Taking the agro out of the day-to-day: Non violent Communication

‘Agro’ = to create hostility in others, causing them to attack you. Taken from the urban dictionary.

Stress, and lack of time make us ‘short’; we spit out what we’ve got in our mind, which is often a concoction of whatever else is going on (work issues, flood of emails, too many messages, phone calls, no time to eat, an unfriendly bus driver…) however this is probably the best way to end up wasting more time in an argument, than actually communicating what we needed to.

Having worked in various offices, some of them open plan, I noticed how polluting aggression can be. If you overhear someone shout, swear, grunt at whatever has just flown their way, it attracts attention, and spreads negativity.

Usually more people then get involved, get worked up, (blood pressure rising, standing up, walking around, fists in the air,…) and while this drama may be some form of bonding, and showing support for each other, it can create a massive distraction – mentally and physically – without actually changing anything.

I worked with someone who would make some negative remark about everyone who called on the phone, while he was switching them through to me, which in return made me feel bad about speaking to them, these were our clients!!!

We can’t stop bad news from entering our lives, but we can control how we respond to them, especially in the first 3 seconds of receiving them.

Try it out: count to 3 before you do anything; just check what your body is doing at this moment. What is that sensation?

If we accept that words can be weapons, do we really want to hurt people, or do we want a solution or a discussion, or just be listened to?

Speaking for myself, I realize that most of the time, when I’m narky, I probably just want to communicate that I’m feeling under pressure/tired/stressed/, and doing that without much success. Aggression doesn’t give me sympathy in return.

We’ve all fallen into habits of speech – words and tone of voice. Aggressive questioning (What did you do that for?) will most likely bring a defensive response, and counter attack, thus creating conflict, and still not actually addressing the issue at hand.

But in most cases of day-to-day exchanges NON VIOLENT COMMUNICATION will save us from a lot of unnecessary arguments, and the emotional upheaval they bring.

When I listen to the news, I often wonder how many world conflicts could be avoided ifthe urge to want to be right is resisted, and language is given more consideration and time.

I’ve tried it out at home, it really works!

To see Non violent communication in action: here are three little videos based on Marshall Rosenberg’s Book and teaching: ‘Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life’, videos by Newt Bailey.