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How Non-Violent Communication Changed My Life

As the founder of Tamara Bey Coaching, I offer somatic trauma informed coaching a holistic and integrative approach that addresses the mind, body, and spirit of my clients.I am certified by the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy, the UK International Health Coaching Association, the International Coach Federation, and the Continued Professional Development.

 
Executive Contributor Tamara Beydoun (Tawil)

In a past life, I once believed there were only two emotions. Happy and sad. Whilst I was aware of the possibility of these emotions, there were no real feelings attached. I was numb. There was no elated happiness high or chore of carrying the heaviness of sadness. I’d never been taught about emotions or what it meant to truly feel.


Outdoor photo of Tamara in yellow dress

I only started to truly understand what it meant to feel and the true beauty of the emotional scale, upon discovering NVC. Non-violent communication. A system developed by Marshall Rosenberg, an American Psychologist.

 

A very, very simple system whereby we communicate with others and learn to take full responsibility for how we are feeling.

 

We were given a list of feelings, like a really extensive list. I was familiar with all of the words but I had no idea that such an expansive vocabulary existed purely to describe feelings.

 

As I delved deeper and started my own research, I realised I was fascinated by NVC. In my learnings I discovered, statistically, most adults, when asked about how many feelings they can name, they can name only 3. Socially, as a species, we have a very limited understanding of feelings and emotions.

 

Why was I drawn to NVC?

 

I was struggling to connect authentically with my children, and hoped for a time without constant disagreement. I have three kids, including a set of twins. I felt so disconnected from them and I knew there had to be a better way. The way things had become, felt very misaligned and I decided to take charge.

 

You can apply the four-step protocol of NVC to any situation, like mine with your children, but also with family, friends, business, work etc. The four steps are Observation, Feeling, Need and Request (OFNR). These steps help you to express yourself without judgement, learn to recognise your feelings and needs, and make clear, positive requests.


In a scenario where perhaps someone arrives late for a meeting, and you want to express how this has made you feel with ease, begin with the first step. We started with an agreement, we agreed to meet at a certain time and this is a positive thing. The person who you are talking with, has to agree with you. Once in agreement the next step is to express how this has made you feel. No one can tell you how you feel, because you own your feelings. You can simply express why you feel angry and what you need to not feel angry in future. There is no placement of blame, you are just owning your feelings. You do not say this person made you angry, because this would not be true. Behind every pleasant and unfeeling there are needs being and not being met.

 

So behind every unpleasant feeling, there's an unmet need. In NVC, we have a list of needs. In this example, I can express that my need for respect is important to me. So we have gone through three of the four steps: Observation, Feeling, Need and then the last step is I can make a request.

 

A request in this instance could be asking the person to communicate if they are going to be late. This is a very simple scenario and in other scenarios more compassion, and more back and forth could be required. For me, I find that I can always come back to the very simple four step process, this understanding alone is when things began to shift for me.

 

I am so grateful for NVC, for how it has allowed me to welcome any time I am triggered. I can look at my feelings, my reaction and delve deeper. It has allowed me to open up emotionally and somatically, which led me to my somatic certification. Not only did it strengthen and rebuild connections with my family and those around me, but it also enabled me to reconnect to my own body.

 

It wasn’t an instant fix. In the early days, it felt awfully robotic. It took time to adapt, for this new way of being with my feelings to feel natural. Now? I cannot imagine communicating about my feelings in any other way. It truly has been life changing. And the most beautiful thing is that now I hear my children talking to other friends expressing their feelings and needs in this healthier way.

 

Everything at home began to shift, and all of a sudden we had such a large space filled with acceptance, respect, and patience for the other’s feelings. A house filled with compassion.

 

I can fully hold my hands up and say that I went from the type of parent who barks orders, trying to control my kids, to that of a parent who gave my children space to express their own feelings and needs.

 

There were many situations where my children and I would learn this new vocabulary, to start to really understand how to articulate exactly what our needs were and how we really felt. NVC is so powerful, once you know how to use these tools you can’t go back to how you once were. I use it even now, extensively, in my coaching.


Particularly with younger people, in their 20s and early 30s, we do a lot of role playing. Whereby they're having to move through the struggle of learning to set boundaries with friends. We literally go through a role play where they have a list of feelings they can express, until it feels comfortable and safe. It’s a fantastic way of empowering the younger generation.

 

Ultimately, as humans, we all crave real connections. However, when we go through life with unmet needs, certain unpleasant feelings are triggered and if we are not able to communicate this in a healthy way, we invite disconnection into our life and resentment. We disconnect, we shut down, we close in and the connection is lost. Whereas if we can open up, even if it’s uncomfortable, it still allows for much deeper connections. We want to be seen. We want to be heard. We want to be understood.

 

We want our needs to be met.

 

And believe me, most of our needs are the same.

 

So ask yourself, are you seeking connection and where are you pushing it away? If you’re longing for beautiful connections in your life and need support to do so, then feel free to get in touch to learn more about my one to one and group coaching services.


Read more from Tamara Beydoun (Tawil)

 

Tamara Beydoun (Tawil), Trauma Informed Functional Medicine Health Coach

As the founder of Tamara Bey Coaching, I offer somatic trauma informed coaching a holistic and integrative approach that addresses the mind, body, and spirit of my clients.I am certified by the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy, the UK International Health Coaching Association, the International Coach Federation, and the Continued Professional Development. I am also trained in "Trauma Informed Positive Psychology Coaching Method™ and Non-Violent Communication. As a result of my own journey of war, displacement, and childhood sexual abuse and an adult relationship of emotional & psychological abuse, I fully appreciate the impact of how our traumas & epigenetics can have on all aspects of our current health.

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