There are some people in my life who are just great at resolving conflicts. They observe without judgement. They share their feelings. They focus on the issue (not the person). They speak clearly.  

These people are applying the concepts of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) — even if they aren’t doing it consciously.

I remember the first time I heard about NVC. At first, the name threw me off. I thought, “I’m not violent, what does this have to do with me?” It turns out, a lot.

NVC offers a simple framework for communication, particularly in tense moments when emotions are in full force. It allows for both compassionate and effective conversations. 

The four steps of NVC are:

- Observe without judgement.
- Share how you are feeling (but be careful not to confuse feelings with thoughts; more on this in the guide).
- Describe how your hope or need was not met by focusing on the issue, not the person.
- Offer a clear request with concrete action.

I was recently on the receiving end of someone who applied NVC during a difficult conversation. Rather than tense up and become defensive, I was able to relax my stance and be much more open. I am pretty sure this approach prevented our disagreement from ballooning into something much bigger.

I think this concept is so important, I’ve included a snapshot of this section from our new Compassion Guide as an image below. In it, you will see we break down NVC in a practical and actionable way. Give it a read and consider how this approach might influence your next challenging conversation.

An inside look at two pages of the Holstee Compassion Guide:
NVC Overview in the Holstee Compassion Guide
NVC Overview in the Holstee Compassion Guide

Members can view the full guide here or by texting ‘compassion guide’ to our chatbot, Maslow, at +1 (917) 336-1101.

We also have a handful of Printed Compassion Guides (and the beautiful letterpress art that comes with them) still available.

With respect and compassion,

Mike Radparvar
Co-Founder, Holstee

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This article is part of our series on the theme of Compassion.

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Our Themes

Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.