So, your friend is not thrilled about your fascination with learning NVC…

(Note: NVC is an abbreviation for Nonviolent Communication, a fluid, ever-evolving language process created by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. It is also sometimes referred to as Compassionate Communication, and is based on universal human feelings and needs, the giving of empathy, and making humble requests rather than demands.)

Dear friends,
Here’s another piece of my “NVC in Real Life” series…though this one is based in ancient times.  It’s almost as long as War and Peace, or the Mahabharata, and includes an abbreviated version of a spiritual tale that my own spiritual mentor (Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj) once shared in a book called Spiritual Awakening.

At our July 18th gathering I shared a story about the mystic poet/master, Hafiz, and a famous couplet he wrote.  The point was to illustrate how attached we sometimes get to certain forms and strategies, almost in a rigid, religious way. We can even get attached to the philosophy of NVC itself.  Remember that NVC teachings are, after all, strategies for communicating about our feelings and needs, strategies for practicing the giving of compassion and empathy to self and others.  It may be a highly conscious and sophisticated one, methodical and powerful, but it is a strategy nonetheless. Marshall is one widely known expert, but there are others out there with varying techniques and philosophies.

At times, a person may feel rebellious against disciplined programs, methods or techniques.  They may somehow see these as forms of dogma. They may, at times, need absolute freedom and autonomy and space to deal with the pain of their unmet needs in their own unique way.  Of course, blind, iconoclastic rebellion for its own sake may keep someone from seeing the value in anything.  Like the James Dean movie character who is asked what he’s rebelling against.  He responds, “Whatcha got?”  Whatever it is, he’ll rebel against it!
Now, back to the famous couplet by Hafiz, the mystic who only wrote the first half, or hemi-stitch of the couplet:

“If your master orders you to dye your prayer mat with wine, do so.”

This caused an uproar, as wine is strictly prohibited by religious Muslims, and alcohol drinkers are considered infidels.

The emperor of Persia got word of this hemi-stitch from the crazed master Hafiz, and ordered the emperor’s own caliph to investigate before giving in to public pressure to execute the master.

The caliph was a gentle, wise soul.  When he found Hafiz he told the master that he believed the rest of the couplet would make everything clear, yet he could not understand it at this point.  Hafiz told the caliph to travel further, to a mystic friend of Hafiz who lived on a hillock not far away.

The caliph took the journey by foot, and told Hafiz’s friend the situation. The mystic friend told the caliph to go to the house of a certain prostitute who lived in a nearby town.  The caliph went, but was confused by the run-around which seemed to be avoiding the answer to the couplet.  The caliph felt angry and frustrated, hurling harshly judgmental thoughts at both Hafiz and his friend.

At the prostitute’s house, a young girl sat nervously in the waiting room.  Talking to her, the caliph learned that she’d been kidnapped from her parents home when she was a little girl, and she was sold to this house of prostitution.  She’d led a pure life up until today, but the owner of the house, the prostitute, was away and the young girl had been told she must fill in for her.  It would be her first job as a prostitute, and her first client was the caliph.  She was terrified.

Talking more about her kidnapping, her age, the street her family lived on, the family name, etc., the caliph realized this was HIS OWN long-lost daughter!  He paid whatever they wanted to release her, took her hand and walked back to the mystic friend of Hafiz.

Now he was crying for joy, feeling deep gratitude and humility.  He apologized to the mystic for doubting and judging him so harshly in his mind.  The mystic told him to take his daughter back to Hafiz and ask him to reveal the other half of the couplet, the hemistitch, as it is called.  Hafiz then revealed it:

“The one who guides you is never unaware of the intricacies and pitfalls of the path.”

So, back to master Steve (LOL):  I’d like to say that even if someone does not see as much value in NVC philosophy or practice as you do, even if they don’t share your enthusiasm for profound emotional truth, vulnerability, openness and sharing, compassion or empathic connection… remember that they are merely saying “no” at this time in their life, and maybe just for a time, and maybe for all time.

Marshall suggests that “no” is a gift if we unwrap it patiently to discover the truth in it.  The nay-sayer is giving us the gift of honesty, telling us that they still have some unmet needs. Only after all those needs for understanding and safety are met, they might, on their own, become interested in joining us in learning and practicing NVC.

If a friend seems to feel deeply bothered by your increasing use of NVC language, and if he feels even more annoyed at your requests for him to take an interest in learning NVC… remember you have a choice.  You can respect your friend’s “no” completely, and try to find out what his unmet needs and painful feelings are around NVC. Or you can even choose to talk with him the way you used to before learning NVC, if that will meet your friend’s needs for reconnection, comfort, safety and respect of his emotional privacy.

If a time comes when you have all the compassionate, empathic, NVC-oriented friends you could possibly want, and you no longer want to talk the pre-NVC way to old friends, then of course those older friendships may fade away in time.

So my first hemi-stitch is:  “If friend develops frustration or hatred against the use of NVC…”

And my second hemi-stitch is:  “This does not mean the friendship cannot continue to develop in love, with patience, kindness and humility.”

About swpollack

I’m an independent mediator and collaborative communication coach who can help you to co-create greater ease, connection and mutual understanding in your personal and professional relationships. As a non-traditional specialist, my aim is to get concrete results for my clients in a fraction of the time usually required by traditional therapy and counseling. Please visit my business website: . The emotion-based coaching work I do is deeply therapeutic, yet I am neither a psychologist nor a psychotherapist. Instead I work with a holistic, empathic process called compassionate, nonviolent communication. I also facilitate ongoing support groups for people who want to learn this organic process of nonjudgmental communication to help build bridges of connection, harmony, collaboration and understanding. For more about my Build Compassionate Relationships meetup group, visit: . I’ve been offering these services to the public since 2000 in the greater Miami and Fort Lauderdale area, as well as by phone and through Skype conferencing. . Nonviolent Communication is a process developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg. It’s based on a very pure, nonjudgmental language of feelings, needs and requests. I’ve found this to be a powerful tool in my mediation work which involves bringing two or more people together despite a painful history of conflict.
This entry was posted in NVC. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to So, your friend is not thrilled about your fascination with learning NVC…

  1. diablo 3 says:

    Hello, I believe your website may very well be possessing browser compatibility concerns. When I appear at your internet site in Safari, it seems to be great but when opening in World wide web Explorer, it’s got some overlapping. I just needed to provide you with a fast heads up! Other then that, great website!

  2. I received excellent information from a website

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *