If you don’t know NVC, there are plenty of websites and videos of Marshall Rosenberg (NVC's creator) explaining what it is. NVC is commonly referred to as a four step process called OFNR.
- Observation: what do I see (in a factual way)?
- Feelings: what do I feel regarding what I am observing?
- Needs: what do I need in this particular situation?
- Request: what can I do to meet my need?
I am going to try and give my own definition of Nonviolent Communication. For me, it is first and foremost a very powerful way to communicate with oneself. More than communicate, I should say connect with oneself. We usually want to learn how to enhance our communication skills with others but we forget to listen what is going on inside of us. NVC, reminds or teaches us, that we have feelings and needs. Feelings give us a hint of what our needs might be. Needs give us the reason we do what we do. Marshall Rosenberg says that there is a need behind every human action. What does that mean?
It means that if I need to breathe, my actions will be led by this need. To take an extreme example, I will first get out of the house on fire to breathe and then I might be able to talk to you. It simply cannot be the other way around without dramatic consequences.
We are well aware of needs like, breathing, eating, resting or drinking. But we tend to forget that we have a need for connection, harmony, authenticity, creativity and so on. The list is long. There is no hierarchy between needs. The need that matters most in one moment can change in the next.
I like to summarize NVC like this: feelings and needs are all that matters.