Erika creates safety with her presence, insight and flexibility. She redirects and challenges as needed, and shines a light on what wants to be seen.
Erika facilitates personal development workshops for women so that they can be more of who they truly are — strong, grounded and confident. She also studies nonviolent communication and trains people of all genders in this conflict-resolution method, which is based on the belief that everything we do is an attempt to meet a need. Read below to learn the basics.
Approach the world with curiosity
"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, / there is a field. I'll meet you there." - Rumi
Nonviolent communication (NVC) offers concrete tools to find the field where the Sufi poet Rumi promised to meet us. Founded in 1984 by Marshall B. Rosenberg, an internationally renowned mediator, NVC doesn't see the world through the prism of right and wrong, good and evil, or should and shouldn't. Instead, it translates those judgements into universal needs, and in doing so, it shows us how to be curious.
This is not an attempt to adopt a "faux Zen" attitude where anything goes, to put others' needs before our own, or to pretend we can live a life without consequences. It's simply an attempt to better understand ourselves and each other. You can think of it as empathy in action.
It's hard to know how we feel if we don't make time to listen, or if we don't find the words to articulate what we're experiencing. This isn't California woo-woo. It's not even 'touchy feely'. It's simply part of being human, and it affects everything we do.
In NVC, we identify what we're feeling in order to better understand what needs are being met or unmet. Use this list from New York City's Center for Nonviolent Communication to help you identify your feelings.
Connect feelings to needs
Jean-Paul Sartre famously wrote that "Hell is other people," and there are plenty of days when that appears to be true. But what if you went beyond that to discover what has upset you and why? (Hint: Look at this list of universal needs to see which needs have been met or unmet.)
What can be magical about focusing on needs is that it gives you the opportunity for clarity and to come up with myriad solutions. When you're focused on other people, the solution often appears to be changing them, avoiding them entirely or pretending you don't have needs. This is hard to do if you want to live a full life.
It can bring choice back into a life of obligation, which can translate to a sense of greater fulfillment. It can also lead to clearer communication and a more harmonious environment. Because we all benefit when everyone is willing to take responsibility for their needs.
What can NVC do?
Who can use NVC?
Everyone. You don't need to pass a test or go to therapy or even like people all that much. It's just about being curious — if you want to. This is the field beyond wrongdoing and rightdoing, remember?
Nonviolent communication is most helpful when:
- You feel genuinely curious about someone else's experience.
- You would like to connect with someone (and the feeling is mutual).
- You're judging yourself or someone else and you would like to have a different experience.