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Nonviolent Communication Entails Owning Your Stories.

I have realized in my experiences with human beings (I'm writing from the perspective of a Nigerian living in Lagos) that the inability to own your stories leads to violence in your interpersonal interactions.

What do I mean by this?  Your stories refer to the events that have happened to you during the course of your lifetime.  In owning your stories, you choose to keep them to yourself as you discuss only your sincere observations, thoughts, feelings, and needs with others.

It is true that many self-help books out there write about the benefits of self-disclosure in your interpersonal interactions but the truth is real intimacy results from being able to share your sincere observations, thoughts, feelings, and needs with human beings as you get constructive feedback that lets you know your listener got your intended message and executes your message in such a way that your needs get met.

If you navigate the social world with the mistaken assumption that listening to people's stories (their events, their problems) and narrating yours with them will lead to intimacy and nonviolent communication, it well happens that you achieve the exact opposite.

This will have the unfortunate effect of making you surround yourself with human beings that have an apparent inability to be truly intimate with others as well as communicate their observations, thoughts, feelings, and needs in a nonviolent manner.

Friction will ensue and you will have increasing difficulty in maintaining associations due to the violent communication prevalent in your associations.

How do you go about this?

  • Refrain from being around people who have a need to relate their stories with the mistaken belief they do so just because they care for you and they view you in a favorable light.

        Their basic disinterest in you becomes apparent when you start to relate your deeply-held opinions, which gets met with boredom and comments that make you doubt the correctness, nay, the sanity of holding such observations, thoughts, feelings, and needs.

  •  Carefully arrange your social affairs in such a way that you are around only those who can bear listening to your sincere, kind, nonviolent observations, thoughts, feelings, and needs without feeling hurt. 

         This is made easier for you when you know how to deflect questions that seek to probe for your stories, observations, thoughts, feelings, and needs when it is apparent to you the questioner cannot bear the truth.  Deflection in such cases does not entail resorting to falsehood.

  • Learn to exercise your personal boundaries.  The inability to exercise your personal boundaries exposes you to those who expect or demand that you share your stories with them.  Sharing your stories with others instead of owning your stories lowers your psychic integrity, exposes you to violent communication, and those who wish to harm you as they operate under the belief you are incredibly naive.
  • Be mindful of your desire to act in ways that prompt others to discuss your stories among themselves, not your observations, thoughts, feelings, and needs.  This is especially needed on Social Media and in the public eye.  It is made easier for you when you remember that passing on information for the purpose of getting attention for yourself is called gossip while passing on information for the purpose of getting your needs met is nonviolent communication.
  • Remember it is more important to have peaceful, nonviolent communication and social interactions with others than to have friends.  

        Relatedness i.e. the ability to interact, live and work peacefully with other human beings is a basic psychological need.  Keep this in view whenever it seems like nonviolent communication makes you markedly different from those around you and you have very few people you can actually call friends.

Here's to peaceful, nonviolent communication in your social interactions!

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