The power of a non-violent communication

Today is the International Day of Non-Violence, takes on special importance, In an era of increasing intense conflicts, violent extremism, migration and humanitarian emergencies, the courage and determination of Mahatma Gandhi, who was born on this date, should be inspiring for everyone. Gandhi showed the peaceful opposition power to counter hate and oppression and has demonstrated that cooperation and tolerance can prevail over injustice.

Around us there are people who “give from the heart” and use a non-violent language, Gandhi was surely one of them; but there are also other people who don’t give with the heart and with their language increased violence in the world.

The non-violent communication, founded in the 60’s by Marshall Rosenberg[1], is inspired by the philosophy of Gandhi. This system could be really useful in the era in which we live, the information technology and communication. People communicate more quickly and badly. Loneliness, misunderstanding, lack of deep relationships and fear of the other are increasing, and they are all factors that promote hatred, extremism, and racism.

Why use nonviolent communication?

With the casual and rough use of the words, we contribute, without realizing it, the violent structuring of our social relations. Even when we do not consider “violent” the way we speak, our words often lead to pain and injury to ourselves and of others[2]. The aim of non-violent communication is basically to empathize with the other person and thus achieves the best solution for both parties.

With the conscious communication and non-violent we can free ourselves from the customs and language and behavioural unconscious conditioning, and we learn to accept and take charge of our own needs and feelings, to express our thoughts in words not judging, separate and increase the conflict but with words that they reconcile. This type of communication promotes respect, attention, empathy and generates a mutual desire to give from the heart, in a nutshell, strengthens our ability to remain human, even under difficult conditions.

How is it possible to communicate in a non-violent way?

To begin in a nonviolent way to communicate just follow 4 simple steps that help to express their emotions, to be heard and understand others staying connected with their needs.

  1. Observe what is happening in a given situation.

Observe what is happening around us, without judging or introduce any assessment, but simply expressing our opinion on what other people do or say that we can like it or not.

  1. To identify and express emotions and feelings.

We become aware of what is happening around us, what we are experiencing. We try to understand what emotions we experience than some situations, which are activated reactions to the other’s behaviour to facilitate communication than what we are experiencing right at that moment. Give voice to our emotions becomes a self-conscious way to really understand what we are experiencing.

  1. To recognize the needs and values.

The feelings, the thoughts, the emotions are signals that help to understand what we need and what is important to us. The clarity with which we understand allows us to identify and be close to those of the other.

  1. To express clear and negotiable demands.

Starting from the awareness and recognition of our real needs, we learn to formulate concrete demands, comprehensive, effective, empathetic, respecting ourselves and others. We learn to ask avoiding giving orders, manipulate or try to force the other to do what we want.

Nonviolent Communication is an approach that can be applied effectively at all levels of communication and in different situations: personal relationships, family, school, organizations and institutions, therapies and counselling, diplomatic and trade relations.

Perhaps if everyone could learn a bit to practice this type of communication in our daily lives to relate to others, the world would change for the better, do not you think so? By Valeria Casadei


  1. Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D., “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life”, 2005 second edition, A PuddleDancer Press Book.
  2. http://www.vividonbosco.it/attachments/article/55/Le%20parole%20sono%20finestre.pdf 
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