Nonviolent Communication: Gandhian Principles for Everyday Living

by Miki Kashtan

One of the most frequent questions I hear when I speak about Nonviolent Communication is “Why Nonviolent?” People often hear the word nonviolent as a combination of two words, as a negation of violence. Since they don’t think of themselves as “violent,” the concept of “non-violence” doesn’t make intuitive sense, and appears foreign to them.

For some time, I felt similarly. I was happier when I heard people talk about Compassionate Communication instead of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) because it felt more positive. After all, the practice of NVC itself is about focusing on what we want and where we are going instead of looking at what’s not working. So why would the name not reflect this focus?

Like others, I was unaware of the long-standing tradition of nonviolence to which the practice of Nonviolent Communication traces its origins. Then I learned more about Gandhi’s work and the Civil Rights movement. That is when I fell in love with the name Marshall Rosenberg gave to this practice. That love has deepened over the years. Now I want to bring out the continuity so as to situate NVC within the tradition of nonviolence. I do this by exploring seven core principles of Gandhian nonviolence that are also reflected in the practice of NVC.

Read the full text here: Gandhian Principles for Everyday Living

Article is Copyright © Miki Kashtan 2012

EDITOR’S NOTE: Miki Kashtan Ph.D. is co-founder of San Francisco Bay Area Nonviolent Communication and is a noted NVC trainer and mediator. She hosted the Conflict Hotline, a monthly live call-in TV show on the Berkeley Community Media channel BETV, has her own blog site, and has published articles in Tikkun magazine, Waging Nonviolence, and elsewhere.

“When planted in the garden, the mustard seed, smallest of all the seeds, became a large tree, and birds came and made their home there.” Luke 13:19

“For me whatever is in the atoms and molecules is in the universe. I believe in the saying that what is in the microcosm of one’s self is reflected in the macrocosm.” M. Gandhi