Observation in Nonviolent Communication


The first component of a nonviolent communication approach is observation.

Observation for us is a tangible description of acting or not acting in a shareable way, a tangible description means any input through the senses.

We can use phrases such as “when I see”, “when I hear”, “when I taste”.

We can use any input for the senses, and at the same time I can start with “when I remember.” When I remember the day we went for a walk, I could start my conversation in observation.

A word in a sharable way for us means that it is understandable to everyone, as a simple example, there is a difference between accusing someone, such as saying that I noticed that Jawdat is angry, or saying that Ibrahim threw the TV remote on the floor. There is a big difference between my description of the behavior taking place in front of me and my accusation that he is angry, for the word angry each of us can imagine the actions that were behind the anger, or that led to anger. Either I give a description of a specific behavior that helps others anywhere in the world to fully understand what happened.

A simple example: We can say that the room or hall is large or small, this is what we call an evaluation, but the observation says that the room is 4 meters wide and 4 meters long, or its area is 20 meters, 30 or 40.

Observation, as Jiddu Krishnamurti puts it, “Observation without evaluation is the highest form of human intelligence.”

Whenever I have judgments and expectations, they prevent me from seeing reality as close as possible, so each person sees reality from his personal point of view, and the beginning of our problems and tensions in life often comes from the way we see our own things, that is, from our personal point of view, which may not be realistic or real, So we say that we cannot see reality as it is, but this is our awareness of reality and our point of view and this can create a lot of grounds for tensions between each other.

Here, we wish to try to talk in an observational way, that is, in a way that is shareable between each other, so that we all understand each other.

And we give another example, a giraffe can ask a question: “Ibrahim, did you throw the garbage bags today?”, while the wolf’s language is “If you were a committed person, you would have thrown garbage bags.” And this is the wolf’s language that carries accusation and insult to the other.

Another example: the wolf saying: “You are too late for our appointment today” (there is too and late), while the giraffe says: “You came 11 minutes after our appointment today,” and this is what distinguishes the giraffe’s language from the wolf’s.