Giraffe’s Language: A Language of Love and Life

June 9, 2021 in Couples, Psychology

Do you know that a giraffe has the biggest heart among all land animals?

And that it has a detoxifying tongue that turns poisonous leaves into their food?

Marshall B. Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist, developed a set of language – the Giraffe’s Language, also called “Nonviolent Communication” (NVC) – to help us relate with our loved ones with a big heart, and take in our loved ones’ messages in a detoxifying way, away from unnecessary hurts.

Violence is happening every day, everywhere – in our marriage, in parent-child relationship, at school, at workplace, among friends and families, and within our “self”. We tend to be unaware of it, because most of the time we thought violence is in a physical form. But emotional violence is saturating our life – blames (from self and from others), judgements, criticisms, shame & guilt-inducing language, neglect, disrespect, disconnection, lack of acknowledgement… 

The Giraffe’s Language is a set of simple and step-by-step method to express our feelings and needs (not our judgements and demands) in a gentle and non-attacking way. It also facilitates us to be empathetic when we listen. And ultimately, it trains us to have self-compassion and self-love.

The four steps of NVC are:

  1. Observations
  2. Feelings
  3. Needs
  4. Requests

They seem to be very straight-forward, but they can actually be quite tricky to be practiced correctly, because we all tend to make subjective opinions and think they are objective facts, talk about thoughts and judgement but not our honest feelings, express our expectations on others instead of our deep-down needs, and make demands rather than requests.

In my own personal marriage and in my clinical experience, adopting the Giraffe’s Language makes a huge change. If you would like to find out more about NVC and let light shine into your relationships, please contact our service and see a family and marital counsellor.

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