I been learning about nonviolent communication (compassionate communication) for a while now, but I have yet to start using it within my language with others. Mostly because I'm afraid that my conversations will sound awkward, forced, or unnatural because I still feel insecure of my understanding about how to express myself using NVC. I'm also worry that by expressing my emotions to others, it will bring up conversations that I'm not really ready to have.

However, I have started using it with my self - in my own internal dialogues and whenever I find myself putting a lot of attention to a situation (past, present, or future). It's then that I think to myself "I'm feeling really (angry, sad, hopeful, disappointed, nervous) about blank. Why? What needs do I have that are/aren't being fulfilled by this situation?" 

I'm hoping that I can find a space to practice NVC in a safe community space. I think this might give me the reassurance and reaffirmation that I need before using NVC at the 'next level' with other. I reached out to two local practice groups that I found online, but neither have responded to my requests. I'm really feeling a need for connection and support within an NVC community, that I have yet to find. 

Welcome to the October edition of the Simply Living Blog Carnival -Enjoyment cohosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children, Laura atAuthentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. This month, we write about what brings joy to our lives. Please check out the links to posts by our other participants at the end of this post.


"Don’t do anything that isn’t play" was a big lesson in enjoyment that I took away from reading Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. I think this wisdom goes a long way towards shifting perspectives so that we can find the enjoyment even in our “chores” and “responsibilities.” Which is something I struggle with a lot. I have a very hard time enjoying doing the dishes, laundry, even driving because I think of all the things that also need my attention or task I would rather do. 

But Rosenberg offered a challenge to his readers. Think about I time when you used the phrase, “I have to/I should [clean the house, walk the dog, go grocery shopping, pay bill]”? Have you ever justified doing something with the phrase “I don’t want to, but I have to”? I know I have. I say it unconsciously all day. 

Now reconstruct that thought using the words “I want to ___ because I need ___.” So in my case, instead of complaining “I have to clean the room because my daughter made a mess.” I might say “I want to clean the room because I need a certain amount of order and cleanliness in my living space.”

This shift in focus does a few things. It helps point our attention into a positive mindset. Instead of focusing the reasons we have to do something on others (kids, pets, the government), we focus on why we need to do this, the choice we are making and the good things that we receive from doing things we don’t always find enjoyable. 

So for example, I decided that my needs for order and cleanliness were not as important as my needs for rest/relaxation, I feel more liberated to make the conscious choice to not clean right now. It might seem cliche or even simplistic to say we don’t really have to do anything.  But the truth is we do have a choice. We can always choose not do something; just sometimes we have to experience the undesirable outcomes of that choice. 

When I choose to focus on why I want to do something and what need it fulfills for me - instead of seeing it as a burden or something I’m forced to do - I find that even my most despised tasks becomes a little more enjoyable.


Thank you for visiting the Simply Living Blog Carnival cohosted by Mandy atLiving Peacefully with Children, Laura at Authentic Parenting, Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, and Joella at Fine and Fair. Read about how others are make their lives joyful. We hope you will join us next month!

  • No, She Doesn’t Sleep Through the Night - And It’s Not So Bad! - This post on Partners in Kind is about our family sleep habits, how we tried CIO, and how our family learned to let go of the ‘standard’ in order to enjoy a good nights rest for all of us.
  • Don’t Do Anything That Isn’t Play - Momma Bee at Raising a Revolution is inspired by Marshall Rosenberg’s (nonviolent communication) advice “don’t do anything that isn’t pay” to find the enjoyment in doing even the most mundane and disliked tasks.
  • Shared Hobbies - Jorje of Momma Jorje shares her progression of hobbies, since hobbies can wax and wane. She also explains why sharing a hobby makes it the best.
  • The Joy - Relaxation Relation - At Authentic Parenting, Laura discovered how much enjoyment is related to relaxation.
  • Simply Enjoying Life - Mandy tries to focus on enjoying life at Living Peacefully with Children by cutting out some things and changing her perspective on others.
What is the best way to respond to negative behavior from children who aren’t your own or that you don’t know?

The other day, I’m driving home only fifteen minutes after the Elementary school in my neighborhood lets out. Kids are darting out into the streets, parents are driving/trying to park/trying to leave, and it’s general craziness which I am pretty familiar with. But as I approach the stop sign at the corner, I notice a young boy about eight years old standing on the side walk. He looked like he was going to cross the street or maybe he was looking for someone. I slowed down, not sure what his next move could be.

At the point when I was about 20 feet away I noticed the stick in his hand right as he threw it in the air in front of my car. His toss was light and seemed unsure. He looked at me and seemed to be wondering what I might say. As I slowed down and rolled down my window, I wondered “what is the best thing to say?”

I want to confront him about what he was doing, but I didn’t want to be just another adult yelling at bad behavior. Would yelling actually encourage his behavior by giving even a little (negative) attention for his actions? And I don’t know that yelling would really have the affect I wanted, which was to encourage him to see his actions as a bad choice and to not do it in the future.

So as I rolled down the window I said evenly to him, “Why do you feel the need to do that?” I didn’t wait around for his response as a line of car continued behind me. I’m not convinced that I said the right thing or that it made a difference, but in the moment it was hard to know the best route to take…

I consider even stopping the car and trying to talk with him, but I didn’t want to over step it either. I wonder what those who practice compassioante communication would suggest in this situtation.