Nonviolent communication

Nonviolent Communication – Free Your Heart And Let It Listen & Talk Freely 

When I was in my early twenties I had the honor to meet Marshall Rosenberg in Copenhagen. Rosenberg was an American psychologist and peacemaker who founded Center for Nonviolent Communication (NVC), and a communication process that helps people to exchange the information necessary to resolve conflicts and differences peacefully.

I clearly remember just sitting there listing to this calm man speaking words of wisdom while he had hand dolls on both of his hands. It might sound odd but it made very much sense.

On one hand he had a giraffe and on the other hand he had a jackal. The giraffe symbolize communication from the heart of a centered person. The jackal symbolize communication from an un-centered person who most likely is hurt and isn’t clear of his or hers needs.  


Nonviolent communication


There isn’t anything new in the NVC principles. hey are based on historical principles of nonviolent communication – the natural state of compassion when no violence is present in the heart. NVC is a reminder of what we already know about how good it feels to authentically connect to ourselves and other human beings.    

Nonviolent & Violent Characteristics Symbolized With a Giraffe & a Jackal

To make it very simple to locate nonviolent communication Rosenberg uses a giraffe and a jackal. The giraffe is the symbol of nonviolent communication and the Jackal is the symbol of violent communication.

In the short overview you see below shows examples of some of the indicators that characterize human’s way of expressing nonviolent or violent communication. How do you communicate?   

The Nonviolent Giraffe

  • Know their own needs and values
  • Express themselves from: “I”
  • Have a open heart
  • Are non-judgmental
  • Are empathic
  • Are compassionate
  • Are Kind
  • Are Patient
  • Are Peaceful
  • Listen
  • Observe
  • Live in a “We” world
  • Deep on both inner and outer dialogs

The Violent Jackal 

  • Are not clear on their own needs and values
  • Express themselves from: “You”
  • Disconnected to their heart
  • Are judgmental
  • Are blaming
  • Are criticizing
  • Are angry
  • Are (Passive) aggressive
  • Are self-righteous
  • Are impatient
  • Live in a “Dog Eat Dog” world
  • Superficial in both inner and outer dialogs


Nonviolent communication


Nonviolent Communication Process – The 4 Basic Steps 

Want a closer look at nonviolent communication? Below is an introduction where focus is on communication from the heart. It is you who are X1 and X2. The one you are in dialog with is also X1 and X2. As we all know a good dialog is best when both parts take active part in the communication.

(The dialog can also be used in an inner dialog with yourself to get a deep & steady connection with yourself and your needs and values etc.)

Before you eager to the basic steps make sure that the heartfelt communication are clearly expressed from a “I am” without blaming or criticizing & empathically receiving how the other (you) are without hearing blame or criticism.

1. Observing – The Situation Without Evaluation, Blame or Judgment

  • X1: What I observe (see, hear, remember, imagine) that does or does not contribute to my well-being: “When I (see, hear)….”
  • X2: What you observe (see, hear, remember, imagine) that does or does not contribute to your well-being: “When you see/hear….” (to show the other part that you understand but sometimes unspoken when offering pure empathy)


2. Identifying – The Feelings That The Situation Brings Up

  • X1: How I feel (emotion or sensation rather than thought) in relation to what I observe: “I feel…”
  • X2: How you feel (emotion or sensation rather than thought) in relation to what you observe: “You feel…”


3. Digging Deeper To Identify What Needs Is Or Is Not Being Met

  • X1: What I need or value (rather than a preference or a specific action) that causes my feelings: “…..because I need/value….”
  • X2: What you need or value (rather than a preference or a specific action) that causes my feelings: “…..because you need/value….”


**X1: Clearly requesting that which would enrich my life without demanding

**X2: Empathically receiving that which would enrich your life without hearing any demand


4. Request Actions That Would (Better) Meet The Needs

  • X1: The concrete actions I would like taken: “Would you be willing to…?”
  • X2: The concrete actions you would like taken: “Would you like…?” (sometimes unspoken when offering empathy)


In case you are not used to communicate from your heart it might appear like something that makes communication take forever or so. As far as I remember that was one of my first thoughts when I listened to Rosenberg.

Well of cause it requires more than a twitter update but no worries with some practices and time it quickly becomes an integrated way of heartfelt communication or perhaps more correct a leading way of living from the heart. 

Because you turn into an observer of yourself, others and situations and becomes very clear in what you feel & value and understand how precious it is to listen without judgment but with respect and thereafter openly suggest possible solutions in a humane and powerful way.

In another way you can say that you take leadership of yourself and your overall life in a respectful way for you and others when you dig into nonviolent communication. No more disconnected and superficial cruising around in thoughts and life. When you use nonviolent and heartfelt communication: “BOOM” – you stand strong in you, your life and opens up to life in a strong and powerful way. Nice!


Nonviolent communication


Some Logic of Nonviolent Communication on a Larger Scale

When our communication supports compassionate understanding (also on a large scale), giving and receiving, happiness replaces violence and grieving!

When our communication is based on violence, hate, suppression and fear humans tend to create even more violence, hate, suppression and fear but also loneliness and illness etc which is dividing people not only in a person to person interaction but also within and between organizations, social structures, societies, countries – a global scale.  

If we for an example look at peaceful protests: they tend to be more effective than those of violence. In a simple way we can say that if a government is against a nonviolent uprising it will often reduce public support for the government because the majority of people do not like to violently be suppressed.

Most humans are very alike and want to be seen, accepted, respected and loved which in my humble opinion is so positive, a proof of life, passion, kindness and compassion.


Nonviolent communication


If we want to make relationships, organizations, social structures and societies etc productive in a life-giving and powerful way, we have to keep track of those whose requests are on the table – and in some way that count all of us. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said: A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus this I find to be a good statement about leadership within all areas of life.

With nonviolent communication we hear other person´s feelings and needs and we recognize our common humanity so we as humans together can solve issues and move on in a peaceful, life-giving and productive way. Which mean we can cultivate an atmosphere full of integrity, understanding, respect, life, togetherness, compassion, uplifting progress, kindness, good health, and creativity for the long term benefit of all – including positive benefits for our beautiful home Mother Earth and all other beautiful animals.!  


Nonviolent communication


I know that it might trick some emotional response if you are a “jackal” but please, take your time to calm yourself and find out why you are so hurt that you need to suppress others to feel just a little superficial better.  

Remember your emotions are all yours and have nothing to do with others. They are all your business and responsibility so please take good and loving care of you, your emotions and do some prober and harmonious about it – simply to feel good and make the world a better place for all. 

Nonviolent Optimizing Tips for Human “Jackals”

  • Slow down
  • Breathe
  • Relax
  • Take some time for yourself
  • Be willing to do better
  • Like yourself a little more
  • Enjoy silence
  • Get rid of old traumas
  • Observe more (internal and external)
  • Study love, joy and compassion
  • Remember: At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love. Just like Martin Luther King, Jr. said.
  • Love more
  • Learn from giraffes


Nonviolent communication


As you might sense now, nonviolent communication is super powerful. It can be used in so many situations both internally and externally by individuals, families, entrepreneurs, large corporations, governments etc. and on so many levels. 

Personally I sense that many situations and communication forms could be optimized simply by being inspired by or using these simple techniques of nonviolent communication – when we communicate from our hearts.  


Thank you for your time!



Nonviolent communication Christine Boegh


With Peace, Love & Uplifting Progress  

– Christine ?


?Your perception of me is a reflection of you?


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