In order to have assertive and non-violent communication, it is necessary to put yourself in the other’s place, recognize differences, listen actively and control emotions so as not to offend or hurt others.
Learning to listen to others with respect for their opinions and ideas is the key to achieving assertive communication and not making the mistake of communicating violently (passive-aggressive). When in relationships with children, partner, friends, and even at work, we communicate violently, we will receive a response in the same terms, because it will be the response mechanism of those who feel attacked. Violent communication is one in which thoughts, feelings, or needs are expressed through words or actions (non-verbal communication) in an aggressive, offensive, hostile, provocative, or dominant manner.
According to the American psychologist Marshall Rosenberg, who developed the nonviolent communication model more than 60 years ago in his work “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life”, all our actions must be based on satisfying genuine needs without any detriment of the people around us . To do this, one must start from four components: observation (what do I see?), feeling (what do I feel?), needs (what do I need?) and request (what do I ask for?).
But why is it sometimes complex to achieve non-violent communication? According to Gabriela Balaguera Rojas, psychologist and representative of the Epistemology and History of Psychology Field of the Colombian College of Psychologists (Colpsic), it is due to several reasons. “It may be due to learned communication patterns that define the tone of voice and the intention of what we say. Also, because we are not clear with the message, generating confusion or misunderstandings, or the other understands something very different from what we want to say. This is because behavior patterns, social norms, expectations, even the meaning of gestures, expressions or words vary from one culture to another , ” he explained.
Added to this, explains the expert, because what the other says is not listened carefully, due to lack of genuine interest in their opinions, assumptions or judgments.
Assertive communication and expressing what we want without violence
Sometimes fatigue, stress, physical or mental exhaustion and some day-to-day frustration block the ability to communicate assertively with others , deteriorating relationships and even generating more conflicts and tensions. At times like these, the best way, according to experts, is to resort to honesty, expressing the external factors that affect us and that do not allow us to listen with respect, and validate the opinions and emotions of the other. In order to take concrete actions to avoid hurting or hurting the other.
“Violent communication can have various negative consequences, both emotionally and relationally, such as emotional disorders, which is when the victim feels frustration and displeasure, which can weaken their self-esteem and the aggressor usually experiences feelings of lack of control, anger and frustration, which entails to low self-esteem. It also affects social relationships, people who associate with aggressive people are emotionally and psychologically exhausted, so they move away , ”explains Laura Patricia Ortiz Cárdenas, psychologist and master’s degree in education.
In the work context, the aggressive person is recognized because he does not like to work in a team, he is not willing to negotiate and listen to other opinions. In addition, it is difficult for him to accept authority figures, which will affect not only his relationships with his colleagues, but even losing his job.
“ Nonviolent communication is connection, empathy with others . Protect our needs without forgetting the needs of the people with whom we have a relationship. It is expressing our ideas and emotions without the intention of offending and attacking the other, not only with rude or vulgar words, but in some way that makes them feel negatively affected”, says Ortiz Cárdenas.
5 keys to nonviolent communication
- Putting yourself in the place of others: Being empathic allows you to understand and share the feelings of others, see things from the other’s perspective. Adopt a respectful position towards different ways of thinking.
- Set limits and learn to negotiate: Being assertive is the art of knowing how to say no, with respect and education, without offending or hurting. It is to communicate our needs, expectations and preferences to others, and are established to protect well-being and self-esteem.
- Recognize and control emotions: Allows a harmonious communication process, avoiding conflicts, misinterpretations. Through deep breathing it is possible to manage and channel the different types of emotions, whether positive or negative.
- Listen actively, do not assume: Interpreting the message that comes from another person, correctly, is the responsibility of the listener. You must have an open mind to listen without making value judgments.
- Take care of non-verbal language: What is said with words must be aligned with gestures, tone of voice, posture, movements, facial expression and gestures, all of which allows assertive communication.