A Refined New Year’s Resolution

2019 was a year with­out a New Year’s res­o­lu­tion for me. I can­not tell whether that made any dif­fer­ence , for good or bad. How­ev­er, I was inclined to give it a try for 2020 — which, at least, marks a new decade.

The best thing about my actu­al res­o­lu­tion is that although I had no rec­ol­lec­tion of the 2016 one, it’s a refine­ment of it. In 2016, i want­ed to cut out neg­a­tive­ity, in gen­er­al. This time, I promise myself not to com­mu­ni­cate in a vio­lent way any more, i.e. to sup­port part­ner­ship and resolve con­flicts among peo­ple, with­in rela­tion­ships and in soci­ety in inter­per­son­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

The con­cept of Non­vi­o­lent Com­mu­ni­ca­tion was devel­oped by Mar­shall B. Rosen­berg, begin­ning in the 1960s. When I first heard of it, I was scep­ti­cal: it sound­ed like try­ing to fight an armed aggres­sor with soft words, only. And, in essence, it is exact­ly that — though non­vi­o­lent com­mu­ni­ca­tion starts much ear­li­er. First, it is about ver­bal and non-verbal com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Before we say any­thing, we have demon­strat­ed some atti­tude towards our com­mu­ni­ca­tion part­ner. I start with this and will try to be open towards any­body who approach­es me. Then, if addressed, I try to react at least in a neu­tral, if not friend­ly way. As easy as it sounds, as dif­fi­cult it can become. Just try to react in a friend­ly way when a stranger sud­den­ly address­es you in pub­lic.

And this is just a casu­al com­mu­ni­ca­tion. The hard­est chal­lenge for me is com­mu­ni­cat­ing in a non­vi­o­lent way in my fam­i­ly cir­cle — with my wife being tar­get No 1. It’s not that we had dis­putes all the time, but it’s very strange that I am being most crit­i­cal with the per­son I know best. Maybe you have a sim­i­lar expe­ri­ence, maybe not. She will serve as a rule of being suc­cess­ful with the new non­vi­o­lent com­mu­ni­ca­tion habit, or not

It’s an exper­i­ment, a tough one, and I know I will fail. How­ev­er, fail­ing in this case means to realise that some­thing has been wrong and could or should be done bet­ter next time. You’ll read again about the results at the end of 2020 — habe a great start in the new decade!

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