Tips to sustainable relationships. Non-violent communication.

Notes from our session about non-violent communication. - Maria Vaslova (Jan 2020)

What are the sustainable relationships? What do we put in that words?

As for me, sustainable relationships are that kind of relationship that is durable, long-lasting, non-violent, based on the mutual trust and respect. It is not that easy to maintain this type of relationship as it requires input from each participant, although the outcome is always worth it. I haven’t seen this term before, but I think it’s an excellent phrase to describe the most healthy and beneficial type of relationships that is relevant for all spheres of people’s connections.

Why sustainable relationships should be non-violent? What is non-violent communication?

In my opinion, nowadays, violent communication is not only about direct conflict: rising voice on your opponent, interrupting and mistreating. It can be often hard-to-notice treatment of other person that at first sight is not seen as violent. Sexist jokes, hidden racism in judgment, etc. As for me, they are also part of the violent communication as they show no respect or trust to other person. Non-violent communication is opposite to this behavior. But it doesn’t mean it’s always calm, stable and never changing. It will be sometimes about arguing, occasional misunderstanding. But it would be still about empathy, compassion, self-responsibility. It’s an important part of the sustainable relationships.

During the learning session about sustainable relationships, were brought up many aspects, features and thoughts about it. It was interesting point of view, to see definition “sustainable” applied not only in case regarding environmental or social development, but also to human relationships as well. Many notions that before I associated only with environment, became applicable to other fields. And it was quite open-minding.

I think the main thing that I can recall from that discussion was that each person is not equal to another person. The term equality before for me was mostly about equal rights. And saying that person is equal to another seemed right because each person should have same rights as any other person. But after further explanation, I understood that when saying equal it’s not only about rights. It’s also about personality in nutshell, and here situation gets interesting since we are reminded every day that each person is different from another because of their personality. Hence, the main thing that I took form the session’s discussion was that I should not forget about people’s diversity and that equality is mainly applicable when talking about humans’ rights.

Next definition that was new to me was “recycling” of emotions. In my opinion, it’s crucial to discuss emotions in a classroom from time to time. And the definition of emotions recycling can be quite helpful as I saw many situations during my studies when students didn’t know what to do with their feelings. It’s not needed to discuss each student’s problem, but talking about how to handle the emotions or difficult situation in general was valuable at least for me.

To conclude, I understood that students are considerably vulnerable in their emotions as they are sometimes too opened or too overwhelmed with them. I was surprised to see how hard it can be to even talk about emotions. This discussion helped me to learn to be more patient to others’ possible negative feelings or reactions, to learn that actually each person can be quite sensitive and it’s important to always remember about it. I understood that equality is mostly applicable when we are talking about rights. And additionally I got reminded that many definitions are suitable not only to one field of study. Everything is interconnected. What can be relevant to one area, can be easily applied to another.