Criticism doesn’t work, NVC can work

I am perplexed.  Why is it that when we want to get a change of behaviour from a fellow human being we condemn, criticise and blame?  What makes us think that these behaviours will create affinity with our fellow human beings and get them to give us what we want?

As a human being I want to get along with my fellow human beings- especially those that are in my inner circle.  Not only do I want to get along I want people to like me.   I want to be included not excluded. I want people to think highly of me.  Even that is not enough I want affinity even intimacy with a select few. That means I want to close the emotional and the physical gap between me and the people that matter to me.

If I am a normal human being what do I do – automatically?  I judge. I criticise.  I condemn.  Who do I criticise?  The people closest to me – family, friends, neighbours, colleagues etc. What does that get me?  Distance – the one that is criticised withdraws, sulks, becomes aggressive or waits for the day that he can pay back in kind.  Why does that happen?  Most human beings are fragile: even without being aware of it we are constantly looking for approval, we detest being put down and we strive to avoid or punish those that put us down.

It strikes me that if I want to create affinity with another human being then the tools to use are acknowledgement, praise and saying ‘thank you’.  These tools are particularly important if there is any distance in the relationship and I want to reduce that distance. Only when the distance is closed is the time right to ask for what I want in a way that works.   Marshall Rosenberg has developed such a method: NVC – Non Violent Communication; he has written a book called Non Voilent Communication.

So why is it that whilst excellent communication methods exist to bridge the gap between me and you, you and I continue to use the tried and tested methods that create greater distance and greater enmity?

I forgive you as I get that I do not often / always practice what I preach.  Can you grant me what you grant yourself often – forgiveness and acceptance?

Author: Maz Iqbal

Experienced management consultant working at the intersection of strategy, customer, and technology. Combine a tendency to think strategically with a penchant for getting my hands dirty at the coalface of implementation.

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