feelings and needs.
  • Rather than put your “but” in the face of an angry person, empathize.
  • When we listen for feelings and needs, we no longer see people as monsters.
  • It may be difficult to empathize with those who are closest to us.
  • Empathizing with someone’s “no” protects us from taking it personally.
  • To bring a conversation back to life: interrupt with empathy.
  • What bores the listener bores the speaker too.
  • Speakers prefer that listeners interrupt rather than pretend to listen.
  • Empathize with silence by listening for the feelings and needs behind it.
  • Empathy lies in our ability to be present.